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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sugar and Spice and everything nice!

Since rumours of this partner's split from Island People became the talk of the town just after Carnival, all have been waiting to see if it is indeed true. Well, sources have confirmed that the name of the new band from a former Island People investor is going to be called  "Sugar". I guess we already have Spice so, we needed Sugar? Not to mention every single person I have spoken to agreed that this person's attitude definitely needs some sweetness as they are a "cold stone"; not a very popular or likable person it seems! Disclaimer; I have never met or have any intimate knowledge of said person but their reputation precedes them is all I have to say.

Anyway, I am looking forward to the costumes from Sugar as one of my favourite young designers is said to be working with this band (among the others she already does designs for!). In addition there seems to be another new band waiting to be revealed in the wings, but this one everyone is being pretty silent about, and NO it is not going to be a TRIBE breakaway or a second TRIBE.. well, as far as I was told!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

2010 Trinidad Carnival - J'Ouvert

Good mawnin peeps, Kermit here bringing you the scenes from J’Ouvert 2010. The crew and I had so much fun last year with the Cocoa Devils that, so as not to mess with a good thing, we decided to jump with them again and here we are at 2:30 am on Carnival Monday morning, heading down to the National Stadium to meet up with the rest of the Wining Devils.

The description of my experiences in Cocoa Devils will be brief as I will let my pictures do the talking due to the fact that I am not able to coherently describe everything I saw while cavorting through the streets of Port-of-Spain that morning. I do remember seeing horses in hats being ridden by cowboys in dresses; I remember seeing a herd of pigs with white sticks; I remember a big-bottomed-big-chested Dame Lorraine dancing on a wall; I remember seeing plenty people wining on each other and having a fine time and fortunately most of what I remember seeing is in the album so if yuh doh believe mih, take a look.

To me, J’Ouvert is the part of carnival that I look forward to the most. Very few experiences compare to covering yourself in warm cocoa and parading through the streets of a slumbering city until the sun rises. A good J’Ouvert symbolizes all that is special about the carnival spirit. It doesn’t matter what you cover yourself with, whether it is cocoa, mud, paint, powder, or some combination thereof; what matters is that you are now a part of a larger being that is hell bent on having fun while expanding its numbers by duttying up as many onlookers as possible.

It doesn’t matter who or what you were before you gave in to the J’Ouvert spirit; you could have been a doctor, lawyer, dishwasher, carpenter, mechanic, or even self-employed, you could be young, or not so young, slim or not so slim, once that layer of something covered you, you transcended the physical and were reborn with your fellow masqueraders becoming children of the night and after casting off the trappings and restrictions of adulthood and society’s gaze, you were now free to run and jump and play in the dark to your heart’s content and that is exactly what we did.

J’Ouvert is the last great equalizer and it is only here that every creed and race truly finds an equal place and we see indisputable proof that God has indeed blessed our nation.
Rest assured that in 2011 I will be a Cocoa Devil once again.
Enjoy the pics peeps, Carnival Monday is next.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Celebrity Carnival

According to a press release sent out by Antilla Carnival last week one would believe they were the first to bring celebrities to Trinidad Carnival. If memory serves me right we have had our share of celebrities visiting during Trinidad Carnival in the past.

Victoria Rowell of The Young and Restless played mas with Island Events section in Poison Carnival 2003, Gabrielle Union and Anthony Anderson played with Island Events the band the following year in 2004, Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson played in TRIBE 2005, Micheal Ealy has played in TRIBE in 2007 and 2008. Halle Berry and Flavor Flav both  showed up at a Girl Power fete in 2001 and 2008 respectively.Not to mention we have had a host of beauty queens playing mas in Trinidad; Sushmita Sen (Miss Universe 1994) and Mpule Kewlagobe (Miss Universe 1999) both played in Harts in 2001.And this was not AJ Calloway's first visit to Trinidad either

I have never gotten the celebrity appeal for Carnival, especially as the ones who were here this year went under the radar; how many of you even knew that  Tyson Beckford or Mya were going to be at Trinidad Carnival? Rumours were that Tyson Beckford did not want anyone to take his photograph (I am yet to see him show up in one Facebook album posing with a random person at any event ) but I did see Mya was kind enough to pose for photos with a few "fans" while she was hanging out on the streets Carnival Tuesday. 

Ok, so the rationale for the celebrity link to Trinidad's Carnival is that it gives the festival and the promoters who get the celebrities here, extra publicity. Though, I do not see if the celebrities are not actually involved in playing mas  how that exactly lends credence to the fact that one SHOULD come to Trinidad and play mas. What is the point of coming all the way to Trinidad for Carnival and NOT playing mas? Is showing up and making an appearance at a private event the same as getting involved in the culture?

I may be a bit jaded  but I would have been throughly impressed if Tyson Beckford had taken part in Jouvert, covered in head to toe with mud and paint! Queen Latifah did an excellent job on Jay Leno ( despite having her jewelry stolen) when she talked about her vacation  liming in Trinidad and Tobago; maybe next year they could get her to come next year and actually play mas in a costume!

Anyway, check out the press release by Antilla Carnival  and photos of the celebrities who graced our Carnival 2010:

 Jason Williams (JW), singer of Trinidad's 2010 "Road March" winning single "Palance,"
 is interviewed by Extra's AJ Calloway at the Carlton Savannah.
R&B songstress Mýa

Malik Yoba

Tyson Beckford poses in the elevator at the Carlton Savannah's rooftop 

NEW YORK (March 22, 2010) - Trinidad and Tobago is generating strong exposure in the American celebrity community and mainstream consumer market following Caribbean entertainment brand Antilia's successful promotion of its "2010 Carnival Experience VIP travel packages" to the twin-island nation last month.

Antilia's CEO, Simon Khan reports that the campaign was a tremendous success: Trinidad and Tobago received top class exposure and accolades from the visitors and celebrities who Antilia welcomed to the island for the season, including supermodel/actor Tyson Beckford, NAACP Image Award-winning actor Malik Yoba, and Grammy winning R&B songstress Mýa.

In addition to playing host to dozens of visitors who took advantage of Antilia's travel packages to one of the greatest cultural celebrations on earth, Antilia also invited the popular daily syndicated entertainment magazine program, Extra, representing one of the largest television media establishments ever to participate in Trinidad Carnival.

During Extra's visit, host AJ Calloway also covered the Beyoncé concert, teaching the R&;B superstar how to "Palance" (a Trinidad Carnival Dance), a memorable addition to her show which sent the crowd into a frenzy, and which was also highlighted in the program.

Extra also filmed Antilia's star-studded, invitation only Ash Wednesday "SUNSET" event at the Carlton Savannah's "Wow Suite", where Queen Elizabeth of England stayed during her visit to Trinidad last November. Upon his return to New York, Calloway publicly thanked Antilia for hosting Extra's visit to Carnival in front of millions of viewers. The February 26 and 27 airings of the show were carried on WNBC in New York among numerous other stations around the country.

Antilia welcomed many more taste-makers and notables, including acclaimed celebrity photographer Jonathan Mannion (who has worked alongside Jay-Z, Eminem, Notorious B.I.G., Lance Armstrong and David Beckham); Beyoncé's choreographer Zach Simmons; celebrity stylist Theo Faulkner; runner-up on Bravo's Make Me a Super Model Sandhurst Tacama-Miggins; NFL stars Edgerrin James and Clinton Portis; top New York radio personality Dahved Levy; and Travelista TV which is running eight webisodes about Antilia's "Carnival Experience."

Antilia offered special six-night packages, representing incredible value and convenience, including 4-Star luxury accommodation at the Hyatt Regency and Carlton Savannah hotels; VIP party tickets; airport transfers; chauffeur/ driver services; 24-hour concierge service, a costume and all-inclusive experience with top all-inclusive Carnival bands; and in-room costume fitting and tailoring.

