Bahamas 2016 New Year Junkanoo Parade

Saxon Superstars Junkanoo

Photography of The Bahamas’ annual Junkanoo Parade.

All images copyright 2016 Erik Kruthoff

Saxons Junkanoo

Here’s a gallery of photography from the 2016 New Years Junkanoo parade in Nassau, The Bahamas. This famous group, The Saxons Superstars, are an A group category team (meaning they have over 200 people) and a top-tier competitor.

More Junkanoo Photography by Erik Kruthoff

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Saxons New Years Junkanoo. Erik Kruthoff Photography
Junkanoo dancer
Eleuthera Junkanoo 2016
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The Saxons Superstars Junkanoo group are:

“A group of young men are working furiously in the hot shed. Hanging in the air like a blanket is the almost unbearable heat and the smell of contact cement.

Despite the heat and closeness, the mood is light. There are jokes and loud laughter as nimble fingers manipulate shears, cardboard, glue, wire and styrofoam spread all around them. Everywhere cardboard and styrofoam are taking on lifelike shapes, then covered with multicolored paper and sparkle. Who are these people? What are they doing? They are, if you please, the brains behind the costumes of the Shell Saxon Superstars Junkanoo group.
Most of them have never had any formal art training, but are still considered among the best artists in the country. They are working on a six-month project that takes them away from their families, jobs and most social activities. They are preparing for Junkanoo.

Junkanoo is a Bahamian festival of dancing, costumes and the music of goat skin drums, cowbells, and horns. It is but a fragment of an almost forgotten African ancestry. Junkanoo is the closet most Bahamian will get to the culture of their African heritage.

The men and women of the Saxons are keeping this Junkanoo culture alive with the same unbending determination as many other Junkanoo groups in the country. But the Saxons, with membership numbering in the tens of thousands, are special for some very special reasons.

For thousands of Bahamians, the Saxons represent a culture unto themselves. Recruiting many of their numbers from Mason’s Addition and the surrounding grass root areas, the group exemplifies an identity of pride and belonging.
A typical example is veteran drummer Anthony Green Senior. Green is a long-time resident of Mason’s Addition. For him there is no social activity more important than his involvement with the Saxons. For as long as he can remember, he has been a part of the group, traveling with them living among them.

Over the years, Green has impressed upon his family the pride of belonging to the Saxons.

Today at 40 something and a grandfather, Green still retains the Saxons fire; only now the fire has spread over his entire household.

For Green his wife and four children, they are a part of the Saxons and the Saxons are a part of them. Simply put, said Green “I’ve always been a Saxon and I will die a Saxon.”

This is what being a Saxon is all about, achieving great prestige as a member of a team which would likely be out of reach for the individual. Being a Saxon is as real as any other “over-the-hill” experience can get.
Over-the-hill or not the leadership and ranks of the Saxons are bulging with professionals and intellectuals. There is Dr. Philip Thompson, Chief Surgeon at the Princess Margaret Hospital. There is Antoine Dean a gifted entrepeneur, and there is Dr. Emmanuel Francis a dentist, who made a smooth transition from the dentist office to Junkanoo builder & dancer, and there are numerous other examples: Teachers engineers, bankers, brokers and many more.

Professional or not, educated or not each member of the Saxons has a specific role to fill. Working side by side, the same loyalty is expected of everyone and each person is expected to carry his load.” – (Saxons facebook page)