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Monday, September 28, 2009

Aftermath of Ressurection The Mas

The usual metaphors and adjectives normally bandied about to describe Carnival band launches and their subsequent showing of skimpy, pretty mas is somehow incongruous at this stage to put into the words the showing of Brian Mc Farlane’s Carnival 2010 presentation “Resurrection The Mas”. Nothing can prepare you for the surreal image of a tiny spit of sand, in the middle of crystal clear aqua tinged seas, the stage for a showcase of ghostly looking images of a Carnival past, costumed characters invoking images of an 1800’s portrayal. Couple that visual stimulation with the drumming and percussion of a steady rhythm section punctuating the air and you have the most unique and enthralling band launch I have ever had the pleasure to attend.

There is nothing pretty about Brian Mc Farlane’s authentic interpretation of 1800’s traditional mas. The costumes represent some long forgotten and rarely seen traditional portrayals such as the “Suck Meh Nose Sailors”, “Soumayre”, and “Minstrels” along with more familiar “Black Indians”, “Clowns”, “Dame Lorraine”, “Fireman”, “Jab Jab”, “Jab Molassie”, “Cow Mas”, “Stickfighters”, “Burrokeet”, “Red Indians”, “Paywoo (Pierrot Grenade), “Baby Doll” and a glittering gold “Dragon”. The traditional colours associated with these iconic costumes have been swept by bronze and gold however the architectural elements of the costumes are authentic according to Mc Farlane.

The symbolism of using the Bucco Reef for the staging of Resurrection The Mas was significant as Mc Farlane intimated that the destruction and consequential resurrection of the reef is much akin to the destruction of mas “in it’s pure form” which has now led to this Resurrection of traditional mas which will take to the streets of Port of Spain in numbers; the band is catering to 1500 masqueraders. It is important to note that Brian Mc Farlane has made public his disapproval of what is now the Savannah "stage" during an interview by one of the media houses yesterday. Mc Farlane said that what masqueraders now have to use as a "stage" is insulting to the mas as our full grandeur and splendor is lost to the world and he plans to boycott the Savannah "stage" until a proper stage is constructed!

Our journey began at 6:30 yesterday morning with arrivals at the Piarco airport to board the flight that would transport a plethora of journalists from both local and international media to the event hosted on our sister island. The tight schedule left no room for delays which meant the hard working staff of Mango Media had their work cut out to ensure that everything went as planned. After arriving in beautiful, sunny Tobago waiting coaches whisked us to Pigeon Point where refreshments awaited. Following a brief speech by the Bucco Reef Trust on the historical nature of the Reef ,as well as Pigeon Point , the send off to our destination was to drummers and a performance by beautifully costumed bele dancers:

Boarding one of four boats to take us to the Bucco Reef anticipation of what to expect of the actual launch was hinted at on approach to the sandbar. Flashes of glittering gold ( what we later learned was the sequined scales of the Dragon) beckoned us forward. On approach to the sandbar the drums rang out, the characters came to life, rising from the sea and sand where before they lay motionless, and we could even hear the cracking of the jab jab's whips! From my vantage point atop one of the boats I could clearly see Sailors, Bats, Baby Dolls and the man himself Brian Mc Farlane performing along with his artistes as the Midnight Robber! This is the first launch that I have attended where actual costumes from the presentation have ever been shown (I do believe however that Mc Farlane's premiere band launch also showed costumes.)

It was this Midnight Robber that greeted us, solemn in concentrated dance, as the journey led from the sea to land, at an impressive Villa nestled in the Grafton Sanctuary. There artistic renderings of the costumes , the familiar Mc Farlane sketches, were displayed by the bele dancers who held those portraits for viewing all afternoon. I must say my favorite costumes are both the Red and Black Indian as well as the Pierrot Grenade , Baby Doll and Sailors.

Here is Brian Mc Farlane brieifing the media on Resurrection The Mas:

All too soon this spectacular day in Tobago was over and we were headed to the airport in a frenzy to catch the flight back to Trinidad after what can only be described as a most fanatastic day; lets see how he tops this band launch in 2011!

Brian Mc Farlane's mas camp opens on October 6, mark the date!

Videos of Resurrection The Mas

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