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Friday, October 31, 2008

Need a Tan ?

Look what I found one of my trips to Harts mas camp:

click on photo to enlarge


Indoor Tanning Salon now available in Trinidad!

All of you masqueraders coming in from the cold and need that golden glow for Carnival but do not want to bake in the sun can now bake indoors or even choose the spray tan option.

Trini Revellers Website is up.. sorta

Almost one month and one week after their band launch Trini Revller's website is up, somewhat. There are still several section photographs and prices missing but you can view the sections Angostura Bitters, Black Gold, Folklore, Chutney, Nylon Pool, Panorama, Soca Warriors, Splendor of Buccoo Reef and Together We Aspire.

Now, personally I have had to warm up to Trini Reveller's costumes over the years (with the exception of a few sections, like Rugeri, D Krewe, Kyle Matas) as the theme is sometimes portrayed too literally and the costumes can be a bit ostentatious and gaudy. However, on the road the band usually makes a great presentation, my favourite years being French Revolution and Rome. Last Year's Viva Mexico also had some eye catching costumes with great headpieces. Even with masqueraders wearing Chandeliers on their heads the band still managed to look great on the road.

For 2009 I have to say that the costumes have fallen victim to slapping a name on some bikini and beads, a fate that has befallen most large bands for Carnival 2009.... gone are the days when one could look at a costume and hazard a guess at what it might represent. The trend has been around for some time, but Trini Revellers has never buckled until 2009. I would take the chandelier headpiece over some of the costumes I am seeing on their website any day!

Splendor of Buccoo Reef


The majority of the costumes that I have seen thus far are very generic and could fit into any band producing bikini and beads; not what I expected from Trini Revellers. Not to mention that some of the designs look low budget, sorry to say it, but the construction and designs are a bit shoddy. There is one section in particular Angostura Bitters, that looks like an art and craft school project, not even a decent headpiece! What happened Trini Revellers?

Angostura Bitters


Soca Warriors


PHOTO SOURCE:
www.trinirevellersmas.com

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Bets Are Off..


So the Carnival Bacchanal could never die!

Now news reaching the Sauce is that a POPuLAR party committee has allegedly decided not to take the gamble for 2009 and left out the newbie band under which their section is "SOLD OUT" (even though only 52 people are registered) and have gone back to the nest!!

And added to that, talk is that the once lauded head designer is rumoured to be looking to throw in his chips and fly the coop!

Well, all I can say is IF this is true the "old band" is VERY generous because the band wars between those bands was down right dutty, nasty and stink.

But, I am apt to believe that there is some truth in this rumour seeing as the POPuLAR party committee and affiliates of said "old band" just threw a party together and when I saw that pairing it left me with my EYES WIDE OPEN!!


The Seven Deadly Sins



Mas Jumbies has launched all 7 of their J'ouvert presentation "Diabolus Imperium", The Seven Deadly Sins and registration is available online.

I have been informed that Mas Jumbies will be having a 40ft music trailer for 2009 along with some new sponsors, one of which is Correias Hard Wine; please note that wine is TROUBLE!

For more information on Mas Jumbies or to register visit their website here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Question and Answer With the Band Leader

Why is it that merchants in Trinidad complain about the importation of costumes, but yet they are not accessible. For example – this year I needed costumes to be made for my section in New York, I had a hard time finding vendors in Trinidad. It is only if you know someone or is family to a person that makes costumes that their information was shared. Yet, the merchants that imports costumes, most of them have websites and other forms of communication. I would like to give business to people in Trinidad but I cant get any contact information. Is their a website or some sort of means to obtain that information? If not, why?

A very good question, Local merchants complain because they are being bypassed so they do not make money.If you need costumes to be made the only suggestion I can give is to contact any of the established carnival bands here, and request the info you need. The easiest way would be via their website. As for the local costume production houses, it is their failure to advertise that is the issue. And also a lot of these production houses are geared to produce for the local carnival season and may not be functioning year round. In any case you can contact Tribe , Harts or Island People, as far as I know they all do costumes for foreign countries.


How much time does it actually take to plan and create a theme as well as costume for the next year?

Approximately 3 months from concept to finished prototypes.