"We're very pleased to have successfully introduced celebrities, media personalities and movers and shakers within the entertainment world to Trinidad and Tobago, and look forward to doing more of the same across the Caribbean to promote sustainable tourism development and awareness of the region's unique attributes," remarked Simon Khan.

The entertainment brand is currently planning a series of VIP initiatives both in the Caribbean and North America which will similarly integrate star power and international media participation with Caribbean fashion, music and travel. Visit for further details.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


If you have been paying attention to all the hype that is building around the new band  Skullduggery, set to take the stage in Carnival 2011, one thing seems obvious and that is this band has lots of people eagerly awaiting every little bit of information.

 Follow their Facebook Group and you swear the Minshallites have arisen from a slumber to leave the BBBF behind (thats bikini,beads, braids and feathers to you all!). 

Lots of promises have been made  that "something wicked" is coming your way from Skullduggery and I for one cannot wait to see it. I also want to see what this means for Mc Farlane; more than ONE band doing "real marse"? Competition, at last! 

Skullduggery has teasingly been releasing information on their sections via their Facebook Group, here are the two revealed so far. I am absolutely loving section number two is, they should have this blog as a definition under "Bacchanal Woman"!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Costume and Photography Copyright

There is a very interesting article in the New York Times online about a group of Mardi Gras Indians in New Orleans who are calling for copyright of their costumes (which look just as elaborate as traditional Indian Mas in Trinidad) and compensation when their photographs are used in advertisements.

NEW ORLEANS — Just after dusk on Friday night, Tyrone Yancy was strutting through one of the more uncertain parts of town in a $6,000 custom-made suit.

He was concerned about being robbed, but not by the neighborhood teenagers who trotted out in the street to join him. The real potential for theft, as Mr. Yancy sees it, came from the strangers darting around him and his well-appointed colleagues in a hectic orbit: photographers.

Mr. Yancy, 44, is a nursing assistant by profession. His calling, however, is as one of the Mardi Gras Indians — a member of the Yellow Pocahontas tribe, to be exact — the largely working-class black New Orleanians who create and wear ornate, enormous feathered costumes and come out three times a year to show them off.

He is also one of a number of Indians who have become fed up with seeing their photographs on calendars, posters and expensive prints, without getting anything in return.

Knowing that there are few legal protections for a person who is photographed in public — particularly one who stops and poses every few feet — some Mardi Gras Indians have begun filing for copyright protection for their suits, which account for thousands of dollars in glass beads, rhinestones, feathers and velvet, and hundreds of hours of late-night sewing.

It is interesting to note that there is currently no copyright claim on clothing as they are "functional, not aesthetic" , however lawyers for the Indians are arguing that the costumes are "sculptures" and thus they can be covered under copyright laws. Should elaborate costumes fall under the "non functional" banner and be copyrighted? And if the Indians are successful in this bid to have costumes copyrighted what does that mean for other Carnivals, like Trinidad? In that case, who owns the costume and what would that mean if a masquerader chooses to modify the costume after they collect it? Will be forced to wear the costume "as is" with no changes because it is copyrighted?

I find the topic very interesting because many of us are photographed on the road for Carnival ( be it in Trinidad, Barbados, St Lucia, New York or Miami ) in our costumes;  we pose for the photographers but do we ever stop to think where our image may actually end up ? What happens if your photograph appears on a flyer advertising a fete or event in another country? Or do you even care?

Should you have the ability to ask for your image not to be used, compensated for use of your image or does the photograph of you now become a possession of the photographer?

Not to mention some of these invitations feature professional pictures taken from Carnival Band websites:

Should the models and photographers in that case ask for their image not to be used in advertising, brochures or calenders? Who has copy right over that particular photo? Is it the model as she was paid to advertise the costume for a particular band or the photographer who took the photo of the model wearing the costume for the particular band or does the band own the photograph as the job was done to advertise their costumes?

The tricky part, I think, is determining who actually has the rights to use a photograph of you the masquerader for profit , not withstanding the cost incurred for your costume, and if you are not happy about it what recourse do you have? Thoughts?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Costume Trends 2011

Being the so called "non expert", "non designer" when it comes to mas I am going to have to fall back on my own trumped up sense of self importance, never mind my years of experience as a masquerader and knowing what I DO like in pretty bikini mas, to throw out some ideas and suggestions for Carnival 2011.

Stick to Theme
You would think the logical, common sense to costume design would be you design the costume around the bands' proposed theme right? Wrong! One can clearly see from 90% of the bands out there that the costume design comes first and THEN it is fit to the theme. So what ends up happening is that you have a generic costume that can fit any band, and costumes have switched places from one band to the next without even one change in a design element, which to me defeats the whole purpose of having a theme in the first place. Got to hand it to Island People here, Enchanted Forest LOOKED like an enchanted forest, Sahara, LOOKED like the desert, Animal Instinct LOOKED like actual animals and of course Kutchela stuck to the Indian theme .. they may have fallen a bit with Heaven on Earth but generally this is one band, bikini and beads that is, where you can expect to see the theme reflected in costume design. So, if your theme is Warriors for 2011, bet your bottom dollar I want to see WARRIOR costumes even for the men ( they are looking forward to swords for some reason!)

The Back Pack is Back
As I was over tails and collars for Carnival 2010 I am now calling for a rest on any super large Loulanesque  headpiece (expect to see this mimicked in all the Carnivals for the rest of the year!). I think the backpack should make a  huge return for Carnival 2011 . I also like the idea of merging both the back pack and headpiece to create the illusion of one large headpiece  for those who still want the big headpiece or a  backpack with a very small headpiece. Retire the large headpiece AND large backpack for 2011, I saw way too many frontliners in Mulberry having a horrid time having to juggle both.

Bling Has Faded
Bling is all blinged out! It looks great in prototypes to have all that sparkle, but when the actual thing is switched out for acrylic rhinestones NOT the same effect. Not to mention that the said same bling is responsible for many a snagged stocking and you have to use too much, and too much expense, of the bling to create any real effect. It is an expensive decorative item that does not give you much design for the money.Bring back some BEADING! I loved the beading on Threads of Morocco Bra.

Death By Appliqué
And while we are on the  topic of beading, the next design element I would really love to see die a quick death is that ONE huge appliqué stuck on a belt or bra.In fact appliqués are so OLD school; I am just looking for more creativity for 2011, more designers to do something a little different. Hey it is hard work having to design bikini mas no matter what the critics say! You try changing up a bra and belt every single year! However I have seen it done, look at Island People for instance, and I think there are a crop of new young designers such as Solange Shaw Gopaul, Sandra Hordatt and Crystal Amming who are thinking outside the bikini and beads box. More designers should follow their lead.

Use The Colour Wheel
I would really love to see designers use more than one or two colours (one being a metallic) in costumes.After a while it does get repetitive doing the same blue and gold/silver, red and gold/silver, green and gold/silver.. you get the point. And I do know mixing colours can be tricky, wrong combinations and it looks tacky, however it would be nice to see a costume with a mix of several colours instead of just ONE colour.

Let the Feathers Fly
Feathers would always be my weakness, however using feathers just for using feathers sake is also out. With some of the themes that bands are portraying for Carnival 2011 feathers just does not fit the theme. How about headpieces and back packs using structural elements (see Lady Gaga) as well as some alternate materials for feathers; again, think outside the box!

Mourn the Monokini
Ok, I loved the idea of the monokini when it first came on the scene because it offered an alternative to the standard bra and belt. But when you had a band doing every single section with a monokini you know it has become way, way too popular! I am all for a new designs for ladies who want sexy coverage, and I do like the corset idea (in some cases fits better than a monokini) but can we now add to the options costumes that work more like couture clothing? Here is an idea for example, exaggerated jewelry pieces worn as an actual costume element; something worn OVER the bra perhaps? What about pants? Sheer, nude, jeweled pants! If I give any more ideas I would have to start charging, but hopefully you can wrap your mind around the idea of a costume that is NOT just a bra with a belt.

