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Monday, October 09, 2006

Time for the Kiddies!

Oh the memories I have of Kiddies Carnival, I was five when I played mas for the first time and my mother made me play a Clown when I wanted to be Wonder Woman. I was so sad that I burst into tears when I saw the other girls in that costume. The diva was in me for that tender age because I was always fascinated by plumes and beads, my ultimate dream as a child was to play an individual, and I was one of those precocious kids who would ask the ladies nicely for their headpiece at the Savannah on Carnival Tuesday. That was another one of our traditions, every Carnival Tuesday I would go to the Savannah with my mother's friends, picnic basket in tow, waiting to see my mother cross the stage.

The first of the Kiddies bands, Spoilt Rotten Kids launched on Saturday as reported by the Newsday:

Top junior mas band plays Vegas

ANGELA PIDDUCK Sunday, October 8 2006

SEVEN YEARS ago, four young mothers, got together as Spoilt Rotten Kids to try their hands at producing a junior Carnival Band in the Mini Band category.

They loved Carnival, had been involved in playing mas from childhood, and had produced sections in adult bands. Since the band in which their children played was going out of business, they took up the challenge.

Fluctuating between the small and mini category, the Kids have been in winners’ row from inception. Why the fluctuation? Says leader Christine Nunes: “We do not put any pressure on our parents. It’s Carnival and they go to their fetes on weekends so if they can’t bring the children to a competition, that’s no problem and we just move to the category suited to our numbers at that particular competition.”

From the first year the Kids have maintained a core group of parents and children who fit in with their concept of a children’s band — costumes are designed so that the children are free to enjoy their mas, minus too many rules and restrictions. Their parents must also enjoy themselves.

“If some part of a costume breaks or is lost, we do not make a fuss,” said the bandleader, “and either will have a replacement or go without it. The idea is to have a good time with help from our annual sponsors: Kentucky, Solo, Staffhire Caribbean, CW Interiors and Guardian Life of the Caribbean.”

The band which will in 2007 portray “Viva Las Vegas” was launched last Saturday afternoon with an event that also celebrated their 2006 success with “Jewels Of The Reef”. That band copped several titles, including Mini Band of the Year (Downtown); Small Bands (NCC Downtown Competition); first place Small Bands at the St James competition, special award at the Red Cross Children’s Carnival; and third place at both Flying Fish and St Anthony’s.

The band is never without Individuals and a king and queen, and last Carnival’s individuals also did well at all major competitions. The queen, Megan Nunes, portraying Fan-Ta-Sea was a finalist in the NCC Junior Queen of Carnival competition.

At last Saturday’s launch, designs for the six sections were on show and the excited young masqueraders could be seen choosing from Alladin, Stardust, Tropicana, Cirque de Soleil, Flamingo and Sahara.

The website for Spoilt Rotten Kids is already up and running complete with costume drawings.

Another popular Kiddies band is Rosalind Gabriel, however she has yet to launch her 2007 presentation. But check out the website, the theme for 2006 was "Mas !Mas! Ah Know Yuh Name - Name Is " and it is all about our Ole Time Characters, very much like a kiddie version of TRIBE's "Ole Time Something Come Back Again". What I love about Roslaind Gabriel is that she provides everything for the kids, down to matching shoes. And I see this year she even provided an adult costume of Fancy Sailors for parents who want to accompany their kids on the road. Very nice idea.

Finally, Gerad Kelly also has a website for his Kiddies band. It is not updated for 2007 as yet, but like Rosaling Gabriel you can take a look at his costumes for 2006 mas and bookmark the site for the future.

Trevor Wallace

Trevor Wallace's website is up and you can now access more photos of the costumes as well as prices. The cheapest costume is Serpent Sting at $1975.00 and the most expensive is the all female Purple Passion at $2475.00. All the male costumes are priced at $1995.00.

One thing that is missing from the website is more details on what the all-inclusive package entails.

J'ouvert

J'ouvert has been part of my Carnival tradition since I was a child, I remember getting up in the wee hours of the morning and going down to Harris Promenade ( original South chick here) and taking in the ole time mas with my mother and cousins. When we moved to the East as a teenager, my mother, cousins and I all played j'ouvert with Victor Rique. Now, Victor Rique was a big name in those times with an even bigger j'ouvert band and following. The first time I played in black oil was in Victor Rique's band, I cannot tell you how liberating it was to be covered from head to toe in this black, googey mixture but getting it off was a bitch!

As I got older j'ouvert changed for me, too many stormers flooded the band and it was no longer fun so I stopped playing j'ourvert for many years. When I started back playing j'ouvert I played all-inclusive with Desert Rats,I loved the mud and the fact that the band roamed the streets of St. James. After Victor Rique I had had enough of Port of Spain. Then came the year the tourist was killed in that band and I stopped playing yet again. The last time I played j'ouvert was a couple years ago, I believe in 2004, and that was with Red Ants. Red Ants was a nice mix;after Country Club on Carnival Sunday we joined the band, jumped up covered in paint through St. Clair and the all-inclusive was cool too. Plus, the price was quite affordable, much less than an all-inclusive party for a t-shirt, cup, drinks, accessories, breakfast and all the paint you could handle!

The main reason I have not played j'ouvert the last few years is that even though I have a really great time I am wiped out for Monday mas! Probably a sign of old age, but my Mondays are now reserved solely for jumping up in my "pretty mas".

Apart from Red Ants, there are several other popular j'ouvert bands offering an all-inclusive package the most popular being Mudders International which has been a staple with a co-worker of mine for years! Other popular j'ouvert bands are Playtime, Silver Mudders, Cocoa Devils, Yellow Devils and Section 8.

For 2007 Mas Jumbies will be making their debut in the j'ouvert arena. Keep tuned to their website for more information.
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