Jab Jab


Combat

In Brief: The name of this mas is derived from the French patois term “Diable Diable” (fr.  “Diable”, Eng. “Devil”). It is considered a pretty mas, due to the intricate beeding and use of expensive dyed cloths (satin and silk), and decorative trim. The costume often employs Kandal or satin knickers, and satin shirt with pointed fringe at the waist, from which bells hang. On the chest, a Jab Jab will traditionally wear a heart-shaped cloth ornamented with bits of glass, mirrors, sequins, rhinestones, and swansdown.  As with the battonier, princely pierrots, and stick fighters this becomes a target.   Stockings and alpargatas (rope-soled sandals) are worn, and a padded headpiece with horns is worn.  The costume is generally colorfully dyed in a vertically striped pattern, somewhat reminiscent of the the Commedia Arlecchino or Harlequin.  The Jab Jab is a combative Mas and his weapon of choice is a whip of plaited hemp or other material which is loudly brandished and cracked to threaten and announce the Jab Jab’s approach.  When encountering another Jab Jab, a fight will often ensue with whips reducing the combatant’s fols and costumes to threads.

Photo Gallery:

Video Gallery:

Mas Origins and History: n/a

Costuming:

The costume often employs Kandal or satin knickers, and satin shirt with pointed fringe at the waist, from which bells hang. On the chest, a Jab Jab will traditionally wear a heart-shaped cloth ornamented with bits of glass, mirrors, sequins, rhinestones, and swansdown.  Stockings and alpargatas (rope-soled sandals) are worn, and a padded headpiece with horns is worn.  The costume is generally colorfully dyed in a vertically striped pattern, somewhat reminiscent of the the Commedia Arlecchino or Harlequin.  A whip is also carried and employed.

Sounds and Speech:  

Various sounds to frighten spectators into giving money are used.  Additionally, short snippets of threatening speeches, such as this text, cited in the Caribbean Quarterly Volume 4, numbers three and four:

“Me Jab-Jab, I now come from Hell , I know you well, pay the Devil, Jab-Jab!”

“Plata Gumbo see gumbo, Coming down the Road!”

Movement:

Jab-Jabs will crack leather and/or hemp whips, as well as fight other Jab-Jabs.

Other Behavior: n/a

Variations and Developments of Note:

This mas was once regarded as being played primarily by masqueraders of East Indian ethnicity, and was referred to in a 1956 publication as “Coolie Devils” (Caribbean Quarterly, Volume 4).

References in Arts and Popular Culture:

Tallpree has created a song called Jab Jab Nation, but actually only shows Jab Molassie in the music video.  The video can be seen on the Jab Molassie Page.

Related Characters:

Due to the Jab Jab’s history of combat, as well as the use of a “fol”, or heart shaped target/costume piece on the chest, we can link the jab to stick fighters.  In fact, the Jab Jab likely has more in combat oriented mas of the Princely Pierrot and Battonier/stick fighters than it does with his cousin, the Jab Molassie.

Bands and Individual Performers: n/a

Other Information: n/a

Interviews and Scholarship: n/a

Bibliography: n/a