As a followup to JV's question, and the answer may seem obvious, but why have a new band theme every year? I am not being silly, I would really like to know your point of view.

I don't quite understand, Are you sure you are not trying to be silly? The obvious would be to create different costumes and themes so as to give your masqueraders a variety of ways to enjoy their carnival every year. I hope I didn't miss the point of your question. If I did, let me know and I will try again next week.

Talk to you guys again next week.
BL

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vintage Tuesdays

The year was 1957, Carnival was under threat of a boycott by 16 bands over the fact that the prize money for band of the year was not enough. The ship running between Trinidad and Tobago broke down forcing Tobagonians to stay in Tobago for Carnival and George Bailey's "Back to Africa" wins Band of the Year which drew raves from the judges from "how much research went into the band" as well as captured spectators with sections such as Masai, Watusi, Zulu and Zambesi tribesmen.

"Oba Adelle I had a train 15 yards ling held by African Maidens and the burnished rhinestone studded crowns of the African Royalty and Court Ministers were masterpieces of metal craftsmanship".... read more in today's Vintage Tuesday:


Click on the book to read online



Or download today's articles HERE.


The following photograph can be found on Noel Norton's website along with other Carnival gems. Please visit his website to see other treasures from our Carnival History by Minshall, Berkely and others... really fabulous photographs:


George Bailey's "Back To Africa"


PHOTO SOURCE:
www.noelnorton.com

Shubh Divali



To all the Hindus celebrating the Festival of Light today....

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Question Time

It's MONDAY!! Time for more of your questions for the band leader.

Leave a comment or email me your questions at trinicarnivaldiary@yahoo.com.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sold Out Section Update

Ronnie & Caro
Calypso Fiesta (frontline)
Cock Fight (frontline)
Dimanche Gras (frontline)
Soca Monarch (Frontline)
Panorama (Frontline)

Harts
Gandara
Vayu (Male)
Zranka (pink)

Spice
Sea Salt (frontline)

Brian Mc Farlane
Kasena (Female)
Rashaida Bride (Female)
Hausa Dancers (Female)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

For Masqueraders Across the Pond...

With all those beautiful feathered costumes it would do you all wise to invest in a bottle of Fletch Dry Powder, just in case it rains or for some unforeseen reason your feathers get wet (spilled drink, misting zone perhaps?). For those of you in the US I already linked several sites where you can purchase waterproofing powder online, now those masqueraders in the UK can also purchase the waterproofing powder online as well. Through research from one of the bloggers this site is selling the powder at the best price compared to others, even with shipping and handling included. The product is called Gateway Waterproofing Powder, sold at www.merlinarcherycentre.co.uk for £4.00



As for footwear, I have been getting request for cheap boots from masqueraders in the UK and here are a few sites that I have come across that have pretty decent flat boots at reasonable prices:

(click on the highlighted name to be taken to the website)

Faith
Boots from £10.00

Urban Outfitters
Boots from £19.99


Priceless Shoes
Boots from £2.00


Garage Shoes
Boots from £19.99


Linzi Shoes
Boots from
£20.00


Desmazieres Shoes
Boots from £ 14.00


Wynsors
Boots from £12.95

New Look
Boots from £15.00


Remember that Afro Chic can spray any boot to match the colour of your costume so even black boots are fine. You may want to consult her regarding the material the boot is made of however; the website is bootsbyafrochic.com

Friday, October 24, 2008

Antilia Carnival



WHAT?: The premier "Sneak Peek" for Trinidad and Tobago's Carnival festival featuring a costume catwalk of themed carnival costume collections from rival carnival bands. Hosted by AJ Calloway & Vashtie Kola, live performances by soca sensation Rupee and other special guests.

WHEN?: Oct 30, 2008 at 8:00 PM EDT (7:00 PM DOORS)

WHERE?: Prince George Ballroom - New York, NY $100.00

HOW MUCH?: $100.00 (US) Inclusive of Premium Drinks & Hors D'oeuvres. Tickets can be bought online at Ticket Web.

See antilia.com/carnival for details.