To sum it up for Carnival 2011 I am expecting costumes that go beyond the formula of "catalogue costuming" that you can see that in any random Carnival outside of Trinidad and Tobago now;Bra and Belt from China and Headpiece from Juan Pablo in Miami.We are the pioneers and leaders in mas design, especially when it comes to BIKINI mas; Trinidad is admittedly pretty stellar in that department. So, time to give those other Carnivals something new to copy, you know, the ones that use TRINIDAD costumes to advertise their own local Carnival (I could never grasp the logic of that one) and give jaded masqueraders like me a REASON to play mas for Carnival 2011. I am waiting until I see actual costumes to decides who gets my money next year, if ANY!

Can band launching season hurry up and come! Bring on the costumes!

Ahead Of The Pack...

You would think that with Carnival 2011 being held  in March that the frenzy of a hectic band launch season would start later than the July band launchings we have become accustomed to over the past few years. Well, think again!

I have been reliably informed that TRIBE is way ahead of the game with most designers either finished with or finishing prototypes for what I was told would be a very early costume viewing/critique.Probably gives them more time to tweak and adjust a costumes head of the July band launch, as opposed to finishing actual costumes AFTER the launch, I am just saying!

And, the band all are looking forward to for "real marse" Skullduggery is already boasting that their prototypes are completed and they are looking for masqueraders interested in playing Section Leader, Individual or just being "extra special"; if you are check out their Facebook Page.

D Krewe, under the hand of a new production manager and designer, has long returned from a material hunt in New York for their Carnival 2011 presentation and I know for sure that Spice is soon to make that journey   now that they have a new theme! Interesting is that this year the design duo of Spice will NOT be on this little jaunt to source materials; I am not sure how your  star designers get left behind when looking for the actual materials to design the band...hmm, "new" designer perhaps or trouble in a Spicy paradise?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

As Seen At Cariwest Caribbean Carnival 2009..

Yes, I am late but I only NOW stumbled upon this ode to "Mystery of Loulan" spotted at the Cariwest Caribbean Carnival Festival, City of Edmonton, Alberta  held on August 8th 2009. Girlfriend was pretty quick on the draw, I only have to believe she whipped up this costume within two weeks after TRIBE launched on July 25th, 2009!

click to enlarge

Top marks for creativity and execution given the materials used, fail on the flip flops! More pics HERE and HERE.

The Real Mystery of Loulan


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"New" Designer for Carnival 2011?

While the term "new" is being used to describe this designer it  is actually a misnomer as said designer got their designing chops whet this year with a hugely popular costume in their band. The costume received rave reviews, even by me, as a first design attempt! I guess this was the boost of confidence needed as word reaching The Sauce is that this "designer" will be attempting to design ALL the sections of their band for 2011..........ok then!

While I always applaud new talent and I am eagerly looking forward to the 14 or so novel designs this designer comes up with I cannot help but wonder if said designer will be biting off more than they can chew. Granted their debut design was a hit, but not without the aid and influence of others who indelibly left their mark on that costume. Does this "designer" have what it takes to churn out not one but several designs of exceptional quality and creativity  with NO prior experience in  creating mas? Only time will tell. Anyone can be a designer these days I guess; oh the power of the internet and costume suppliers in New York.

Lets hope for Carnival 2011 that the end product actually lives up to the hype of the prototype!

Rio Carnival 2010

ScotiabankCaribana Rules and Regulations

As the TRIBE Toronto debate rages on, here are the official rules and regulations that govern the Scotiabank Caribana Parade of the Band, King and Queen Competition as well as Junior Carnival parade. In addition I also included the TMBA constitution.

Parade of the Band Rules 2009

King and Queen Rules 2009

Junior Carnival Rules and Regulations 2009

TMBA Constitution

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pirates of the Caribbean!

So, another website claiming to manufacture Carnival costumes but using STOLEN photos from this blog; Treasures of the Caribbean.. more like Pirates of the Caribbean!

Spice Sea Salt costume was made in Trinidad (saw them doing it with my own eyes) as well as the "model" is a blogger who sent in costume photos when she collected her costume last year! I cannot however vouch for the other costumes alleged to have been made by this website.

Check out the claims of Treasures of the Caribbean claims: is a costume design and production house. We Design and Manufacture the best quality of handmade Sequin and Beads Costumes. We produce over thousand costumes for the annual Trinidad and Tobago Carnival as well as for Carnivals around the world. We also designs and produces costumes for International shows, pageants etc. From simple designs to more elaborate costumes, We produce cutting edge designs and top quality costumes. is responsible for designing all aspects of the costumes and is backed by a qualified team of artists.

Thank you

Dress-n-Dance Team

Poll Time, Who else if not TRIBE?

Ok, this one is simple. 

If TRIBE was, hypothetically, not an option for Carnival 2011 (and yes I know not everyone plays in TRIBE anyway);

For TRIBE masqueraders: Which other band would you as a TRIBE masquerader support by playing with in 2011? 

For Non TRIBE Masqueraders: Which band would you encourage a TRIBE masquerader to support  by playing with in 2011?

Please feel free to leave a comment stating WHY this alternate  band would be a good choice in your opinion and if you think they can compete with or even rival the "hype", service, costumes and all inclusive experience that TRIBERS seem to believe can only exist in TRIBE?

*Please note if you choose "other" as an option in the poll you can write in the name of the band.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Blog On The Block

As some blogs died a natural death from lack of updates (goodbye Plus and Proud), check out this new blog on the block "The Nottinghill Carnival Griot".

Saturday, March 20, 2010

TMBA Responds

To whom it may concern
I did not want to get involved with all the comments on this blog, but I will try to clarify a few things.

Toronto Mas Bands Association (T.M.B.A) is comprised of all the bandleaders who participate in the annual Caribana parade (16) and associate members. Once the facts were divulged, a vote was taken by the membership and by majority vote, Tribe was denied entry into our parade. Upon the membership instruction, a letter was approved by the executive and forwarded to Tribe Trinidad.

The N.C.C and the N.C.B.A of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival have incorporated rules to protect their product.e.g. If you are not a national of T&T you cannot compete in the national calypso monarch competition ,likewise if you are not a national of T&T you cannot participate in the king and queen competition, likewise a non national cannot win road march competition. A steel band from outside T&T cannot participate in the annual panorama competition.

Furthermore the queen of the bands from Toronto Caribana 2007 was entered in the queen of the bands competition in Trinidad 2008 and placed second. due to protest from bandleaders ,a rule was put in place by the N.C.B.A denying any future entry from outside T&T.
Does that mean bandleaders from T&T are afraid of competition or protecting their product?

And why would I be afraid of competition when i grew up in Trinidad when mas was mas alongside one of the greatest bandleaders who introduced sections mas into Trinidad Carnival "Harold Sally Saldenah" (Father)

Since someone with no regards for the association integrity choose to release the letter and partial minutes of T.M.B.A meeting to the public,I suggest everyone re-read the contents very carefully without bias. The majority of the members has spoken.

SOCA and Associates BUS RIDE to DC for Carnival 2010

DATE: Friday June 25th to Sunday June 27th, 2010
DEPARTURE LOCATION: 87 Hamilton Street between Bowdoin Avenue and Columbia Road
PRICE: 295 per person (Double occupancy)
HOTEL: Marriott Courtyard, Silver Spring
DEPOSIT INFO: $100 downpayment DUE 4/1/2010 BALANCE due 6/4/2010
CONTACT: Margaret Black (SOCA) 617-265-3005 or Daryl Cox 617-512-6905

For further information not outlined here, please feel free to send an email to

Friday, March 19, 2010

Poison 1, Poison 2... TRIBE 1, TRIBE 2?

