As we approach one of the most significant days of the year, remember the joy of Christmas can be found in the music of the season.
That said, remember to tune in to my annual Christmas Day Show on CKUT 90.3fm. on December 25 for the 12th annual “Island Riddims” Christmas Show, which features six hours of pure Soca/Parang and other Caribbean vibes from 8am to 2pm. I do it as my contribution to our Christmas tradition in Montreal.
In the previous issue I talked about how our Caribbean Christmas traditions are slowly disappearing. Traditions that provide an important connection with the past: our roots, heritage, core values are often all part of that connection and bring value and meaning to our lives.
Let’s take this moment to look back on the first “Parang Jam” hosted by Digital Movement and West Can Folk Performers held on Saturday, December 15 at the V Lounge in LaSalle.
It’s been a long time since anyone brought Parang music to the club scene in Montreal and I would like to commend the promoters for just that.
The real party did not start until midnight, since people were still coming in. From midnight, everyone was dancing, eating and having a great time.
It was a food-inclusive event and I was very impressed by the variety of traditional Caribbean Christmas dishes and beverages available, everything from pastelles, fish cakes, pholourie, roast bake and saltfish, meatballs, chicken wings, mango chow, chow chow, Sponge cake, black cake, Currants roll, Meat pies, aloo pies, Sorrel Martini, coquito shots, sorrel, ginger beer, ham, jerk pork and hot corn soup.
Added to that, the West Can ladies were gracious hosts throughout the evening.
It’s remarkable that the food and drinks didn’t run out despite patrons refilling their plates and cups for most of the night.
For me it was the combination of Soca, Parang, vibes and Sorrel that made this event meaningful.
Sorrel was my favourite back-home beverage, not only because it’s the blueprint of any Traditional Christmas “limes” or parties. It contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, calcium, niacin, riboflavin, and more.
Sorrel is a bushy shrub that has been grown for hundreds of years, and has spikes or chalices of reddish-greenish flowers that become purplish when they bloom in the summer.
It is a slender plant which grows to roughly 60 to 70 cm in height, with oblong leaves, a juicy stem, and roots that grow deep into the ground.
If you have never tried it, here’s the recipe:
1 lb. sorrel
2 quarts of water
3 oz. ginger
2 lbs. sugar
Boil water in a large pot, adding sorrel, and then small pieces of ginger. After the water comes to its boiling point and the ginger starts to turn the water red, stir occasionally, then turn off the stove. Cover the pot with the mixture and allow to sit overnight to ensure that the mixture brews properly.
Use a strainer and pour the liquid into a pitcher or bottle. Add a few pieces of pimento and sweeten to taste. Chill and serve!
Parang Jam photos are courtesy PsynDragon, follow him on all social media.
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