D Harvard Section 2009

As we await patiently the launch of Trini Revellers website, private section with that band, D Harvard Section, has launched their offering with "Sweet T&T a Tribute to Trinidad and Tobago":



The sections are Play Yuhself (orange), Cyar Fraid Powder and Carib Country (blue). Since I am in a good mood today I am ONLY going to focus on the positive.

Play Yuhself is offering one of the cheapest frontline sections ever at $2395.00TT!! You cannot even get a Backline Babe costume at that price in most of the other bands. Cyar Fraid Powder is an interesting twist on the Fancy Sailor for the females who may want a sexy sailor costume and I do like the male costume very much. Carib Country is a simple, no frill costume for the ladies who don't want to fuss with a headpiece and just want something as if they were chilling on the beach at less than $2000.00TT. All these prices are "all inclusive" as per the website.

For more photos please visit D Harvard Section website.

Photo Source
www.dharvardsection.com

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gerad Kelly Shades of White

Today it is all about the kids as Gerad Kelly's website is also up and running; his 2009 Children's Presentation is SHADES OF WHITE:



Pretty costumes but imagine keeping that entire band clean all day!! Invest in Tide to Go parents.

Rosalind Gabriel's Website is up

I am loving the costumes for Rosalind Gabriel's kiddies portrayal of National Pride and one section even requires the girls to wear black knee high boots!



As for the adult's band I was expecting costumes on par with the kiddies, with lovely, towering backpacks and lots of fabric but from the drawings they remind me of Wayne Berkley circa 1995! Further judgment is reserved until I see the actual costumes on the road on Carnival Tuesday.

For drawings of both the Children and Adult's band or for more information visit Rosalind Gabriel's website.



PHOTO SOURCE:
www.rosalindgabriel.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Question and Answer With the Band Leader

When it comes to keeping your masqueraders happy and protected what are the ratios of masqueraders to drinks trucks, music trucks and security?What about the process of deciding which performers to have on the road? Does that come down to a money thing or do bandleaders go by who are the most popular performers for the season and start the bidding war?


As far as drinks, for a bar to function reasonably well (as no bar is perfect.) a minimum ratio is 1 bar person per 50 patrons, but this also depends on how much available bar surface there is.In any event there will have to be a wait to get your drinks. It is just the logistics of it. Best we can do is minimize the wait. In some aspects the traditional carts function better, for some good reasons,less people sharing the same access area or bar surface. A Cart may may serve an average a 100 or so patrons, attended to by approx. 4 bar tenders or cart workers. That ratio is 1:25 which is very good. As well as most cart patrons can simply put there hand in their own carts and retrieve drinks .Self service is the quickest way. But with the complaints on the rise of congestion being worsened by so many additional trucks I feel that sooner or later the powers that be may restrict the number of of trucks Bands will be allowed.

In respect to who performs on the road, it is a little of all that you mentioned. Availability is I think the most important, and you also has to be careful of who you hire, because some bands are too popular and may cause an unnecessary mount of non masqueraders to invade, and stress the security, as what happened with Machel and Poison. I love HD but I wouldn't let them play on the road for me. So you want good consistent sound with an all round band, that has stamina, fair popularity, and lots of road experience. And Band nor sound system comes cheap. All you can do is try to give the people the best time they could have.
Thanks again , till next week
B.L.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In Production

Yesterday I paid an impromptu visit to Richard and Anthony's production house where they were diligently working on pieces for the sections Spangled Cotinga, Green Honeycreeper, Caged Canary and Hummingbird. I have to say I absolutely LOVE,LOVE,LOVE Caged Canary's frontline headpiece (which I tried on) it has got to be the most fantastic headpiece of all the costumes I have seen thus far for Carnival 2009. It is just gorgeous!!!

As for quality control, the costumes that I saw in production were all being crafted with meticulous detail to the prototype so at least those masqueraders in any of the aforementioned sections should not be worried of having their headpieces looking different to the original.

I was also able to try the tail on for Spangled Cotinga Frontline and it is very sturdy, the back piece is made with a wire base which is then attached to the front piece using hooks on the side of the belt. The tail is awesome !!! That visit was a well needed booster to the excitement for Carnival, I cannot WAIT to see my costume!