Many of you veteran mas players may remember the year that Poison decided to split the band in two; one faction went to the Savannah Stage while the other did not. Exactly how the idea for the split came about and how it was supposed to work in theory was faded into my memory until I stumbled upon this extract from the Poison website:
click to enlarge

Looking back at it in theory  that was a pretty novel idea by Poison and I am thinking a proposition like that MIGHT work today for TRIBE if they have no desire to create another new band or reduce numbers. Please note the estimated number of masqueraders in both Poison 1 and Poison 2!

So, question of the day is do you think a TRIBE 1 and TRIBE 2 following two different routes but with same costumes will work in today's Carnival? Logistically,  what can you forsee is needed for this plan to work and what would be the positives and/or negatives if TRIBE were to split the one band into two?

Leave your thoughts and opinions on a comment below!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Trinidad Carnival - Sunny Side Up

Greetings peeps, Kermit here welcoming you to Sunny Side Up 2010, one of Trinidad Carnival’s premiere breakfast fetes. I will admit that after last year’s fete, there was a feeling among my crew that SSU may have plateaued and it was proposed that in 2010 we make a turn to the Vale Fete to see what the scene was like over there. We made what we thought were concrete arrangements in November and when February reached and we realized that we had been given a “look-left-go-right” for the tickets we decided that we would do SSU one more time and boy were we glad that we did.

We arrived at around 4:30 am (our usual time) and after eating a solid breakfast (as usual) we filled our cups with strong drink and claimed our spot between the foam spout/foam cannon and the sprinklers (as usual) and as I stood in the cool Trinidad early morning sipping a cocktail and watching the crowd filter in, I experienced feelings of contentment with the 2010 carnival season as it had unfolded thus far. Despite the fact that I had only arrived 2 days ago, my carnival season, though short, had been very eventful as you have no doubt seen from my earlier commentaries. The partying had been excellent, the usual carnival Saturday beach lime was excellent, and here I was this morning hoping to repeat a usually excellent experience.By now you have no doubt noticed my frequent use of the word “usual”.

This by no means should be taken as a criticism due to the fact that since I very much like to enjoy carnival to the max, I only attend events where I would “usually” have a great time and SSU definitely fits that bill. At SSU you know what you are going to get year after year namely: great food, great drinks, great music, and most importantly of all great people; people who enjoy diving in the foam and washing off and cooling down in the sprinklers; people who may not look like your usual crowd but you don’t care because they definitely have the same goals, i.e. having plenty fun. This level of ease in a fete is very welcoming and it was quite a surprise when I noticed something highly un-usual taking place….. I was bouncing! “Bouncing?” you ask. “Bouncing!” I reply. “Since when is bouncing unusual in a fete?” you counter. “Since both my feet are squarely in contact with the floor yet my body is following the path of a smooth sine curve – up and down and up and down!”

Peeps, I exaggerate not! One minute I was standing still and getting my drink/gape on, and the next thing I knew, I was up and down like a see-saw. Since SSU takes place quite literally in a closed-off street, the organizers built platforms over the sidewalks in an attempt to protect the grass growing on the sidewalks from being destroyed. These platforms appeared to be a simple wooden frame covered with painted plywood and should one simply stand on it, it would act just like that, a platform. However, at the onset of group jumping, group wining, or group bouncing, the platform dynamic changes completely and it becomes more like a trampoline than a motionless floor and this trampoline effect’s influence is not limited to the area close to the aforementioned group action. Hell to the naw peeps, it becomes a Peter-pays-for-Paul scenario and is like all ah we name Paul because every man-jack was moving whether you intended to or not.

Now when I say moving, I don’t mean a slight hop, I mean a sizeable jump. I am not a small person and during a piece of particularly wild palancery I deliberately tried to simply stand on the platform and I found all 238 lbs of my froggish self airborne. These platforms extended for most of the length of the street and, from all appearances, were consistently springy everywhere. At first I was somewhat concerned that the plywood would break but then I thought that even if it did crack, there really wasn’t too far to fall and besides, it is not like people would be jumping like mad all morning as sooner or later they would get tired and the oscillations would subside. (Most of you should have chuckled at this last statement and immediately seen the folly of my thinking but for the 4% that didn’t, please allow me to explain.)

Trinidadians like wildness, wait, let me rephrase that, Trinidadians LOVE wildness. SSU was the first breakfast fete to introduce foam to the experience and when my fellow Trinis saw this, not only did they embrace this new diversion, they quite literally threw themselves in it. For the first years of foam, a lake usually formed under the foam machine and not only did people wine and prance under the foam stream and cover themselves from head to toe in it, they lay down on the ground and immersed themselves completely in it. This of course resulted in several accidental mashings and as a result, in subsequent years the foam volume and density was adjusted to protect the more exuberant of the wildness-partakers. After witnessing (and documenting) this, why in the world would I think that temperance would be exercised when faced with this new and exciting amusement?

True to form, once the masses discovered that this springy and seemingly miraculously bendy surface existed, they set upon it with a vigor that belied the earliness of the hour and as the sun rose, its golden rays shone down on a fete that had a solid mass of people wining in the middle of the road bracketed on either side by two columns of bouncing, flailing, palancing, foot-in-the-air, holding-on-for-dear-life-to-a-tree people doing their best to test the limits of the platform’s elasticity. It was truly a sight to see and try as I might to capture the moment on film, the images I recorded were woefully inadequate representations of the fluidity and elegance I beheld. To see a Trini pelting waist during carnival is a wonderful sight and is of itself a study in grace and athleticism, but to combine this sinuous activity with a constantly undulating floor elevates the act to an art form. If you were there to witness it, you know what I mean and if you weren’t, well, I guess is a hard luck eh!

The live entertainment served only to increase the considerable momentum which had been built up by the DJs over the course of the morning and when JW and Blaze, the Palance Factory themselves took to the stage, a friend commented that he was sure the platform would soon be nothing but a pile of matchsticks. “Nah man,” I told him, “a few years ago there was a fete at the DC Convention Center for DC’s Carnival where the floor was behaving similarly and we later learned that it had been engineered to do just that so I am not worrying at all. Floors can be bendy and not break.” “True that,” he responded “but I am sure that SSU ent pay nobody no engineer money to make this floor so. If there is to be a crick-crack, I doh want to be de monkey breaking mih back so I will stand at the edge.” Hmmm. Point. Good point!

As a matter of fact, damn good pointy-point-point! Better to be safe than sorry so in the palancepocalypse that ensued, we participated from the relative safety of the palanceparticipants in de road and kept an eye out for palanceplatformmashupdrama on de side which thankfully never palancematerialized. (Ok, I admit that was really too many palance attachments. I done now.)

The rest of the fete flew by as is usually the case when one is having fun and before we knew it, the sun was blazing hot and high in the sky and the masses were filing out and not heading to their cars, but rather to Mohammed’s Café about a block south of the fete. Here is where the after party had kicked off and despite the fact that some of these people had been partying since 4:00 a.m. that morning and it was now around noon, they were still active and full of energy. I on the other hand usually knew when to say when and now was that time so I made my way home to rest and gather my strength for J’Ouvert.

This year’s SSU exceeded my expectations and despite reservations based on the 2009 iteration, I was extremely happy that I attended in 2010 and I am definitely looking forward to 2011.
Enjoy the pics peeps, J’Ouvert with Cocoa Devils is next.

Machel Montano Speaks !

