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Monday, 28 December 2009

Calypso Dreams soundtrack greets Carnival season

On the eve of Carnival 2010, the producers of the widely-acclaimed film Calypso Dreams, have announced the release of a soundtrack CD featuring more than two dozen kaiso classics recorded in the field during the production of their award-winning film.
Alvin Daniell, who co-produced Calypso Dreams in T&T along with Lord Superior (Andrew Marcano) and who has published the CD on his Major & Minor label, says that the Soundtrack ’captures the heart of vintage kaiso. It is professionally reproduced on Compact Disk to provide a cultural treasure that dares you not to sing along while you listen to vintage calypso at its best.’
Superior, whose classic calypso guitar solos and back-up vocals are featured on the CD (along with his hit ’Trinidad Carnival’) said the CD is both ’timely and timeless.’ He called it one of the ’richest collections of vintage kaiso’ ever assembled.
The Calypso Dreams Soundtrack-produced by Michael Horne and executive produced by filmmaker Geoffrey Dunn and international reggae star Eddy Grant-celebrates the music of several Calypso giants who have passed away in recent years, including Mighty Duke, Mighty Terror, Lord Blakie and Mystic Prowler. The always popular Lord Relator also pays homage to the late Grandmaster Aldwyn Roberts in ’A Tribute to Kitchener’.
Additional contributions from Calypso Rose, Brother Valentino, Mighty Bomber, Lord Brigo, Crazy, Gypsy, Regeneration Now, Mighty Striker, Power, Poser, Explainer, Brother Mudada, Conqueror, and Brother Akil round out the all-star selection.
Producer Horne says that his ’approach with this compilation was to capture that sense of the ’poor man’s newspaper’ referred to again and again in the film. Without regard for the hits or whether the songs were danceable or marketable, these are simply stories about daily life, politics, love and sex, sung man-to-man, friend-to-friend. That is Calypso.’
Dunn, who’s been a cultural presence in T&T for most of the past decade, says that the CD reflects the essence of ’raw kaiso.’
’Some of my favorite selections on this CD are those that were recorded in the Good Times Pub on Henry Street,’ Dunn noted. ’Blakie and Relator and Conqueror were magnificent there. You can hear patrons singing in the background, playing ashtrays, clinking their glasses. The Calypso Dreams Soundtrack brings back kaiso to its roots, which is out in the community, among the people.’
Dunn said another favorite session was recorded on the veranda of the now-demolished Pelican Inn. ’It was a very casual set at which several calypsonians came and went-Superior, Poser, Mudada, Rose, Crazy, Akil, Explainer-and one of my favorite songs, Poser’s ’Ah Go Party Tonight,’ features a great guitar riff by Supie and a wonderful backup vocal by Rose. It’s a jewel.’
The feature-length version of Calypso Dreams, which was released in DVD format throughout the Caribbean earlier this year, has been called ’the most important cinematic expression out of Trinidad and Tobago’ and ’one of the greatest films of the English-speaking Caribbean.’
Dunn, who is currently completing a book on national US politics, acknowledged there is some truth to the rumor that he is exploring another film project in T&T during the coming year. ’We’ll see if the pieces all come together,’ Dunn said. ’If there’s one thing I learned from the production of Calypso Dreams, it’s that you can’t force these matters ahead of schedule. They happen in due time.’
Dunn said that he would keep Trinidad and Tobago Film Company director Carla Foderingham (who also receives a credit on the CD) abreast of ’all future developments’.
According to Daniell, both the Calypso Dreams CD and DVD are available in the following locations in Trinidad: Crosby’s Music Centre; Cleve’s One Stop Music Shop; Kam’s Record Shop; Ryhner’s (2000) Caribbean Ltd. at the Airport; Token Records; and DiscoTrak in Curepe.
Hollis Johnson Special to the Sunday Express

Friday, 25 December 2009

Monday, 21 December 2009

Ballerz launches J’Ouvert band

LEFT: Martina Metizier sports a costume from 2 Dye 4.
CENTRE: Band members of 2 Dye 4 (It's All About Peace & Love) model at their recent band launch held at the Naparima Bowl Grounds in San Fernando.
RIGHT: Mickela Ahee from the band 2 Dye 4 (It's All About Peace & Love) strikes a pose during the band launch at the Naparima Bowl Grounds in San Fernando. Photos: Rishi Ragoonath

