The name of this mas is derived from the French patois term “Diable Diable” (French: “Diable”, English: “Devil”). It is considered a pretty mas, due to the intricate beading and use of expensive dyed cloths (satin and silk), and decorative trim. The costume often employs Kandal or satin pants, 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 other mas, including princely pierrots, this becomes a target. Stockings and alpargatas (rope-soled sandals) have also been noted. A padded headpiece with horns is worn. The costume is generally colorfully dyed in a striped pattern. The Jab Jab is a physically combative Mas that employs a whip 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 fols and costumes to threads.
Videos & Interviews
Origins and History
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.
Behavior, Context, and Audience Interaction
Sound, Speech, Voice, and Text
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!”
Jab-Jabs will crack leather and/or hemp whips, as well as fight other Jab-Jabs.
Variations and Related Mas Topics
Calinda/stick fighting, Battonier, Princely Pierrot, Jab Molassie
Behavior and Audience Interaction
Bands and Individual Artists
References to this in Art and Popular Culture
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).