Check out the first in a four part interview with Machel Montano conducted by Walshy Fire from Black Chiney Sound and 103.5 the Beat in Miami:

You can hear the entire interview on Sunday, March 21st from 6-8pm E by tuning in to the website

Look out for the Walshy Fire's soca cd Socal 4 : The Socavivor hosted by Mr. Montano himself to drop next week and you can follow Walshy Fire on, and for more info.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The TRIBE Toronto Saga Continues

After the letter sent in January was released to me a flood of new information has come to light including minutes of a most recent meeting held by the TMBA on March 13, 2010. During the numerous discussions and points that were raised in said meeting two things stood out for me ; 1.) No one could cite or legally prove exactly which rule TRIBE Toronto has broken and 2.) The major issue is the fact that Andre De Freitas has been accused of lying about the role TRIBE Trinidad will play in TRIBE Toronto as well as the fact that the publicity surrounding TRIBE Trinidad's involvement was premature (articles posted in the Trinidad Newsday Newspaper was discussed):

‘Tribe Toronto’ Agenda Item from
C) Business Arising:

In Attendance:


· Clarence Forde (CS) asked Louis Saldenah (LS) who actually signed the letter in question
· LS said it was signed by Nip’s wife on behalf of Nip simply as acceptance and not approval for the content
· LS said the name change was not discussed by the Executive prior to the Jan 23 meeting (or to date in fact)
· LS said they will
· CF asked of the letter will be dealt with by the Executive
· LS wanted clarification on some issues first (recommendation)
· Bryce asked if the claim by Andre De Freitas (ADF) was factual
· LS said the signature was only for the acceptance of the letter, not for the approval of the request
· ADF said it was given to ‘Council
· CF and Bryce wanted to know who ‘Council’ was?
· LS needed to confirm the receipt of the Jan 11th letter and what the status of the new body was
· LS said that by the time the letter was received, Tribe Toronto was already operating – not clear of Newsday article was out then
· Ken De Freitas (KDF) asked that LS get his dates straight. Said ADF was accused of forgery…(although KDF was not present at the last meeting)
· LS clarified what he saw on the document
· A lively ‘debate’ ensued
· Again, it was noted that Nip’s wife, Colleen signed on Nip’s behalf that the document had been received.
· LS denies accusing ADF of forgery – it was an issue of getting to the root of what ADF was claiming as he presented a few different versions of the document status and what was signed by whom
· Garvin reviews to KDF what the discussion was at the last meeting and why ADF’s integrity is being called to question. He also explained why the membership has reacted the way it has, based on the events and presentation by ADF at that meeting. Reiterated that Andre was not accused of forgery, just mis-representation
· Bryce wanted to know what was to be done about the fact that ADF first said the Executive signed the document, then said Nip did, then admitted it was actually Colleen receiving the document….and was it an email thread or an actual letter?
· Lively debate again…no answer to the question
· Calvin asked if there is a problem with ADF changing the name?
· LS clarified that the whole issue is about the presence of Tribe Toronto as a possible offspring of Tribe Trinidad. Louis read from the Newsday article announcing tribe’s plans to enter the Toronto Caribana festival. States that many bands have similar names as TT bands (D.Midas, Callalloo, etc) but operate autonomously (no controlling involvement from Trinidad bands)
· LS notes that if a large mas comes from Trinidad, it is allowed to perform as a guest and is not part of the judging – that should apply to all mas (section and otherwise) coming from TT
· LS said, we must protect our brand, the festival and the local culture we are publically funded for
· LS reminds the membership that the Tribe website still notes Tribe Trinidad as an operating body in Tribe Toronto. What if ADF and Tribe Trinidad have a falling out? Will that allow Tribe Trinidad to have complete control? ADF has never produced a contract, and said he did not have one at the last meeting.
· Mervyn Skeete (MS) states that he has a problem with this happening and funding 3 levels of government is now at risk. We have rules for large mas, does this not also apply to section mas? Will ADF personally give MS all monies he will lose should the funding be pulled back due to this issue? We must protect the integrity of our operations and source of funds
· KDF claims it is all hearsay and rumours. Is it any different from the bands buying body suits from India
· Needless to say a really lively debate ensued…
· CF mentioned that a Union contact mentioned to him that Mijhevic told this contact that he was aware of the Tribe situation…urged caution at how we approach as it is a public debate now. Funding will be pulled if we are not smart and diligent
· (Editor’s note: I have seen multiple Blogs detailing what is being discussed in our meetings with the source being ‘a bandleader’. Gents, what happens in the meeting stays in the meeting…keep your mouths closed to the public…it is damaging all of us
· LS agreed, he had heard the same thing
· LS detailed a letter from Eddison Doyle indicating that the FMC distributes monies for ‘local operations’ only
· Dexter S (DS) said, no respect to ADF or KDF, but they took the wrong approach and lied. ADF also disrespected all the bandleaders with his comments and attitude. Also wanted to know why the Toronto-Lime ads are still running of the band name has not been approved and they are still associated with Tribe TT
· Dexter S (DS) said, no respect to ADF or KDF, but they took the wrong approach and lied. ADF also disrespected all the bandleaders with his comments and attitude. Also wanted to know why the Toronto-Lime ads are still running of the band name has not been approved and they are still associated with Tribe TT
· Thea (new band) noted that ADF claimed in the January meeting that Tribe TT will have 3 sections in his band, then ADF retracted the claim – so what is the truth?
· KDF denies it
· General debate about it…nothing of relevance to note
· LS to KDF, members do not have a problem with the Tribe name, it is the alliance with the Tribe TT – it would be no different than allowing MacFarlane or Legacy to come with a band and receive Canadian funding to be a band in Canada
· LS sent a letter (signed by 3 out of 5 of the Executive) to Dean in Trinidad and it has not been replied to
· KDF claims Dean thinks it is not to be taken serious and scoffed at it
· ADF was not aware of the letter and wanted to know why he was not asked to sign it…
· LS told him he only needed 3 of the Executive to sign it
· Garvin notes that there is a process for changing a band’s name and for participation. The announcement of Tribe Toronto, prior to approval breaches that process. Reminds membership that Andre was ready to call a lawyer in the last meeting…
· ADF asks, what is the process for changing a band’s name? Show me?
· LS said he felt ADF did not understand the processes and the way to conduct himself as a bandleader
· Bryce wants the truth. Is Tribe TT an operating partner in Tribe Toronto? Says ADF has presented so many conflicting stories that he does not know what to believe. Feels ADF tried to misrepresent the document he said was approved
· ADF disagrees
· Bryce feels the membership has been deceived and nothing is being clarified
Calvin has a few issues…He has no confidence in ADF. His minutes from the Jan meeting had large gaps in them, even though he brought someone along to type them for him, especially the discussions around Tribe’s issues. No indication of what motions were passed or by whom. Feels ADF is putting the funding in jeopardy. What will be done? Feels Tribe should not come to Toronto
· KDF says none of that is true…more ranting
· Calvin says, we must come to a decision…ASAP
· GAIL S asks, will ADF put out a press release disassociating himself with Tribe TT? Are they willing to do that?
· ADF did not answer
· LS states that in the Executive meeting, ADF said he cannot do that
· LS indicates that ‘perception' is powerful. Websites all validate the association
· LS asks if we need to restrict the number of name changes a band can go through as the Evolution/Allspice/Tribe changes speak to disorganization and poor band management
· Bryce notes that the websites are all still the same as they were – nothing was done or has changed. ADF plans to do nothing
· GAIL S asks, will ADF put out a press release?
· ADF asks if that will satisfy the membership?
· LS says the horse is out of the barn now…
· Bryce states that there is an issue of trust now…
· ADF asks if he needs to provide a letter from Tribe TT?
· Whitney Douldron (WD) says, Press Release or letter, each would need to be validated
· GAIL S asked ADF if he is willing to state the name change and publically disassociate himself from Tribe TT
· ADF said he will state the name change but avoided the question about the disassociation
· LS states that the issue at odds is the funding risk. Reminded ADF that he promised to remove his name from the web sites…and has not
· Garvin – it is still there
· ADF claims it is gone
· (Editors note: It takes about 72 hours for a change on the internet to propagate and appear as content is cached in browsers)
· MS says he is troubled by the misrepresentation from ADF as ADF is in a position of trust on the Executive
· ADF says he will resign his position
· Dario (new band) states that if this was an operating business/corporation, this kind of behavior (bringing risk to revenue sources) would be met with swift discipline. This issue has carried on for a long time and must be addressed quickly. This is not about a name change.
· KDF – it is just a name change
· Lively discussion
· Thea (new band) asks how do you pass a motion to remove a band?
· CF states that there no way to ‘vote out’ a band. As per the constitution. A disciplinary committee will review a band’s behavior and make a recommendation to the Executive, who then present it to the membership to vote upon.
· CF also mentions that an integrity of an individual can be put to the floor by any member
· Bryce asks if trying to pass off a fake document a breach?
· Calvin asks, what if the Executive turns down a name change request?
· Mervyn reiterates the process
· Bryce asks what was decided in the Executive meeting about the name change (see earlier note that the meeting has not happened)
· General question – did Andre resign?
· Calvin – a comment made in the heat of the moment is not a resignation
There is much more in the way of minutes from the meeting ,but based on the excerpt posted above I am sure you get the "gist" of what happened .It is also interesting to note that TRIBE Toronto was not placed to enter as a new band, but from the minutes the NAME was changed from a band that already exists; how this affects the rules that were allegedly broken is I suppose a matter for the TMBA to decide on but clearly there was no set precedent on how to handle that issue.