Ballerz & Associates recently had their J’Ouvert Band Launch, 2 Dye 4 (It’s All About Peace & Love), at The Naparima Bowl Grounds in San Fernando. Patrons partied to the sounds of soca singer Patch, General Grant, Blackie, Ziggy Rankin and new soca artiste Buffy. DJs Joy Productions and Intellect Live kept the party going until the wee hours of Sunday morning.
One of the bandleaders, Sherona Grace, said there was a mixture of both the young and the mature that night and it went extremely well. There were several give-aways, including a costume which was won by Beverly Williams of Plaisance Park. The costume consisted of a tie-dyed shirt in vivid pink, green, yellow, orange, blue and purple, along with matching socks and bandana and white pants in the patron’s choice of length.
Grace added, “If you see the costume you will go crazy and want to play in the band. My mother Susan Goolie, created the costumes based the concept on the hippy times, when it was all about peace and love.” Anyone interested in purchasing a costume can visit their mas camp at 25 Pond Street, Vistabella. The cost of a costume is $400 all-inclusive.

Published: 21 Dec 2009

Saturday, 19 December 2009

NCBA honours mas veterans

SEVERAL veteran masqueraders, mas builders and designers, as well as steelbands who consistently produce Carnival bands, were recently honoured by the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA). The Carnival interest group handed out the awards during their Christmas luncheon last Saturday at the Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s.
NCBA President Owen Hinds, in his remarks at the start of the function, announced that in 2010 the group will be introducing fund-raising programmes to assist medium, small and mini Carnival bands. Hinds said interest groups could not rely solely on government subventions and had to “look outside” for funds for mas bands that need financial support. He appealed for support from the mas fraternity.

Recipients of NCBA awards included veteran masqueraders Roland St George, Noel Taylor, Florencia Reuben and Augustine Telesford, mas designer Follette Eustace, Carnival announcer Mervyn Telfer and steelbands bpTT Renegades, Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars and Starlift. Singers Laureston Special and Garvin Rogers and the band Just Friends provided entertainment at the event.

                                                                                                                                              Veteran announcer Mervyn Telfer, left, accepts his award from NCBA vice president David Lopez....


Friday, 11 December 2009


Projection on Buildings from NuFormer Digital Media on Vimeo.
Impressive and stylish projections on buildings, a renewing way of communicating.For those who want to carry out a message in a striking and visually attractive way with guaranteed exposure: 3D Projection on buildings is the communication tool of 2009, and what an impact!

NuFormer Digital Media develops high-skill 3D video mapping projections. These 3D projections will be custom-made to fit any specific building and will be exposed by a battery of powerful projectors.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Mardi Gras Indians

In Trinidad and Tobago ‘Wild Indian Mas' and Red Indian and Fancy Indian Mas are traditional characters, of T&T’s Carnival, these characters have their own language dance and rituals that are also part of their performance. In recent times, the fancy Indian has been has been somewhat revived not only on the streets of Trinidad but all over the word where Trini style Carnivals take part, alas these pretty mas are watered down commercialised versions of the real thing, the bonnets still make a visual impact but to the majority the dance, language and other rituals are lost to history.
However I came across this video of Indian Mas or American Indian Mas in New Orleans, very similar to ours in tradition yet different but as always beautiful.

mardi gras indians from American Festivals Project on Vimeo.
video documentation from The American Festivals Project.

to see more visit

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


I think this guy is the BOMB at what he does, take a look at his work.
Wordsmith: Somebody who uses words skilfully, e.g. a professional writer or journalist.#

Ebon Heath is one of the most promising artists of the moment and his take on typography is pure visual poetry. Words never looked more astonishing, they form their own structures in a short of a rebellion, they dance and move and yet they stand still. In Heath’s universe, words go out of their suffocating homes, they become alive and they tell us their amazing stories. Having Brooklyn as the quarters of his inspiration, Heath is contaminating his students with his enthusiasm and passion. With his work he is trying to visualize the invisible, to put a form to the surrounding sounds of the every day life and to inject fantasy into reality. Inspired traveller and rhythm lover, Heath is revealing us all the details hidden behind his outstanding work in an exclusive interview for Yatzer. His sculptures gives the impression of being crystalized words turned into frozen flowers. We connect this with your quote about perceiving words as a living, corporal being. ” I want our type to jump, scream, whisper and dance, versus lay flat, dead and dormant, to be used and discarded with no concern for its intricate beauty of form, function, and meaning. We use type daily yet rarely appreciate the form of a letter. By liberating type from the confines of the page we not only free the words to express the content in a new dimension of scale, volume, and movement, but also force the reader to become a viewer. This process reveals the form of our letters while creating a new relationship to our language in our ability to feel versus only read the content” say Heath.”I love the visual of crystalized words as frozen flowers. This is clear on a visual level, yet also the form of the flower has evolved to fulfill a specific function. All the subservient smaller bio chemical reactions that make up its structure on a molecular level, all co-operating to create a living organism. The form of my type structures are also made to fulfill a specific goal to express the content of words, while made up of smaller ingredients of letters that collectively form our language. The prints do have a frozen quality, since the original works are mobiles that move and can be seen from multiple perspectives in a space. It also is ironic that when these structures are documented they are flattened into 2-dimensional planes, the very antithesis of my initial goal.