Vintage Tuesdays


Steelband Invaders wearing their instruments hung around their necks
at the beginning of the 1950’s.



Calypso tent, 1956.Top, 4th from the left, Mighty Sparrow


Today's Vintage Tuesday features the year 1956 with two articles, one featuring Carnival in San Fernando. To read online, click on the book below:



Or, download the articles HERE.

PHOTO SOURCE:
http://www.lameca.org

Monday, October 20, 2008

Legacy Band Launch Photos

You can check out the first photos of Legacy's launch of "Kingdom of the Dragon",their 2009 presentation on trinisoca.com:

Gallery 1


Gallery 2

Gallery 3

They got LOTS of photos.

I will reserve my comments for when I see the costumes in person or on the website for a better look, however THIS costume below, the red one, is a VERY close version of Spice's Melliot Blue frontline:



Spice - Melliot Blue


p.s. And do not try to educate me on the Meliot Blue/Spangled Cotinga similarities; both costumes were done by the SAME designers so it is impossible to plagiarize your own self!!! It would do those of you reading the blog for the first time wellto check the archives from inception in 2006, in fact from the last few months, to understand that I do not spout things from off the top of my head without being aware of the facts.


SOURCE:
www.trinisoca.com

Monday Question Time........

Another Monday.. another round of questions. You know the drill, leave a comment or send me an email with your question at trinicarnivaldiary@yahoo.com.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Panorama 2009

Pan Trinbago has announced the dates for Panorama 2009.

Preliminary competition is slated to begin on January 23rd with the judging of single bands followed by the period January 27th to February 3rd which will feature the judging of small, medium and large bands.

On February 8th the National semi-finals, aka "Savannah Party", will once again be held at the the Queen's Park Savannah with the grand finals of Panorama taking place on February 21st at the same venue.

Rosalind Gabriel ventures into adult mas

Renowned, award winning Kiddies Carnival Band Leader, Rosalind Gabriel, will be venturing into new territory as she launched an Adult Band for 2009. The band's presentation for 2009 is called "Native Land" and is comprised of 5 sections catering to masqueraders looking for "something different and a lot more cloth". Micheal Salickram of the Shiv Shakti Dancers is also involved in this Carnival venture.

Rosalind's kiddies band for 2009 will be playing "National Pride" and both adults and kiddies will be parading on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. For more information on the band you can visit the official website though it is not fully up and running as yet.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Footwear Finds

For the non-boots wearing masqueraders, I stumbled upon the perfect sneaker for Dreams!


Jessica Simpson Women's Even Sneaker - price $68.95
Buy at - Endless.com


And I am loving these for Natural Mystic as an alternative to chunky trainers, this costume needs footwear that is not bulky:


Vision Streetwear Women's Glitz Low Sneaker -$21.97
Buy at - Endless.com


And the deal of the day are these silver, sequined and rhinestone sneakers at $15.00! They look as if you would need to add a pair of gel in soles for extra comfort (so order one size bigger) but the price cannot be beat for sleek silver sneakers that need no extra embellishments:



Buy at - Newport News

Friday, October 17, 2008

So I know I am late....

But I am only now seeing Kaotic's new section "Untamed!".



And to tell you just HOW late I am, am I the only one who just realised that Kaotic's former Public Relations officer, Rene Holford, is no longer with the band and is playing with TRIBE (I won't tell you which section) ? Ms. Holford has joined a growing list of band affilaites who have absconded and are now playing with TRIBE!

SOURCE:
www.kaoticcarnival09.com

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Genesis Website is Up...



Thanks to DQ who made the observation that Genesis changed their website address, it is now http://carnivalgenesis.com so please bookmark, note or update your links. I would have never known their website was up and running otherwise!!

I have to say the prices are not bad at all though some of the frontline options are a tad pricey they are in line with current pricing trends for frontlines in other bands unfortunately. I do like like their Dealers section MUCH better than the other one from that other band. The section Diamonds is gorgeous, love it, probably Nina's best costume to date. I also like Ice for some reason, in spite of the Snow Witch vibe I am getting for it.