As for the inclusion of information being leaked to the blogs, well too late for that! Someone REALLY wants the public to know what is happening regarding the TRIBE Toronto issue and no, the information is not being leaked from TRIBE's side. The decisions being made are not supported by ALL band leaders in Toronto, some do feel as if it is a "witch hunt":

Coming from that meeting is now an ultimatum for TRIBE Toronto and as one blogger commented on Monday, it is now a game of chess! What will be the next move?


After consultation with Legal Counsel, on the TRIBE situation.

Discipline should be meted out according to
a) The severity of the infraction
b) The consequences of the infraction to the whole group (TMBA)
c) The consequences to each Band/Bandleader

a) If the person is willing to acknowledge that, he did make a mistake.
b) If the person is willing to take the necessary steps, as asked by the members to make
corrections, in the media.
c) If the person is willing to completely disassociate from the Trinidad group.

This merits the lesser form of discipline

A) If the person is still stating that he did not know how his name became involved.
B) If the person does not want to make corrections as asked
C) If the person is arrogant about the whole affair
D) If members of their group make THREATS, (all you have to go through me)
or behaves in a manner to bring discredit to the TMBA.

This merits a more severe discipline.

There are only TWO forms of Discipline for this situation, they should be accorded,
(C division) or the more severe penalty of being

If one of these penalties is not done, this will show that the TMBA as a group cannot control their members and will leave the door WIDE OPEN for any other Band to do the same thing in the future.

When one of these penalties is handed down, this does not MAKE THE WAY OPEN FOR ANY OTHER BAND TO ADVANCE TO A HIGHER DIVISION, all other Bands will stay in their allotted positions.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Spice Experience


I started playing mas when I was 3. I have played consistently since then and have jumped with many bands- Harts, Barbarosa, Minshall, Mavericks, Poison, Berkley, Skandal-Us and this year, Spice. This was my first year playing with an all- inclusive band. My education roots make me extremely skeptical of the hyperbole used by bands touting their “ultimate,” “ultra,” “one-of- a- kind” road experience. This elusive experience that the bandleaders tout and the masqueraders seek is possible when mas is played in Utopia, not Trinidad. After three decades of playing mas, the only person who can deliver this “ultimate” experience is…MOI! After all, I pay for this!
Playing mas is the objective of Monday and Tuesday. As a masquerader, I want a costume that I love, food and drink (if all-inclusive), good music, and good vibes in the band. Spice delivered on all four. So, what made my experience so sweet when others are so sour?

Numerous masqueraders complained about the drink trucks being AWOL and the long wait to cross the stage. Since mas has been “on de road,” the trucks have always turned off at Memorial Park. On Monday and Tuesday, I grabbed a few waters and beers to keep me hydrated since I knew I wouldn’t see the trucks until after I palanced across the stage. As far as the long wait, this is not new or specific to any one band. The bands are actually crossing the stage at the savannah faster than when there was the big stage. Don’t these people remember the days of Poison when you watched the band start to cross the stage, ran out to get some Royal Castle, came home, and Poison was still crossing de stage?

After palancing across the stage, numerous Spicers made like lemmings and stormed the first bar truck they saw. Upon seeing the madness, I chipped ahead to the front bars and easily got some more drinks. I thought to myself-don’t those people know that there are 2 express bars and another full bar in this band? Apparently not. My question was answered when the lemmings on Monday were joined by even more lemmings on Tuesday.

When the line-up was revealed, my beloved section, Thailand, was second to last! Now, I am a front-of-the-band kind of girl. I am too much of a control freak to be wining to oblivion in the back of the band. I was not going to let Thailand’s placement deter me. After crossing the stage and grabbing my drinks, I made my way to the front of the band because I figured we headed to the rest stop, QRC. The control freak wanted to assess the situation. Because my partner–in-crime and I were among the first few to enter the grounds, we readily secured chairs, had clean port-o-potties, and small lines for the food. We got drinks out of the bins placed around the grounds, sat in the shade and dug into lunch. Did I expect a gourmet meal? No! The caterers are cooking for 1500+ people off-site. (I have had to stomach worse school lunches that are prepared on-site.)

Knowing that a band is always bigger on Tuesday, I again made sure to make my way to the front of the band, grab drinks and head to QRC. Once again, no problems.

Security was on point Monday and Tuesday. Many people grumble about the situation on Aripita Ave; however, this by no means is the fault of the bands. The NCC is the one who needs to address the crowd control situation. Spice security did their best to deal with the narrowing space from the burgeoning crowd.

The music was also on point. I don’t stick up next to one music truck during the day. I didn’t hear any techno, but if I did I would have just moved on or hung back for another music truck. I didn’t mind the mix of ole time soca because I really didn’t need to hear ‘Thiefin’” for the five thousand-six hundred -and -eighty- sixth time.

As far as the bar running out of specific liquors, yes this is true. Did it bother me? Hell, no. On Tuesday afternoon, I sauntered up to one of the bars and asked for my customary rum and coke only to be told that they were out of rum. I didn’t stomp my way over to the next bar, I just asked for two vodka and cranberries instead. I don’t limit myself to just one drink on the road. I like my alcohol too, too much. If some one asks me if I’m drinking Carib, Stag, Guiness, Hennessy, 1919, or Johnny, I tell them all of the above. You pouring? I’m drinking. The bar girl was pouring vodka, so I was drinking vodka.

After having a blast with my fellow Spicers on Tuesday, I realized it was 5:30, the sun would be setting and the band was headed downtown to cross the stage. Despite the fabulous time we were having we decided it was time to say good-bye to Spice. Why?

  • Unescorted women in bikini and beads need to get their a*% out of downtown before the sun sets.
  • We were moving farther away from transportation and we had to get either a route or private taxi.
  • The band left from Park and Charlotte and even if the band ended there, I still didn’t want to be in that area after dark on Carnival Tuesday. I don’t expect a personal escort from Spice or any other band I have played with.

A serious masquerader always takes responsibility for their enjoyment and safety on the road. I know that bandleaders have expectations to meet, but I have worked too hard for my money to have a bad time at Carnival. I need to take control of the situation and squeeze out every last cent of my hard earned money. I have never placed my carnival experience into the hands of the bandleaders whether it was Edmund, Wayne, Peter, or Anya. Have costume? Will jump!

My experience with Spice was that of an old married couple. On Saturday, we had a horrible fight at the Hilton, but great make-up sex on Monday and Tuesday!

Bachanal Mas Launches Traditions

click the flyer for details

Monday, March 15, 2010

The "Truth" Of TRIBE Toronto !!