The structures are a physical representation of our language as object. This “visual noise” permeates all aspects of modern culture, especially urban living. From the signs, billboards, stores, and t-shirts that yell with type for attention as you walk down any high street. All the audio and verbal noise, from music we plug our ears with to the din of countless conversations, screams and whispers. With new media of texting, online, and transmitted technology there is even invisible noise silent to the eye surrounding us all. It is this cozy womb of information, data, or chorus of cacophony that my mobiles hope to represent as well as reveal. Making the invisible visible. The lyrical qualities of hip hop highlight this connection of the liberated language. When a MC rides a beat the words become a fusion of song, noise, rhythm, melody and meaning all at once. This synthesis between words and sounds was the first investigation i had undertook to help me understand this conceptual process. This wrestling with language is also reflected in the visual poetry of more formal graffiti that transforms each letter into interlocking shapes that are unique in its form and identity of the author. As in all good poetry, the skilled MC uses rhythm more then rhyme to express the message, my mobiles attempts to create a visual sense of rhythm and flow that is alive, not contained, or able to be seen/ read/ understood from one angle

The stereo.type project, expressing the interaction between the traditional language of typography and the physical language of the body, consists of three parts. The first part was a process of research and development. Creating countless drawings, computer renderings, and three dimensional models to find the desired structural frame work for this new physical typographic language. The visual inspiration for these structures has varied from fishing nets to animal vertebrae, puppets to kites, feathers to scales, domes to parachutes, classical lace to high end couture fashion, traveling from Brooklyn to Andalusia, Berlin to Marrakech, to Carnival in London and Trinidad. The final product of this phase is a process journal that documents all the steps leading to the establishment of the final four grid structures. The current second phase is exercising the established grids, to learn how many different kinds of content can be expressed in these structures. This phase is also about creating mobiles and site specific installation for exhibit to share with the public, and learn from their reactions. This also extends to more couture mobiles that are created for a specific person based off their relationship to the content of the mobile. A seasonal collection of mobiles, prints, lights, and jewelry are being developed for release in the summer of 09. Each season will focus on a different theme and execution method. The third stage is incorporating the body into a performance piece of type dancing a duet with its author. The goal is to create a ballet of people dancing with their liberated language, as if the body was shedding its accumulated stories physically, as well as amplifying the content of our inner soul for the world to see in its dynamic dance. This event will combine aspects of carnival, circus, choreography, kinetic body sculpture, music, and the Greek chorus.

I have developed four 3-d grid systems that, like traditional type design, provide an underlying foundation for type to be anchored to. These grids are malleable and do not limit the form as much as create a support skeleton. These 4 grids are based off the basic shapes of the cone, stripe, line, and circle. To establish these systems there has been countless drawings and models created to establish structural integrity and functionality. The quantity of letters, typeface, and scale all determine the final form. Unlike traditional type design there is the third dimension, an additional perspective outside of the page which allows the movement of the structures and your eyes positions to them. The tools and components I use come from a wide range of crafts, including: fishing tackle, jelwery elements, kite pieces, laser cut acrylic and tyvek. My working process has a specific set of steps that collectively create these expressive typographic mobiles as if solving an equation, rather then from some cosmic inspiration.

I teach at a City University in the Bronx (New York, USA), which gives me access to students that are fully engaged in life and do not take their education for granted. This role allows me to inspire young people to see type and design as a career choice and/ or a way to express themselves visually. By highlighting the analytical nature of design and importance of paying attention to details, I am also able to give the students a new way of seeing their surroundings. With design software and computers being mainstream, new media literacy is expected of all students. Yet knowing how to operate a computer does not make you a designer. I feel all professionals have a responsibility to share their knowledge, while also staying open to learn more. The students keep me informed on the latest ideas of youth culture that my growing age makes harder to recognize. I am also writing course curriculum which enables me to map out my method of teaching and how it stays relevant to students lives or current trends.