Diamonds



Not bad Genesis, I can see a marked improvement in costume design over the years from this band and one thing you can say is that they certainly went outside the norm for some of the designs, and there is a marked absence of beads on the costumes!!

SOURCE
www.carnivalgenesis.com

Hmmmm .......



Spotted at Labor Day..

I am trying to put my finger on what is drawing my attention in that picture and I think I have it; those are another version on Island People's jeweled panties for Rays of Lights!!! Then, I thought to myself is that a squiggly tail coming out of the back of that frontline costume? hmmmm...!

What say you?

This Frontline H.O. is __________????

*Yawn*.. where is the excitement??

As this weekend bring the last of the band launches, in a VERY long Band Launching season, with Legacy's launch on Saturday we are still awaiting the websites of Trini Revellers,Masquerade and Genesis all of which seem to be "offline" at the moment. At this point I have no idea how to find Genesis or Masquerade's mas camp to go in and take a look in lieu of waiting on photos on the website for a close view as there is no information out there.

I have to admit that with the incredibly long list of band launches coming one behind the next after Island People both my excitement and interest waned considerably for the subsequent band launches. Sorry to say , but I am going through a period of utter boredom when it comes to band launches hence the reason why Brian Mc Farlane's launch on Saturday morning was such a welcome departure from the same old routine that I had been experiencing since the first weekend in July.

In fact as Carnival is approaching in just about 4 months I feel a general waning of excitment overall. The two big bands have not only launched but are completely SOLD OUT and save for a few sections gone in Harts none of the other bands are even close to selling out despite what we have been reading about "sections going fast". The trend these days seems to be a mas camp lime or bus limes to generate public interest in flagging Carnival bands. However, to be quite honest, I think the die hard masqueraders are already registered in the popular bands of their choice and the ones who the bands are waiting on now are those who are still not sure what band they want to play with anyway... who predicts that we will have several of the numerous Carnival bands barely selling out a couple sections come February? There are simply TOO MANY bands at this point competing for the same number of straggling masqueraders with the same variations of costumes, two bands even have the identical headpiece in different colours!

Ronnie & Caro
Elements
Kaotic
Evolution
Wee International
Pulse 8
Dream Team
Masquerade
Genesis
Trevor Wallace
Image Nation
Trini Revellers,
Spice
D Krewe.

Legacy, Brian Mc Farlane and Harts all have their devout masqueraders who will play with them regardless of what else is out there.

In addition many people overseas have expressed to me that the credit crunch and financial crisis is affecting them as well, and if not for having their ticket to Trinidad and costume already paid for they would not have bothered to make the trip for Carnival. I await to see how the fetes are affected by people visiting with less money to spend on the ever rising cost of parties.

Adding to the boredom factor is that I, along with several other masqueraders, have already checked the must have items off the list ,like footwear and makeup for instance ,though I am still working on complete Monday wear as I only have part of the ensemble. The problem I think is that the build up to Carnival started way too early this year, I am burnt out, by months and months of pre-band launching media and introduction launches followed swiftly by a series of non stop band launches all through July and August.. by September I did not want to go to any more, too tired!

So, to inject a shot of stimulation to the cooling Carnival fever this morning here is a little bit of a brain teaser for you: which Carnival Band touting the fact that they had a deadline to meet is rumoured to have not even made a deposit for paying their suppliers to start production on costumes?? And, on the flip side which Carnival Band has completed production for several sections ALREADY ??? I tell you, that is the difference between a newbie and a veteran in this business!!!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Your First Look At Dream Team....



More photos of the launch can be seen at www.trinisoca.com

WEBSITE AND MAS CAMP WILL BE OPEN WEDNESDAY 22ND OCTOBER 2008

Contact Info:
Email - info@dreamteamtnt.com
683-2413 or 756-2449

SOURCE:
www.trinisoca.com

Question and Answer With the Band Leader

I don't think that I got my question answered.. But correct me if i'm wrong!!What advise do you have for people that would like to get into the mas industry, say getting into designing costumes or doing costume sketches etc. (1st had drawing) who can we approch with our ideas??