Well here I was minding my business this afternoon, when in my inbox drops the following letter. After consulting my lawyer (yes I have legal counsel!) I was informed of the right that I have to publish the following letter:

"Please note that the content of this letter is deemed confidential between TRIBE Trinidad and the TMBA".- Dear Saucy,You cannot make someone hold a letter in confidence unless you have a signed confidentiality agreement between the two. Truth is a defense to libel and slander.If a journalist gets a leaked copy of "the truth" how will  they sue TRIBE for someone getting a hold of "the truth"?'.

I find it quite telling WHO is the TMBA President...afraid of competition now? And does this letter does not reek of bullying and intimidation? If I were a certain band I would be the one looking for legal counsel! Anyway, you read and be the judge. Long live "the truth"!
January 26, 2010

Toronto Mas Band Association

242 Braymore Blvd.

Scarborough, ON

M1K 2G8

Attention Dean Ackin &TRIBE

Re: TRIBE/TRIBE Toronto’s participation in Caribana 2010

We, the Toronto Mas Band Association (TMBA), the sole governing association for Mas bands in Toronto’s annual Caribana festival, are writing you, TRIBE (and your Toronto affiliate, TRIBE Toronto), to officially notify you that your participation in said festival under either band name or operating structure (i.e. TRIBE and/or TRIBE Toronto) has officially been denied with immediate effect.

First, let it be clearly known that the TMBA and FMC (Festival Management Committee), who jointly oversee a 40 year old festival that is world-renowned and has been clearly recognized as the largest festival in North America, annually attracting over 1 million attendees and generating in excess of $350 million (CDA) in revenue, are flattered that one of the biggest and most popular bands in the world has shown interest in participating in our festival. Also, let it be clearly stated that the aforementioned decision to “deny participation” was taken not from a “vindictive” or “malicious” perspective, but rather due to the failings of TRIBE Toronto to meet and adhere to clearly defined rules & regulations set forth by both organizations.

Whether such indiscretions are due to TRIBE’s lack of due diligence in properly assessing this venture or due to any misleading information from TRIBE Toronto’s management team, the fact is that there are clear, multiple and more importantly, extremely alarming breaches of both organizations’ (i.e. TMBA’s & FMC’s) rules & regulations. As such, this body was left with no alternative but to rule accordingly.

Second, as mentioned above, said decision is based solely on the overall lack of respect for and adherence to Caribana’s rules & regulations (as defined by both the TMBA and FMC). As our goal is to be as transparent an organization as possible, below is a shortlist of some of the major infringements perpetrated:

Effecting a Registered Band name change – for a registered member of the TMBA to effect a change in name (from the one officially registered with the association) for operating/advertising/ promotions purposes, this can only be accomplished by providing timely written notification to the TMBA and upon consideration/approval of the TMBA’s executive committee. In this particular case, neither was there any “official” letter communicated by Ken/Andre De Freitas (which on record is the official name of said band) to the TMBA, nor did any meeting of the executives take place to first discuss said name-change application and furthermore even approve it. As such the joint promotional efforts of TRIBE, TRIBE Toronto and Ken/Andre De Freitas that “TRIBE is coming to Toronto” are completely premature, misleading to the public, and in absolute violation of TMBA rules &a regs.

Government Funding – Caribana is a Canadian festival that is recognized and more importantly funded by 3 levels of government in Canada (i.e. the Government of Canada, Province of Ontario and City of Toronto). Money is provided to the FMC and TMBA by these levels of government to run the festival and assist bands in offsetting costs. One of the keys aspects of accepting this funding is the presumption by these government arms that they are funding 100% Canadian entities with no “business arrangements/affiliations/agreements” with non-Canadian organizations. If found in violation of this fundamental stipulation, not only will the band in question be deemed to be potentially perpetrating “fraud” against these various government funding arms as well as the FMC, but it will also make the TMBA accessories to the fact and jeopardize the integrity of the festival and the association as a whole. In this instance, the openly stated and well-documented/advertised link and business relationship between TRIBE (from Trinidad & Tobago) and its franchised TRIBE Toronto (as seen on respective websites, press releases, social websites, logos, emails, listing of management team which includes TRIBE’s owner ‘Dean Ackin’, etc... just to name a few) means that this is once again in complete violation of both TMBA and FMC funding rules. In questioning Andre De Freitas during our January 23rd meeting, he was unable to convince the executive of the TMBA and its membership that TRIBE Toronto has “no affiliations to or business relationship with TRIBE (Trinidad)”. As a means of self-preservation and protecting the interests of the group as a whole, the TMBA has no other choice than to “deny participation” of said group.

Overall conduct of TRIBE Toronto: Participation in an event such as Caribana should never be taken for granted, no matter how big, successful or popular a band may be. Furthermore, carrying an air of arrogance and trying to blatantly deceive the membership and organizations that run the festival is unacceptable. What TRIBE Toronto has clearly demonstrated from the beginning is:

Lack of respect towards the festival - by trying to impose itself in a festival through circumventing basic rules and regulations, prematurely promoting a “non-existent/unregistered” band and thus misleading the public in Toronto, Canada, Trinidad & Tobago and the World, TRIBE/TRIBE Toronto has demonstrated a lack of respect to all the stakeholders of this festival. TRIBE/TRIBE Toronto has now placed itself and the festival in a precarious position and in many ways adversely impacted upon the mainly positive image the festival has worked extremely diligently on improving and portraying over the past few years.

Inappropriate conduct of TRIBE Toronto towards other bands - furthermore according to the TMBA rules and regs, no band can issue public threats to other bands on matters discussed in confidential association meetings. The message sent out via FaceBook on January 19th by Andre De Freitas (see screen below), the head of TRIBE Toronto and thus an official affiliate and representative of TRIBE (as listed on TRIBE’s own website) is not only clearly a threat to all official and registered TMBA members, but is also extremely inflammatory which if followed through on could eventually lead to libel and/or slander, and consequent legal action.

Blatantly trying to deceive the Executive Committee and its membership – in the aforementioned January 23rd TMBA meeting, Andre De Freitas was caught in a series of lies towards the TMBA and its membership stemming from the attempted “change of name” process of his band from “Ken & Andre De Freitas” to “TRIBE Toronto” and in also clarifying his business relationship with TRIBE. On the former matter (i.e. “change of name”), he lied to all present regarding his attempted name change and then proceeded to try and pass off a fraudulent document to the TMBA and its membership. On the latter matter (i.e. “business relationship”), Andre De Freitas stated: :

He has no official link in any capacity with TRIBE Trinidad...
He alone owns the brand TRIBE Toronto...
He can use any logo, including the jointly promoted “TRIBE Toronto” logo at any time and in any fashion as he owns that logo and the rights to use it in any form...
He and his father have full control of TRIBE Toronto, from designing all costumes to all other matters...
He told TRIBE Trinidad to remove TRIBE Toronto’s logo from their website because they have no right to use his logo as there is no link...
He has no member of TRIBE Trinidad on TRIBE Toronto’s committee/ management team...

These overtly false statements were immediately discredited by the TMBA due to previous communications by TRIBE Trinidad (e.g. website, press releases, etc...) and by TRIBE Toronto itself in its own messaging and listed management team etc... These appalling and farcical attempts to deceive the TMBA and its membership, and conversely the FMC and the various levels of Canadian government, as well as the general public have not only been to the detriment of the TRIBE Toronto brand name, but also knowingly or unknowingly associates and implicates you, TRIBE Trinidad (the brand owners), as willing participants in this deceit and web of lies.

After considering all matters at hand and events over the past couple of weeks, the TMBA has been left with very few options than to exercise its authority and “deny TRIBE/TRIBE Toronto participation in Caribana”. As a result, the TMBA would advise TRIBE/TRIBE Toronto to immediately “cease and/or refrain” from advertising that they are “coming to Caribana 2010”, remove all erroneous elements of this venture (including FaceBook pages, websites, printed materials, etc...) and release a public retraction indicating such.