Calder has been one of the most influential artists in my life, at a very young age i saw his circus and was mesmerized. That same day i began drawing and have not stopped. Only recently did i notice the parallel of my typographic ballet and the performance element of his circus. I am also inspired by his ability to play with simple forms and materials to create a new visual vocabulary that blurs the lines between art, design, function and expression (from his mobiles, and stables to his jewelry and wire portraits). He was also one of the first American artists to be an international globe trotter, hanging out in Europe and the states crossing the Atlantic regularly by boat. (Warhol for making the common into art, Basquiat for burning so fast and so bright, and Stuart Davis for American abstraction in the modern flat world of color.) I was introduced to the rich culture of Carnival from the Caribbean island of Trinidad, by another admired living artist and mentor, Peter Minshal. Minshal is the founder of Callaloo Company, which has been producing the avant-garde carnival bands of kinetic body sculpture for the last 30 years. He shared his knowledge of the intricate craft of constructing physical sculpture that amplifies the human gesture into a grand scale with an individual or collective of people. Next thing you know i am watching 20 foot skeletons he has made grinding with the Rockets on stage at Radio City Music Hall (in NYC).
Purge is quite similar conceptually yet utilizing images rather than purely type. It is an answer to the question: How can we reveal the abundance of visual information we mentally accumulate? The aim is to purge all the influence we receive from media stimulation and liberate our mind to a less polluted place. It’s about reclaiming our mental environment, killing the television, cellphone suicide, unplugging our addiction for constant entertainment. I felt engorged by all the information my eyes have eaten and needed to purge, a visual vomit. This process began with classifying logos, languages, images of mass culture from my travels, all as recipe ingredients for collage. Then I draw the found media, like a painter would draw a still life, or a musician might sample a beat. All these “sample drawings” become the raw materials for a lengthy process of digital deconstruction and analog reconstruction, resulting in paintings, mobiles, and drawings. These visual mash ups allows the viewer to navigate ones own narrative in the channel surfing barrage of exploding familiar faces, logos, and contrasting color and form. I am currently completing a series of large scale paintings that are cutting and masking paint into sharp graphic compositions. Although Purge and stereotype are made of and result in very different outcomes, there is many similarities in conceptual goals and values. Technology gives me the ability to be more efficient and more precise in my craft, yet not necessarily more freedom to create. Cutting by hand is very time intensive compared to the speed and accuracy of lasers. Laser also gives me the ability to cut multiples at once out of materials I am unable to be cut by hand. It also creates an easier manageability of scale. However, cutting is only one step, the hand assembly is still quiet labour intensive and is not made simpler or more dynamic by technology. In fact much of this work makes a statement that supports the traditional craft of analog construction versus containing all living things into pixels, trying to duplicate reality instead of truly living in it. Since much of my professional graphic design work is dictated by technology, it is refreshing to use my fingers to actually build instead of a virtual illustration.


Monday, 30 November 2009

Here are two videos on African art and Masking

An informal talk given at the Ananse's Web African Festival, 1st-4th October 2009, by African art historian Tamsin Barzane, owner and creative director of Second Life's virtual Nigeria on Saminaka.

History survives through dance. For the Indigenous of La Costa Chica— the Amuzgo, the Mixteco, the Zapoteco— society is something to be remembered, revered, and ridiculed. No one is beyond scrutiny, not the dead and certainly not the living. In la Danza de los Vaqueros (the Dance of the Cowboys) the Minga wears a white female mask. As usual, the Minga plays a central comedic role. He is a masked man dressed as a European woman, hiking his skirt up he chases children giggling into the borders of the performance space. When not scaring the young ones away he concentrates on more traditional prey: he chases the African man, the overseer-cowboy behind the black mask. This, laugh the indigenous, reflects the manner in which the European plantation wives persisted in sexually assaulting the Africans who oversaw indigenous field labor. Lined up in work gangs, the indigenous are represented by matching black suits and pink masks. They step in sync with one another within the spaces left open to them by the black cowboy who deftly skirts the plantation owner’s lascivious wife.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Rekindling the Black Sprit :

