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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mas Jumbies Jouvert 2010 Review (2)

This year as I did since they started, played J'ouvert with Brian Won Wong's Mas Jumbies. I was delighted to see that my review which I thought was going to be the first one, was actually trumped by a newbie to the Mas Jumbies family - welcome newbie. My review will be brief because having background knowledge on what it takes to actually BRING a band in the United States I will not want to sound in any way biased or try to have the validity of my review questioned or even mistakened for allegiance to said bandleader even if it is after all only J'ouvert.

My J'ouvert experience from start (collection) to end (drenced in paint and drunk) was an exceptional one! I arrived into Trinidad in the throws of distribution I believe and had both ordered costumes hand delivered to my door by none other than Mr Mas Jumbie himself! How is that for customer service, and I didnt even have to pay a service delivery fee (which if offered I would have taken) - hint Brian. Again, after looking at the costume which was neatly packaged in an eco-friendly labeled bag and contained all of the essentials for J'ouvert (which to some may be nothing lol - LIKE my colleague who has to be forced to wear anything lol) I was pleased to see that for the third year - the leap from traditional J'Ouvert costumes (read crocus bags and oil paint) has now landed on haute couture costuming fit for a 3am stroll in Port of Spain. This had me excited and I made a quick trip to Jimmy Aboud to get yet more stuff to add to this costume just cause I wanted to PALANCE in style!

The ROAD:
I left to meet the band at 4am (even though the form said 3am meeting point) I carefully read the route and as planned met them at the end of Chacon Street preparing to head to South Quay. This was perfect timing since (from reading the previous post) I now understand that there was some difficulty with the truck set up etc etc. After that the road experience was perfect, drinks were flowing and the vibe was awesome.

The SYNOPSIS:
What Brian has achieved which is no small feat within Mas Jumbies is secured a place that people - whether local or visiting - can enjoy this ritual of early morning mas in a secured, comfortable, MOVING environment. His clientele is mostly foreign based and as such the need for clusters, pulling, tugging, pushing from here to there and the ever uncomfortable feeling of someone wanting to violate you is LOST once you meet with this band and begin your journey on J'ouvert morning. Now, I do understand that to some - without the pushing and pulling and everything else - they dont think J'ouvert is J'ouvert which would explain the number of people that no longer participate but c'est la vie.

The band is SMALL, the band is WHITE (I meant the paint used!) but what the band is - IS FUN! And once you are a fun person who is open minded, appreciative of the culture and have an understanding of what this artform means to Carnival and what Brian (as an artist) has transformed this medium to be, would be the best $55 - $60 US you would spend in your life. How is that for a charitable donation! He has made the artform much more acceptable at least to me! Many people think J'ouvert is about wearing anything you want and come out to have fun. But there were the days of Rabs Immortelle, Burrokeets and many others that traditional costume WAS A MUST! - I am glad that this is not lost!

Each year I thoroghly enjoy Mas Jumbies and this year was no exception. I would be remissed had I not say that financially I know this could possibly be a hardship for the management of a J'ouvert band irregardless of the size, so the need to want MORE PEOPLE TO JOIN would be something of a priority for the management of Mas Jumbies. I though would love to see the band stay the size that it is, but I am also one that likes when good things are SHARED - So I encourage all readers who feel so compelled, to join Mas Jumbies' facebook page, keep up with the good work that Brian has done with this band and come take a part of the J'ouvert experience. It is a lot of fun!!!

1 comment:

Joy.N.StLouis said...

I didn't want to leave a review since it wouold seem as if I was showing off or being too effusive with praise for this little band that can and does deliver an excellent Jouvert experience. MAS Jumbies IS my Jouvert. From the meticulous research, to use of local materials and labour whenever possible; to the family vibe on the road; to some bess road music; to the absolute glee expressed by first time visitors and returning Trinbagonians alike... any presentation MAS Jumbies does, is beyond comparison.

As much as I want more people to experience this merry little band, I always want to be personally greeted with a kiss and a coconut bake, plied with hard wine and feel slightly absolved of the sins against "the 'Mas" I'm about to commit in my bikini & beads.

Oh yeah, I highly recommend going behind the bridge! Shame on me for being scared before. Kudos to Brian and the band for returning another authentic aspect to Jouvert!

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