Mon | Nov 19, 2018

Xaymaca International - smallest band with the biggest heart

Published:Sunday | April 8, 2018 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small
Xaymaca International directors, Kandi King and Andrew Bellamy, during last year's road march.

There are some who call Xaymaca International the 'smallest band with the biggest heart', but one director contests this notion. The lone female serving on a board of directors (total of seven) declared that size is not a concern for Xaymaca.

"We don't care to be the biggest band. We only want to have the best experience. When you leave Xaymaca, you must be like 'Wow, that was amazing'. Everything that we focus our energies, our monies into, is to make sure that you have a seamless carnival experience. From distribution, which is where you collect your costume - all the way to the beach (Xaymaca Beach Cool Down Lyme) - to be an experience for you - that's the focus of Xaymaca," Kandi King told The Sunday Gleaner.

"Between this year and last year, our band has doubled in size - so I know the industry is growing and we're very excited to be a part of a movement that is growing," she said.

Xaymaca International was the brainchild of Andrew Bellamy. After conceptualising the band, he invited six other directors, King, along with Akil Strachan, Steven Lofters, Mark Lalor, Ian Bourne and Richard 'DJ Richie R.A.S' Spence, to take the idea and make it reality.

"In 2016, he invited us to a meeting, and the rest is history," King said.

In January 2017, Xaymaca International was launched to much excitement.

"It's a very exciting time for Carnival in Jamaica right now. It is a growing industry and it was prime time for someone else to join Bacchanal Jamaica on the road," she continued. According to King, the directors have received excellent feedback from their masqueraders. "We're really looking forward to seeing how the band grows and where we're going."

But there were others who had the same idea.

That same year, Jamaica Carnival made its way back to the road along with Bacchanal Jamaica, accompanied by the brand new Xaymaca International and Xodus Carnival.

Regardless, Xaymaca International have already achieved success beyond their expectations.

"We obliterated all our targets for 2018. Initially, as with every business - we set a plan, you have a goal. And we set out and accomplished that, and even more.

"In January, Xaymaca International costumes were completely sold out. Everything was gone. I did not have one more costume to sell. So at the end of January, we decided we'd do additional sections to facilitate the additional people who would be coming to the band," King reported.