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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Flying Under the Radar..................

For all the years I have been playing mas I have been somewhat at a disadvantage in that apart from my own band what I see on the road is quite limited and I am just beginning to realize there are many, many smaller bands that do take part in Carnival;how could I not know of their existence for so long?

My husband and I were having a discussion, and his point of view was that with all the focus on the high prices of mas and the band wars among the "top dogs" Island People and TRIBE smaller, lesser known bands providing "cheap" mas just fly under the radar! He, having been a spectator a few times over the years while I was parading through the streets of Port of Spain, has informed me that you do see many bands on the streets for Carnival, even the ones with just a few sections, and some of them have been doing it as a labour of love for years.

Now, I have to admit, my journey into "town" mas has been fairly recent, meaning before playing with Poison and TRIBE, I was isolated in where the band went playing with HARTS. We normally crossed the Savannah stage early, then disappeared from public viewing, taking a route through St. Clair and Woodbrook.

So, I decided to do some research on these "small" bands, and realized that many of them do not have a website. They rely on the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) to market, advertise and publicize their bands; but how many of us even know that the NCBA even had a website OR that there was a section for the bands to display their costumes?

I have taken the liberty of perusing the NCBA's website looking for any updates for 2007 Carnival, but have found nothing yet, even from the few bands like Saphyre and Stampede which have already launched. I did find 2006 information on bands still being advertised, and I just wanted to spotlight these bands, even though I have no idea if some of them will still be in existence for Carnival 2007. Again, these costumes/presentations are from THIS year's Carnival, click on the GREEN links which will take you to their NCBA page with more information and photos:

Berlin and Friends

Contact Information

Berlin & Friends

102 8th Street, Barataria.

Phone: 773-7919

Band Leader: Charles Mendoza

Owen C Hinds

Contact Information

No. 37 Rushworth Street, San Fernando

Mas Camp: 657-8072

Contact Nos.: 684-8382, 683-4047

Rampage Mas Band

For further information contact:

Office: 627-9408

Avis Gibbs Allsop, PRO: 625-5884

Ainsley Mitchelle, Designer: 627-9408

Aunty Suzie and Friends

The Jucyn Crew

East Side Plaza and Associates

Neal and Massy All Stars

Classix Productions

St.James Mas Band

Bois Canot

Chick a D's

Contact Info:

Frances Oblington- (868) 726-5425 (c), (868) 640-3230 (h)

Marie Stephen- (868) 633-7787 (h) Seamstress

Traditions Mas Camp

Senor Gomez

Yakima Warriors

Child Support Collective

Prices from these bands range from $100.00 to $1100.00, once again proving that there are affordable, alternative bands for those who want to participate in Carnival but do not wish to support the high prices or even the exclusive all-inclusive bands. I feel quite proud that our Carnival is still inclusive of everyone, even the small man with a small pocket!

I suggest, for those wanting more information, to at least contact the NCBA for updates on any or all of the bands featured on their website.

Stampede Band Launch

Prior to the birth of this blog I considered myself to be a true "Carnival Baby", knowing not only the names of all the sections in the Band I was playing with, but come Carnival Tuesday I could identify almost any costume I saw on the road. My excitement and obssession with Carnival was not only limited to visiting my Band's website periodically, but also everyone else's to see what they had to offer.

Now that I am blogging I realise I was quite unaware about many of the smaller Bands, competing in the medium and small band category, who put out an effort for Carnival, especially those without a website. So I was quite surprised to read this article on about the band Stampede which will be presenting "Come Waltz With Me" for 2007 Carnival:

Stampede 2007 Carnival Band Launch Article
Posted: November 14, 2006

Stampede Carnival Band launched their 2007 Carnival presentation on Saturday 11th November, 2006, at the Kavemar Pub on Henry Street, Port of Spain. The theme of their 2007 presentation, "Come Waltz With Me", centers the costume designs around the waltz dance.

The term 'waltz' is derived from the German word 'wälzen' which means to roll, turn, or to glide. This type of dance, which embodies quick and light movements, first became fashionable in Vienna around the 1780s. In fact, some believe that the dance was born in the suburbs of Vienna and in the alpine region of Austria.

This dance, which was considered to be highly vulgar and immoral by religious leaders during the 18th and 19th centuries, has grown in popularity over the years and has become commonplace in many formal ceremonies such as weddings. The different sections of Stampede's Carnival Band incorporate many elements of this European heritage and many features associated with the waltz dance.

Mr. Wrenwrick 'Rennie' Brown gave us a little history of the band:

Stampede Mas Band was founded in 2006 by Wrenwrick 'Rennie' Brown who after 20 years in the Carnival arena decided to pursue his dream of producing his own band. That dream is now a reality.

Stampede's first presentation "Wings of Spring" proved to be very challenging, but through the very sincere efforts of a number of determined persons including his wife Cynthia, Stampede was truly a force to reckon with.

Stampede competed in the Medium Band Category and achieved tremendous success in all six competitions they paraded at. These included: George Bailey Band of the Year - 6th; Saldenah Award - 2nd; Downtown Competition - 4th; Piccidilly Greens - Band of the Year and Lucky Jordan Uptown Competition - Band of the Year.

Stampede's 2007 presentation entitled "Come Waltz With Me" was designed by Wrenwrick 'Rennie' Brown and Devon Jerome. The theme depicts the beautiful waltz melodies in ten sections, Roses from the South (a bouquet of roses); Tales of the Vienna Woods (a stroll through the woods); The Blue Danbue (sitting on the river's bank); Emperor's Waltz (a night at the ball); Hungarian Waltz; Champagne Waltz; Vienna Blood Waltz; Voices of Spring; Perpetual Mobile and Ragtime Waltz.

The Band Launch, which started close to midnight on Saturday, was observed by family members, friends and supporters of the band. Although the gathering was small, all assembled at the Kavemar Pub watched with enthusiasm as the girls modeled the costumes to the sweet sounds of Kaiso music.

After the girls strutted on the dance floor to model their costumes, they took part in a mini 'photo shoot' to further show off their Carnival wear.

The team responsible for the artistic costuming was also present dressed in yellow jerseys with their logo - Stampede Raisin' Dust - proudly fixated on them. Band Leader Wrenwrick Brown and his wife Cynthia Brown, who have magnanimously contributed to the band were also present and they, along with some of the committee members, also took part in the photo shoot. They all worked throughout the night to ensure that the Launch ran smoothly and some worked directly with the models to ensure that things were done properly.

Carnival, being less than three months away, would be the test that all bands would face to determine their success. Hopefully, especially after witnessing the interesting band sections, the Stampede Band would be successful in 2007.

Roses from the South - $1000.00
Tales of the Vienna Woods - $1000.00 (Male - $900.00)
Hungarian Waltz - $940.00
Champagne Waltz - $1,100.00
Voices of Spring - $950.00
Vienna Blood Waltz - $980.00 (Male - $800.00)
Emperor's Waltz - $1.100.00 (Male - $900.00)
Perpetual Mobile - $900.00 (Male - $800.00)
Ragtime Waltz - $900.00 (Male - $800.00)
Blue Danbue - This section is an outside section.

The Stampede Mas Camp is located at 99 Abercromby Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad.

For more information call:

Wrenwrick Brown - 868-780-5167 or 868-643-2256

Cynthia Brown - 868-719-0591 or 868-643-2256

Stampede 2007 Band Launch in pictures:

All photos courtesy
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