Sorry but I answered this question twice already. Squeezle is right check the archives. But thanks for the question, if there is anything else I be glad to answer


Hello Bandleader,
I am unsure if this is an appropriate question or if you feel comfortable answering, but I am really interested in your perspective on the following issue.Since Mac Farlane's first production, there have been many comments that his work is simply a replica of Peter Minshall's; that his creations lack that something 'different'. Do you agree? What is your take on it?(and please explain)

I guess there is some truth in saying that there are similarities in some of Brian's work to Peter's. After all I guess Peter in away was a mentor to Brian. But I would certainly say it is unfair to assume he is not Peter's equal. Brian has many years of design and decorating under his belt, and is certainly qualified to carry the torch (so to speak.) He also has the talent to take it beyond the capability of Peter. Remember he has only been producing his own band about 5 years. His future is bright and full of possibilities. Once Brian does not make the same mistakes that Peter has, he can achieve anything, and certainly he is equal to, and is surpassing Peter.

Thanks again for another week.
B.L.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Image Nation Band Launch

Photos from Image Nations band launch of their Carnival 2009 "Coral Reef" are now online at Xclusiv Events:



Lots of interesting combinations like a bikini and bra set paired with genie pants and all manner of variations on the sailor theme.. my first response is "hmmmmm".

Of the three years that Image Nation has been a band to me this is their weakest (dare I even say most cosquel) presentation yet, and I am a supporter of their previous work. Some of the materials and colours did not translate from the sketches into reality I am afraid . On a positive note, I applaud the use of a plus sized model at the launch.











SOURCE:
www.xclusiveventz.com

Vintage Tuesdays

The year is 1955, hailed as one of the biggest Carnivals ever, even the rain could not keep Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret from tapping her feet along with the steel band! Archived at TIME online is an article about the Princess' visit and LIFE magazine also featured her on the cover during her visit to Trinidad.


Life Magazine February 21, 1955 : Color Cover - Margaret in Trinidad


Read all about it in today's Vintage Tuesday, click on the book to view online:



To Download today's Archive click HERE


SOURCE
www.time.com
www.2neatmagazines.com

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Story of Africa

“Africa, Her People, Her Glory, Her Tears.”



A long time ago, there lived a woman named Manzandaba (mah-nzah-ndah’bah) and her husband Zenzele (zay-nzay-lay).

They lived with their family in a traditional home in a small mud hut on the outskirts of the village homestead and for the most part, they were very content.

The girls would spend their days with Manzandaba weaving, cooking and making pottery and the boys hunted and tilled with Zenzele, who also had the hands and heart of an artist.

In the evenings when the family would sit around the fire before going to sleep they were restless. It was too dark for weaving or carving, and yet too early to go to sleep.

“Mama” the children would cry, “Sifuna izindaba!” (see-foo-nah ezee-ndah’-bah) “We want stories! Tell us some stories, Mama!”

Manzandaba would think and think, trying to find a story she could tell her children, but it was of no use. She and Zenzele sought the counsel of their neighbors, but none of them knew any stories. They listened to the wind but they heard nothing.

One day Zenzele told his wife that she must go in search of stories. He promised to look after the home and to care for the children. Manzandaba agreed. She kissed her husband and children good-bye and set off.

The woman asked every creature she passed but had no luck until she met a gazelle. “Oh, kind Ndlovu (ndloh’-voo), “she asked, “do you know where I might find some stories? My children and people are hungry for some tales, and we do not have any!”

“Dear woman,” said the gazelle , “I do not know of any stories but my friend Nkwazi (nkwah’-zee) the great spirit bird might be able to help for he is able to see the secrets of the big, wide world.

They found the spirit bird near the mouth of the Tugela River and called out ad he was swooping down from the sky.

“Nkwazi! Nkwazi,” the gazelle shouted. “Oh great and wise Nkwazi, this woman is hungry for stories to take back to her family and her people. Do you know where she might find such tales?

The bird looked carefully at Manzandaba. “Woza, nkosikazi”, said the bird.

“Hello,” said Manzandaba. She told the bird of her desire.

“ Climb onto my back and hold onto my wings,” said Nkwazi, I will carry you first to the Land of the Spirit People to a time close to the age where the First Man and First Woman walked upon the earth.