STUDENTS of Creative Arts department, University of Lagos began their third yearly African-Caribbean Festival last week with a carnival float involving students dressed in the costumes of countries with black people such as Ghana, Jamaica, Peru, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The float started from the school’s main auditorium through the university’s main road, Distant Learning Institute (DSI) and to the Faculty of Social Science, where the train terminated its exciting parade. The festival however, continued with a series of stage plays performed by each group.
As the carnival train moved round the campus, visitors, students, lecturers and staff of the institution were seen peeping through the windows of offices and cars to have a glance at the colourful parade; some even stopped and parked their cars to take pictures of the carnival team.
The costume of each of the team was done to reflect the peculiarity of each country. They were dressed in the colours of the countries, but the Nigerian communities who were dressed in the traditional outfits of the major ethnic groups.
As the team moved round, the students sang and danced to music dished out by the Deejay and to the admiration of passers-by. At some point, each of the bands displayed dance steps peculiar to the country it represents.
The coordinator of the festival and a lecturer in the department, Mr. Onyekaba Cornelius Aka, in a chat revealed that the University of Lagos’ Afric-Caribbean Festival involves a series of celebration, which is often preceded by a carnival. 
He said that the carnival is the first step, before other aspects of the festival that include cultural dances, drama and cooking competition.
“Forget all what Aristotle said about how the Greek invented drama and those stuffs, the truth is that Africa by its nature has always celebrated life. It is only the Africans that have songs and dances for almost everything that they do, from the time they were born to the time they die,” said Cornelius-Aka, who himself had been a notable practising culture journalist before going into the academics.
He added, “there are other things we use to celebrate life. If you ask yourself what was the sustaining spirit for these slaves that were captured and transported to West Indies?; how did they survive the harshness of sea life? You will discover that if not for the African spirit, which is embodied in songs and dances, they won‘t have survived.”
He observed that carnival is an African spirit because Africans love to celebrate, and they celebrate everything. Africans are the only people that celebrate both life and death.
After the carnival team terminated its march round the campus at the new Faculty of Social Sciences, The GuardianLife sampled opinion of one of the students on the carnival:
Omowunmi Dada: “Nothing good comes easy; this whole festival is an outcome of hard work, dedication, discipline and quest for knowledge. Basically, it has been so awesome. It has really tasked us as students because as Nigerians, we have to look into other African countries and other countries where blacks inhibit. The concept is to celebrate black as a colour, to make us understand that all over the world, wherever you find blacks, they are Africans. Fine, slave trade took some of our people to the Caribbean, yet, they remain blacks. They are still Africans and blacks are beautiful, we are one family, though we find so many of us in the Diaspora.”


Thursday, 26 November 2009

Somerset Carnivals self Analysis.

How do Somerset carnivals compare on a world scale?

Somerset is the home of Europe's largest illuminated carnival but how do other countries celebrate carnivals?
An event at Bridgwater Arts Centre hopes to find out by discovering how other countries build great processional machines.
'Endless Parade' will also look at technologies and themes which are used.
The evening takes place on 3 December and will look to examine how the 'English Traditional' or 'illuminated carnival' differs from those elsewhere.
"Although lumped together with other carnival manifestations like those derived from Brazil or Trinidad, it has its own special history and form," said a spokesperson for Bridgwater Arts Centre.
"Carnival is an aspect of processional performance, one of the essential modes of outdoor celebration. We need to develop practical tools for outdoor performance in the future and find the technologies that can replace fossil fuel dependencies, pyrotechnics and paraffin.
"The carnival clubs and makers have strong links with steam fairs and enthusiasts, a world of practical and creative making and 'know-how' with a strong sense of history."

Monday, 23 November 2009

Carnival in Colombia

Many of us in Trinidad and Tobago and the English speaking Caribbean not to mention the wider world have a notion that the Caribbean is made up of  that chain of islands that start with Cuba, and end with Trinidad and Tobago.

However some of you might know that the Caribbean is much much larger, and we of the English speaking Caribbean are but a minority in the region, simply because the Caribbean sea is ends at eastern shores of central America and the northern shores of south America, and the populations of these combined countries dwarf those of the English speaking Islands. However the Caribbean Sea is not the only thing we have in common with our mainland neighbours, we also share a common history of European conquest, repopulation, African Slavery, and Carnival.

With that in mind over the next couple of weeks I hope to explore the Carnivals of the Wider Caribbean, and I will share with you whatever video’s and histories I come up with and what other cultural Carnival similarities we share with the Americas, and what about T&T’s Carnival that makes us so unique.

The following videos are taken from two parts of Colombia, Barranquilla, and Cartagena, looking at their Carnival we can without a doubt see the similarities in what seems to be their traditional and contemporary carnival celebrations, also in the Cartagena video, a performance with obvious deep African connections.

Enjoy this peek into a Columbian Carnival.

Barranquilla's Carnaval (Spanish: Carnaval de Barranquilla) is a carnival with traditions that date back to the 19th century. It takes place for four days preceding Ash Wednesday. During the carnival the city of Barranquilla's normal activities are paralyzed because the city gets busy with street dances, musical and masquerade parades. Barranquilla's Carnival is reputed for being second in size to Rio's, but is far less commercialized. The Barranquilla Carnival includes dances like the Spanish paloteo, African congo and indigenous mico y micas. Many styles of Colombian music are also performed, most prominently cumbia, and instruments include drums and wind ensembles.

