Mess o’ mas

Rating: NNNNNNext to being overdressed, the last thing you want to be at Caribana is unprepared. NThis is a festival where.

Rating: NNNNN

Next to being overdressed, the last thing you want to be at Caribana is unprepared. NThis is a festival where style and grace dominate, and pity the uninitiated Caribana reveller who mixes up calypso, soca and chutney or looks like a fool shouting out requests for last year’s song.

There are hundreds of Caribana-related Web sites. Most of them deal with music, and of these, the majority are simply retail outlets for the latest singles and mixed tapes. Beyond the obvious commerce, though, there are still plenty of pointers out there to help you jump an’ wave like a pro.

The official site. Not a lot of frills here, or information on the dozens of unofficial throwdowns that are set for this weekend, but for folks looking for official information on the parade and other sanctioned events, this should be your first visit.

The well-organized site of one of Toronto’s top mas crews, where you can get a preview of the parade and hear some favourite road songs in advance.

The occasionally operational official site of master calypsonian David Rudder. When it’s up, it’s great, but Rudder deserves much better.

The Web site of fabulously named Washington, DC, radio show The Calypso Tent Of The Air, offering live broadcasts as well as charts, audio links and a page revealing the true names of some of your favourite calypsonians.

A lengthy essay on the roots of calypso. Context is everything.

A Toronto site with plenty of local Caribana flava as well as music charts so you can know what’s worth bumping and grinding to in advance.

A crucial soca and dancehall hub that offers soca lyrics — you might as well know what you’re singing — as well as fresh new mixed tapes and hundreds of free song downloads so you, too, can throw a carnival right on your desktop.

Caribana without the food is like roots without culture. Most online Caribbean recipe sites charge for the goods. This one doesn’t. Now you, too, can whip up oxtail stew, callaloo, stuff pork and easter bun like a pro.

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