The woman took hold of his large wings and up they went into the expanse of the sky before swooping into time. The spirit bird took her straight to the thrones of the King and Queen. They were so regal and their eyes burst with mystery from beneath their beautifully painted faces and jeweled wraps.

Manzandaba bowed down before them.

“What do you wish of us, woman form the other side?” they asked.

“Do you have tale that I could take to my people?” Manzandaba asked rather shyly.

“Yes, “they said, “we have many stories. Our ceremonies, our family life and our traditions have been with us since the beginning of time. But what will you give us in exchange for those stories, Manzandaba?”

“What do you desire?” Manzandaba asked.

“What we would really like,” they said, “is a picture of our future.” We have heard talk that there is and umillo (fire) coming our way and we are scared for we have been told it will destroy our way of life. Since you can travel through time with Nkami, can you bring us mews of what our future will look like.”

Manzandaba could not believe her luck; this would yield her a treasure chest of tales.

“Oh, yes!” she answered. “I can do that! Thank you, thank you!’

Manzandaba set off to do as the Spirit King’s bid.

Again Nkwazi sped through time and soared fast as lightning. Manzandaba saw as many villages as there were hills and land and seas. She saw large compounds with several generations of family living in them.

“These children are as important as my children,’ she said as she looked on and saw how each child’s development was shared by every one in the community.

“See where your own traditions began?” prodded the bird, “all these children belong to the village.”

Nkwazi hovered above a wedding ceremony. There was much laughter and gaiety and a huge, sumptuous meal that everyone had come to share.

In time they reached a great river and paused. Everything looked strange but still familiar: the land, the great mountains, and the people. But as Manzandaba turned toward the river to drink she felt a great heat. When she looked she saw an Umillo its heat dazzled her eyes and caused her skin to burn. In the water Manzandaba and Nkwazi saw Death, Disease and Destruction. They saw children burying their parents. They saw babies being born with a sickness that killed their parents. The saw small children wandering around without care, food or hope.

Manzandaba could not take this news back to the Spirit People, instead she instructed Nkwazi to return to her village. There she hurried straight to Zenzele and told him what she saw and made request.

“Zenzele, please create something for me to take back to the Spirit People?”

That very night Zenzele went to work and with deft fingers began to carefully create a picture of Africa, of her past rich with traditions and her future mad bleak with the generation lost children. He called his piece: “Africa, Her People, Her Glory, Her Tears.”

When the next round moon showed her face, Zenzele was ready. He carefully tied the picture to Manzandaba’s back. She climbed on the Nkwazi back and away they went to the Spirit Kingdom.

When the King and Queen of the Spirit people was the painting they became somber.

“You have warned us,” they said, and fell silent.

They then praised Zenzele’s talent and gave Manzandaba a special necklace made of lion’s teeth for her husband in thanks.

“And now for you Manzandaba and your people, “we give the gift of stories.” And they handed her the largest and most beautiful shell she had ever seen.”

Whenever you want a story, “they said, “just hold this shell to your ear and you will have your tale!”

Manzandaba thanked them for their extreme kindness and with Nkwasi I headed back to her own world.

When she arrived at the shore, there to meet her own family and all the people of her village. They sat around a huge fire and called out, “Tell us a story, Manzandaba! Tell us a story!”

So she sat down, put the shell to her ear, and began, “Kwesuka sukela…..”


Monday Question Time

When this question and answer session first started it was to give you, readers and masqueraders, to communicate with a band leader to get your questions answered. This far we have gotten some interesting and thought provoking questions but it seems as if you guys might be running out of steam; I wonder if the hype for Carnival has waned a bit.

Anyway, if you have any questions for out band leader please leave a comment or email me at trinicarnivaldiary@yahoo.com.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Africa!!

Brian Mc Farlane's launch of his 2009 Carnival presentation "Africa - Her People, Her Glory, Her Tears", yesterday, had to be the most invigorating, exciting and unique band launches I have ever been to!

The entire band launch was shrouded in mystery as invited guests and media were only informed of the date and time of the launch with instructions that we were to assemble at the KFC Car park in Chaguaramas; from there were to be taken to an undisclosed location and advised to wear comfortable clothing and sneakers... did I mention that were to meet at 5:30am!!