The Carnival of Barranquilla was proclaimed by UNESCO, in November of 2003, as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, during Olga Lucia Rodriquez carnival queen year.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Best Village queen Sister crowns sister

Outgoing queen Ru-Ann Cabralis had the pleasure of crowning her sister, Rae-Ann Cabralis, of the Malick Folk Performing Company, as the 2009 Miss La Reine Rive Queen on Friday following the competition’s final at the Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s.
Twenty young women from throughout Trinidad and Tobago faced the judges-Thora Best, Sharon Imbert, Dale Enoch, Adrian Raymond, Kamla Rampersad-De Silva and Eric Butler-each in the hope of taking the coveted title back to their respective communities.
Cabralis was a frontrunner throughout the competition, which had several phases including talent, expression, costume and evening gown modules, some of which took place prior to Friday’s grand final, in which the competitors showcased their evening gowns as well as their abilities to promote their communities through detailed yet concise oratorical pieces.
Along with her title, Cabralis won several awards, including Best Self Expression Piece, Most Original Costume and Best Costume Design. She lost out on the Most Original Evening Gown and Best Evening Gown awards to Allison John, of the Cocoyea Community Council, who was also the first runner-up and won the Best Make-up award.
It was a night of multiple joys of the members of the Malick Folk Performing Company as the cultural outfit was also, on Friday, named the Overall Champion of the 2009 Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition, of which the Miss La Reine Rive pageant is a part. Malick also copped several of the competition’s minor titles.

RADIANT: Newly-crowned Miss La Reine Rive Queen 2009, Rae-Ann Cabralis, displays her evening gown entitled "Dougla-D Journey of Two Culture" during the finals of the Best Village competition at Queen's Hall, St Ann's, on Friday night. -Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

Wayne Bowman

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Carnival Event Comes to Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – (Business Wire) Las Vegas Carnival, Inc – a USA / Trinidad based operation – announced today that it will host an annual carnival event in Las Vegas in late spring of 2010. The inaugural Las Vegas Carnival will be entitled “a Celebration of Life” and the official dates of the event will be released in the coming weeks.
Unlike the typical amusement park association with the word ‘carnival,’ the Las Vegas Carnival event is based on the global phenomenon of carnival, a pageant of costumed masqueraders, and is traditionally centered on the Calypso and Soca genres of music or Samba as is the case in Rio, Brazil. Carnival is an amalgamation of colors, transformed into costumes, dance supported by music and an array of different ethnic foods and art.
Carnival in Las Vegas shall expand on the traditional carnivals and include a more eclectic mix of Calypso, Soca, Samba, Hip Hop, Pop, Latin and Reggae. This experience is being designed to appeal to a worldwide audience and will start with a spectacular concert and music festival the day prior to the carnival celebration with an impressive lineup of well-known performers.
The purchase of costumes and travel packages will soon be available to the public via the Las Vegas Carnival website, but for more information about the carnival, including select travel and hotel partners, visit: Those wishing to experience the spectacle and grandeur of carnival can participate by purchasing costumes from a variety of themed carnival bands and also partake in a multitude of carnival parties (fêtes), concerts and shows.
Unlike Rio’s carnival experience, advanced Samba rehearsals will not be necessary and the carnival celebration shall be fashioned similar to that of the Trinidad experience which is more party-centric as masqueraders and their bands compete for the prestigious “Band of the Year” title and awards. The King and Queen costumes of each carnival band shall be worn by major Hollywood stars and the winnings donated to a charity of their choice. Las Vegas Carnival shall be broadcast and available to be viewed globally to a live audience with an online simulcast component.
More information about the Las Vegas Carnival in 2010 will be revealed in the coming weeks as Las Vegas prepares for its inaugural carnival event. Members of the media may contact:
Las Vegas Carnival, Inc

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Another Mas Jumbies Section: L'Echo des Marchandes

They were once a familiar sight in Port-of-Spain in the late 19th and early 20th century. These vendors who exclusively were women would be seen and heard peddling their various array of goods from door to door.  They dressed in the fashion of a la Martiniquaise and carried trays above their heads with the different array of goods, usually sweets and sweet meats.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Lady Gaga - Bad Romance

Now I'm no great Lady Gaga fan, as far as I'm concerned the girl fell out from nowhere, her music is cool I like it...I wont buy it but it's catchy, but her costumes rock EVERY TIME!
And that more than anything else right now is what I like about Lady Gaga her style, her costumes are Out There, the minds behind the Image Gaga has have maximised the use of imagination and have put a nice piece of work together.

Here is the video Bad Romance.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Echo du Village Section

Echo du Village is priced at TT$350.00 all inclusive. Registration begins in 2 weeks for Loyalty Masqueraders only. MAS Jumbies Road DJ will again be

Echo du Village draws its inspiration from the Juve Masque that once populated the rural and surbubs of POS. Masqueraders will have the option of white paint. The all inclusive package includes security, alcoholic & non-alcoholic bar, breakfast (ham & hops; salt fish & bake) and Irish Coffee as a starter.
Loyalty Masqueraders will continue to receive their Discount and may also register friends using the same discount (one time usage).
L'Echo is comprised of 6 sections.