Please note that the content of this letter is deemed confidential between TRIBE Trinidad and the TMBA. Should this letter or any part thereof be publicly used to attempt to discredit or slander the TMBA in any way shape or form, the TMBA would be required to seek advice with a view to pursue legal action against TRIBE and its franchise TRIBE Toronto. We anticipate that good business sense will prevail in said matter and all parties can carry on operating in an amicable and professional fashion.

For additional information I can be contacted at the following: and c. 416.560.4419


Louis Saldenah

TMBA President

The Carnival Rumour Mill!

I have been reliably informed that the breakaway band from Island People Mas will definitely be looking to venture into Carnival 2011. The persons involved in this new band have severed their affiliations with the formerly mentioned Island People and are currently looking for the hottest designers out there as they did not hold a "designer" position in Island People.Names like "Sandra", "Crystal" and "Ruana" are being whispered about as potential designers for said new band. I am liking the idea of using the young, forward thinking designers and this person certainly has the cash to fund a new band... but we all know money and costumes are only part of what makes a new band successful. Hopefully they learn from predecessors mistakes as I am quite interested to see how this new band fares and whose crowd they will pull.

In other Carnival news outside of Trinidad and Tobago, for those who were wondering looks like TRIBE Toronto is still in the works. Sources say they are scouting for designers and designs;however , the standard is pretty high. Looks like TRIBE Toronto wants to give you Trinidad quality costumes! You can check out the website as well.

And finally, one band for New York's Labor Day will be getting a touch from the dynamic duo (so much for taking the year off!) as I hear they will be doing the sexy designs for Ramajay Mas! Looking out for that one as well.

Skullduggery... Trinidad and Tobago Carnival 2011

Skullduggery Mas.... "The Dance of Deceit".... Carnival 2011

Rumour is that this band is a collaboration between the two Peters, one being Peter Samuel... Peter Minshall fans are salivating at the thought that HE is the other Peter involved. However, I am more inclined to believe that this band will be comprised of individuals who consider themselves "children of The Mas Man" looking to pay tribute to Peter Minshall by doing what other critics of bikini mas have failed to do. Simply, if you do not like the direction the mas today is taking bring your own band to showcase the creativity you think is lacking!

I am really looking forward to seeing what Skullduggery brings!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Band Alert 2011

Keep your eyes open for this one folks! I have been informed of a new MEDIUM sized band which will be making it's debut for Carnival 2011 and it is called GEMS.

No word on what theme is of this new band, but further details will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Now, lets see how many new bands come on the scene for Carnival 2011..I am guessing the recession is over?!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mas Jumbies Jouvert 2010 Review (3)

I decided to play with Brian Wong Won’s band Mas Jumbies after seeing pics of the 2010 presentation on Trinidad Carnival diary. I have been playing Jouvert for about 17 years now. My last band was Yellow Devils, so I am a new convert to the world of mas jumbies. The presentation was called L’echo and dealt with mas from the past, how interesting and refreshing from the typical t—shirt. I was anxious to try something fresh and different.

They have one of the slickest websites of any Jouvert band that I can remember. Very easy to navigate with lots of info and I really liked the historical stories attached to each costume. They offer online registration and that was a breeze, by the close of the day, I got an e-mail confirmation and costume receipt from Annette; so far so good with this aspect. We played in a section called Congo .

Costume Collection
We arrived in Trinidad a few days after the collection period, but the costume receipt said to call Lisa with regards to that. So I did, we were staying outside of POS and was trying to get directions from Lisa, when in one breath she asked where we were and told us not to worry, she will deliver by 5pm. I never had that offer in ANY band and for FREE! By 3pm, the 5 costumes were delivered by Lisa and I was so grateful for this. The costumes came packed very nicely in tissue paper in a medium size white canvas bag with black handels with the L’echo logo printed on it. WOW for presentation! Inside there was the wrist band, a package of Andrews and a Route map with a full color tourism map of T&T. Never got that in any band either! With the route marked out, we were then able to see it on the color map. The costume consisted of a straw hat, 2 necklaces, orange waits band, white cotton shorts with the logo printed on and a white vest. And that only cost US$57; value for the money if you ask me. Perfect! Excited already!

Jouvert Morning
Got there at 3.45am and saw a large group of masqueraders, but no music truck, I now began to get a bit worried. I learnt later that all music trucks were being searched by the Police in St. James and this is where their trucks were coming from. In the meantime one of the band management put on his radio in his car and that sufficed, especially now that they began serving hops & ham (imported ham, I must add), salt fish buljol and bake with hot spiked Irish Coffee. It was all very good. We also had the opportunity to apply the white body paint. Within 10 min, we were asked to take a short walk to Phillips Street , as the Police would not allow the truck into the Victoria Sq area. A very short walk it was less than 5 min and there was our 40ft music truck parked with music playing. We were off in less than 10 min and the vibes were awesome, there was a family spirit that permeated this band, like a group of family and close friends at a reunion. I loved it! We were made very much welcomed. At this time the Drinks truck was not with as us it too was caught in the St. James melee, but that was ok as the hot coffee and generous sandwiches satisfied. The music was excellent!

By the time we reached Richmond Street , the drinks truck found us and we were on for the South Quay stage! The beer was cold like ice and drinks flowed abundantly. I was such in a hipped up spirit now with the awesome vibes and music, the customer service only sweetened the mix. I was ready for the stage! The stage is something that I never experienced for Jouvert, so this was a first as was going downtown. But I and my little crew felt safe and there was a certain comradely in the band too that I have never really experienced in other bands. Everyone was friendly and smiled, a very happy band we were.

The costumes looked awesome compared to the typical Jouvert band and the price was cheaper than those other bands and with more content. The section Danse looked awesome and there were 3 “frontline” ladies with full skirts that just looked spectacular! Danse was in hot pink, white and a dark yellow, I think they were the largest section in the band. Our section Congo also looked good in our supplied white paint and silver glitter. They were also 4 Piebanas (think that is the name) that were at the front, they also looked spectacular; and were different from the rest of the band as they had full facemasks in black, their long cloth strips just billowed in the wind. This band was FUNNNN! And looked awesome on the road.

As we got to the stage the Ausie DJ came on and we palanced in STYLE on South Quay! As mentioned before they were 3 Australian girls that were a joy to watch, as “dem could wine”! Lord Father! They wine on everything that they saw, and keep up that momentum till we ended at around 9am. Most of the band seems to be foreigners and Trinis living abroad (myself included) as well as locals with a broad cross section of races and professions; in essence a microcosm of T&T. By the time we reached Broadway, I was drained, but the Drinks Truck was right there with a cold beer and a salt-fish buljol sandwich. Next step as it seems would be The Greens…DE WHA? Yes child we going behind De Bridge. I had strong reservations on going there, but you know the vibe, music and customer service was so stellar that I said I would “chance” it. What a wuss I was, as going there was one of the best experiences of my life. None of that negative ness was there, the people there were great and very nice, as we had some stormers who joined the band. By passing there, this band took on a certain spirit and it was like the residents were appreciative for us coming there in a band that was inspired from this same area. Our band felt quite at home and was treated as such. WOW! The vibes were especially high and all negative reservations were palanced out as we crossed the stage behind the bridge. Of special note were the 3 Ausie girls and the guy who managed the paint cart, at one time he chased down a group of Chinese construction workers as they watched. That was hilarious as they scattered like ants from the white paint he had in his hand. Ah tell de band was fun.

We continued to Charlotte Street and even crossed the Savannah stage, ending around Stanmore Ave around 9ish. NO ONE wanted to go home, it was that GOOD. I could have played with them the whole day!

I must send a special thanks to Brian and the Mas Jumbie Management team for providing the best Jouvert I ever had and for carrying me back to carnival’s roots behind the bridge. It was both a magical and spiritual experience from Phillips Street to Stanmore Avenue . You will definitely see me in 2011 for another life changing and inspiring Jouvert experience.

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