Leaving home in the wee hours of the early morning, we were greeted by showers which cleared up on the way to Port of Spain, alas the rain eventually followed our trail as ominous clouds could be seen as the Dawn broke. In spite of the threat of rain the production carried on as anticipated with only a slight delay in departure. At this time we were informed that we would be taken to two locations, one for breakfast, and upon reaching the second location we were to take a ten minute hike to the setting of "Africa". It took a while to digest the news of the ten minute hike, as one photographer in particular seemed shocked at the prospect of having to leave the comforts of modern transportation to actually walk!


Shuttle buses took us to from the car park to destination number one, a rustic cottage, the site of the movie Mystic Masseur, where we were treated to a "local breakfast of coconut bake, smoke herring, salt fish and porridge!




Candles and lanterns were used to illuminate the cottage which was decorated sparingly with antique items such as an iron, baskets, goat hide and burlap covered tables.


The breakfast provided was absolutely delicious and after everyone had enjoyed the meal were then taken a short distance way to destination number two; the hiking trail to Edith Falls.


At this time the rain started ever so gently sprinkling us as we made makeshift rain coats from garbage bags, also used to protect the camera equipment, and were provided with umbrellas. Approaching the trail I now saw the need for sneakers; imagine a muddy, leaf strewn path through bamboo and dense vegetation and that was the path we took.


By this time the rain has started pouring from the skies, but thankfully the vegetation was so thick it also provided us with cover from a sure drenching. The walk itself was not laborious, even for someone like me who does not like the "nature stuff" it was an exciting adventure to be traipsing through a muddy forest early on a Saturday morning. A few minutes into the walk Afro Chic, who was walking ahead, turned and said she had just seen an "African" up ahead!! We came to a clearing in the forest and heard chanting and singing as a procession of "Africans" dancing and drumming made their appearance:

video

The drumming and dancing continued as the dancers gave a rousing energetic performance


Dressed in robes and a mask symbolic of an Elephant, Mc Farlane appeared leading a succession of characters adorned with beautiful headpieces made from flowers, leaves, twigs and branches. "Africa, her people, her glory, her tears"...was the greeting Mc Farlane gave as he began to orate on the concept and theme of the band.


Africa, he intimated, was speaking to him since 4 years ago and after the 2007 presentation of "India the story of Boyie" he was compelled to follow that presentation with "Africa" but was worried it would be contrived as being too cliche. However, Mc Farlane said, he could no longer resist the call of Africa. Africa will be the largest presentation to date, with 19 sections, celebrating the 5th anniversary of Mc Farlane's debut into Carnival.


As the African's honour their ancestors so too shall Mc Farlane as the section "Zulu Tribe" is a tribute to George Bailey a pioneer in African mas. Also, a team from Mc Farlane's camp will be visiting various orphanages in Trinidad to lecture to kids on the beauty of the motherland of Africa as well as speak on HIV/AIDS awareness. Consequently, these children will be left with a brown cotton canvas which they will paint in their own "child like interpretation" of the future of Trinidad and Tobago. The last section of the band will evolve on stage to show the horror of HIV in Africa; at this time the mammoth tapestry of the children's art will be weaved throughout the band so that spectators can view the children's hope for not only, Africa but Trinidad and Tobago.

Soon, the sections were revealed as each character was disrobed revealing the artwork for each section:

video


Following this Mc Farlane lead us, and the procession, out of the forest




While we waited on the shuttle buses to return to take us back to the cottage, the procession continued their march .....


Back at the cottage we were again treated to more food, this time a signature African Dish, Yam,Channa and fish:


Everyone was then invited to feel free and approach the band leader for a discussion on his Africa:


After an incredibly exciting and interesting morning we made our departure, and I can honestly say that this is one presentation that I am excited to see on the road for 2009. Africa.. her people, her glory, her tears.

For the FULL Album of photos from the band launch CLICK HERE. Also you can click on any of the photos for a large view.

Please note, Mc Farlane's website is UPDATED.. so you can take a look at AFRICA.... and get prices for each section. Registration starts tomorrow, Monday October 13th.

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