Friday, 30 October 2009


The creative origins of Trinidad Carnival can be found in Africa.
 It is through the cultural retention of Africans brought to Trinidad during slavery that the characters and practices that we now call traditional mas, developed in Trinidad and the West Indies.
Take a look at these videos the first is the Dogon tribe of Mali doing their funeral dance, take a look at the costumes, amongst them are the precursors to ‘Cow Mas’ ‘Moko Jumbies’ and the creation mask that Minshall put on the 1982 King of Carnival ‘Calalloo Dancing Tic Tac Toe Down the river’.
The other video is of a recycling plant in Bamako Mali, there they are turning scrap metal into pots and pans for future use, there is one shot of a guy beating a huge metal bowl into shape, there is something in that shot ,something in the clatter of  beaten metal that clearly portrays  the limitless creativity of these people, and yes a link between them and those who harnessed that creative ability to create by beating a steel oil drum into the last musical instrument of the twentieth century  and a symbol of cultural resistance the Steel Pan.

Dancing Dogon 2 from Stef on Vimeo.
The Dogon people in Mali are famous for their masked funerary dances. Their elaborate masks are intended to placate ancestral spirits. They represent the whole world of the Dogon with a wide variety of totem objects including people, mammals, birds and reptiles. Dancers often wear the Kananga (creation) mask – this dance involves leaping high into the air in a state of frenzied excitement, then bending low down to touch the ground with the top of the mask.

Living Bamako 2 from Stef on Vimeo.
One of the strangest places in Bamako is the “recycling plant”.
It’s more a garbage belt where hundreds of people turn all kinds of used metal into pots, pans and cutlery.
It is recycling in its most primitive form.

Ever wonder what Trinidad and Tobago Carnival will be like without the contribution of the freed African slaves, without their cultural resistance that survived over 300 years of slavery and the oppression of the ruling class that followed...well look closer at Carnival today and ask yourselves where are the descendants of theses creative titans today, what positions of power or influence do they hold in the 21st Century?
Why are they missing?
And if you can answer those questions then you might understand why mas today is a copy of a copy of a repetitive theme, it’s not creatively growing because the roots are missing.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The Hosay massacre of 1844

Anniversary of the Muharram Massacre in Trinidad and Tobago

By Dr. Kumar Mahabir

Friday will mark the 125th anniversary of what historians describe as perhaps the bloodiest massacre in Trinidad and Tobago under British rule. On October 30th 1884, 22 Indians were killed and 120 others injured in a hail of police gunfire at two Hosay processions in San Fernando. Included in the casualties were defenceless women and children.

Many historians who have studied the event reveal that Hindus as well as Africans were part of the Indian and Muslim-based street processions. Historians also believe that never before had such a large, armed military force assembled in colonial Trinidad, or in any other West Indian colony, at any cultural event.

Hosay is the commemoration of the death of the two soldier-grandsons of Prophet Mohammed who were killed in war in Iraq in 680 AD. The centerpiece of Hosay is the procession of taziyas made of cardboard and tinsel. They are symbols of the tomb erected over the remains of Husain, one of the two grandsons, in the plains of Karbala. Hosay is celebrated annually in Cedros and St. James in Trinidad. It has been banned by law in Guyana. In Jamaica, it is the second largest national cultural event. Hosay is not a festival, and it is not to be viewed or described as Indian Carnival.

In 1884, the government banned Hosay processions from entering the towns of Port of Spain and San Fernando. This was tantamount to killing the best part of the parade. An Indian by the name of Sookoo, and 31 others, drew up a petition to the governor which was rejected. Sookoo felt that the law was unjust and discriminatory, and consequently decided to defy the regulation with an act of civil disobedience.

In the 1884 Hosay, each estate had its own taziya, accompained by tassa drummers and stick fighters. There were processions from Wellington, Picton, Lennon, Rowbotton, Retrench, Estate, and Union Hall Estate. Other processions came from Ne Plus Ultra, Corinth, Palmyra and St Madeline estate. It was a dramatic parade, attracting huge crowds of spectators annually in San Fernando.

Police detachments were strategically deployed with cartridges loaded with buckshots to scatter-shoot into the crowd. A contingent of 74 policemen was headed by Captain Baker at Mon Repos Junction. Twenty soldiers arrived by special train from Port of Spain. Twenty-one British marines were sent to Princes Town to reinforce the police. The British warship, H.M.S. Dido, rushed down from Barbados to anchor in waiting outside the San Fernando harbour.

Armed forces were placed at the three main entrances leading to San Fernando. They were posted at the Les Efforts junction, which was a toll gate that lay at the junction of Cipero Street and Rushworth Street. At this point, 34 armed men, 20 soldiers and 14 policemen were stationed. The other entrance was at the point where Royal Road met Mon Repos Estate. The next (northern) entrance was where Point-a-Pierre Road formed a junction with Mount Moriah Road. Through this entrance, crowds surged from estates like Vista Bella, Marabella, Concord, Bon Accord, and Plein Palais.

Few Indians believed that the police would shoot them down in cold blood. After all, they were simply participating in a customary religious procession. One survivor said that he did not believe that the police would “shoot people like fowls.”

The massacre took place on a Thursday. On horseback, Magistrate Arthur Child read The Riot Act amid the thunder of tassa drumming, chanting, singing, and stick-fighting. Few Indians could have really heard what was being read. Even if they had heard, few could have understood English at that time. Child ordered the police to shoot at the procession at Les Efforts. Two volleys were fired into the crowd, followed by some sporadic shooting. Those in the front of the procession were mowed down by a hail of bullets. Taziyas fell to the ground. The dead and wounded lay in pools of blood in the street. There was shock and panic. There were shrieks of terror and cries of pain. Some ran into the canefields. Others scampered for shelter from the bullets.

At the Mon Repos junction, the stipendiary magistrate read the Riot Act. Shots were again fired. Again, tazyias fell to the ground, and men, women and children lay dead. The processions on the Point-a-Pierre Road were speared gunfire because they were persuaded to turn back. The nation was shocked into disbelief.

The number of Hosay participants who were killed on October 30th 1884 varies in different accounts. Historian Kelvin Singh concludes that 150 were wounded in the massacre. Those who were fatally wounded ran into the sugarcane fields where they were found afterwards. Others died weeks and months later at home and in the hospital. A reasonable estimate to make is that 22 Indians were killed and 120 injured.

Sadly, the events surrounding this significant day in the history of Trinidad are known only by a few. October 30th 1884 has been overlooked in many of the texts that chronicle the nation’s experiences during colonization. The courage of these jahajis [indentured immigrants] martyrs who fought and gave their lives for the freedom to worship must not be forgotten. The fact that Hosay survives to this day is testimony that the spirit of these martyrs continues to live.


- Story by Dr Kumar Mahabir. Assistant Professor
School for Studies in Learning, Cognition and Education
University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)

Sunday, 25 October 2009


Blaxploitation is got to love it.

Sequins, Soca and Sweat at Wimbledon Odeon

Wimbledon Film Club has teamed up with the Njoya Foundation to present Sequins, Soca and Sweat followed by a question and answer session with its director next Thursday.
Stephen Rudder's film, which will be shown at Wimbledon Odeon as part of Black History Month, is his debut documentary and will also be accompanied by heritage short films and pre-film storytelling entertainment by Jeanette Angela Barrett.
Sequins, Soca and Sweat follows six Mas camps in the weeks leading up to Notting Hill Carnival and captures the unique atmosphere of camp life.
The diverseness of the camps ranges from the forefathers of carnival tradition such as Lawrence Noel, who brought the first costumes to the streets of Notting Hill in 1973 and represents the original essence of Carnival, to Poision UK, a camp increasing in popularity who have brought the wave of younger, progressive partying carnival spirits to the forefront.
Rudder’s interest in making a documentary on Carnival was sparked in 2003 when he saw a young boy at the festival with a horn in one hand and the other around the shoulder of his grandmother as they danced together in costume, intriguing him as to how it brought   generations together.
What he found when he looked behind the mask of the masquerade, was a small group of artists, designers, innovators and pioneers who managed to nourish their communities and inspire the younger generations, whilst also forming the backbone of the largest street festival in Europe.
Sequins, Soca and Sweat is their story.
Rudder, who has won Soho Images audience award for best film and best film by BBC Talent will be joined in the Q&A session with the films producers.
Barrett's story-telling session before will draw from her African and Caribbean Heritage and its rich oral/musical tradition and will be punctuated with bits of singing.
The Njoya Foundation was set up in memory of Christian Njoya Diawara Small, a victim of the London terrorist bombings on July 7, 2005, as a charity to advance the life and education of black boys and teenagers of African and African-Caribbean descent.
Sequins, Soca and Sweat: The Hidden Heart of Notting Hill Carnival, Wimbledon Odeon, The Piazza, The Broadway, , October 29, 8pm, £7 (children £3). Call 08712 244007 or visit



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