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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Let The Band Launch Season Begin!

This Sunday kicks of the start of Band Launch season in Trinidad and I cannot tell you how ready I am to see costumes! Trinidad Carnival Diary will be at Skullduggery's launch, which from what I have heard promises to be a thematic affair, I am looking for my "cosquelle" outfit to fit the atmosphere!

Anyway, as usual your tips (with amendments) on what to expect at a band launch, Band Launch 101 revised: 

1. Carnival Bands in Trinidad launch the following year’s presentation usually between July and November. . This year band launching “season”,  starts on Sunday July 4th with Skullduggery's launch. There is a static band launch calender on the blog, keep checking for updates to the date, time and location of your band's launch if not already listed/confirmed.

2. Tickets for the band launch are usually pre-sold at the mas camp, some other designated venue or through committee members. The normal procedure is the band contacts masqueraders who have played with the band before via email or telephone with information on when and where the launch will take place. After that everyone, masqueraders and non masqueraders alike, will have an opportunity to purchase tickets.

3. The main focus at a band launching is to showcase the costumes for the following year’s presentation. Unlike a regular fete it is best advised to arrive early to see the show, if live models are being used. Though the costumes are the main attraction at the band launch a live band or performer is sometimes used to entertain the crowd before the show begins. Be prepared for a long night in some cases, especially with the larger bands costumes are shown around midnight!

4. If your goal is to get a first hand view of the costumes know that the live models usually walk some type of stage , much like a catwalk, and only those patrons who are closest to the stage will get a good view of the costumes. If you stand further back chances of getting a detailed look are limited, though some bands are now employing the use of large screens so patrons can get a better view.

5. For those so inclined you can walk with a camera though many of the photo websites such as , do take photographs of the models in costume for their website. However with the live coverage from band launches those of you who cannot make it can look forward to streaming live video and on the spot photographs uploaded to those websites.

6. Some bands distribute promotional material at the band launch showcasing the costumes such as booklets or calendars where professional photographs of models in costume are displayed. These booklets are also extremely helpful as they list the name of the sections/costume as well. Make sure and secure one of these especially if you do not walk with a camera.

7. You will not be able to register for your costume at a band launching that takes place in Trinidad. Bands will announce the dates when the mas camp will be open and the website will be up and running following the launch, pay attention to those dates. Harts mas camp is the only one that I know of which opens it doors on the Monday immediately following the launch, but even then the website launches at a later date. TRIBE has been known to open for a pre-viewing of the costumes (you still will not be able to register) where they are displayed at a designated location and persons can have a much closer look at the costumes. Following the pre-viewing masqueraders will then be informed of a date for registration. TRIBE’s system is such where both online and in house registration begins at the same time. Other bands simply open their doors for registration at a later date following the band launch.

8. A band launching is not a Carnival fete so do not expect to see patrons dressed in sneakers and shorts ready to jam and wine down low. Several band launches take place at Club Zen and others are themed events, complete with set decor and props, so dress accordingly for the venue.

9. There will be many band launchings occurring between July and October, for both smaller and larger bands and even private sections of bands. Choosing which band launches to go to will depend on where your interest lies though it is worthwhile to go to a few of the bands you might be interested in!

10. Finally if you are coming from overseas especially to attend a particular band launch DO NOT purchase your flight ticket until the date has been CONFIRMED by the mas band. Dates and venues can change up to the last minute so unless you get an email or phone call from the mas camp please do not take the “alleged” dates to heart, even if you read it on this blog!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vale Vibe Goes To Toronto

That Vale Vibe poster is sending subliminal messages... BLISS....loving the name. Spread the BLISS!

click to enlarge

Monday, June 28, 2010

Celebs Ramajay With Ramajay Mas!

The things that show up in my facebook news feed!

And I quote:
When "A" Class Celebs want costumes at their special events who u think they call "Ramajay"......Jay Z,Beyonce, Mary J., Lebron James,Gayle king and a many others where there to view the beauty of Ramajay.

Mary J Blige seems to be loving that costume!

Nas is that you?

Akin Ross

My Interview With Outlish Magazine

When Outlish Magazine (a relatively new online based magazine) first approached me about doing an interview for their website I was flattered that they even found my blog interesting enough to be featured. Then when I finally got the list of questions for the interview it took me a week to answer them all as candidly as I could, but the most intimidating part of it all was that they wanted a photograph to accompany the article! How does one photograph someone who does not want to be identified?

In the end Mark Lyndersay of Lyndersay Digital did a pretty good job of photographing me "anonymously". Yes that IS me and I really was in the middle of a BBM (blackberry messenger) conversation with Carnival Jumbie during the photoshoot, hilarious!

Read the  interview, part of Outlish's Carnival on the Net  which also includes a feature of Synergy Soca Star winner Chynee , HERE.

About Outlish Magazine:

Outlish is an online magazine targeting young Trinidadians that was launched on April 12th, 2010.

Instead of getting caught up with what’s ‘in’, wouldn’t it be more fun to find out what’s ‘out there’? Updated every Monday, Outlish Magazine showcases young, innovative Trinbagonians –from all walks of life – who are ‘out there’ living their dreams. Targeting the 18 to 40 year old demographic, we’re here to inform, inspire, and empower our readers.


We speak our mind. Full stop. From inspiring interviews to discussions on entrepreneurship, personal finance, lifestyle, relationships, culture, social issues, and current events, Outlish covers it all. Outlish is a forum for expression, and we rely on our readers to help guide the conversation. Get fresh perspectives on issues relevant to young Trinis, at home and abroad.

People and ideas – that’s our obsession. Tap into their energy, thoughts and ideas, and celebrate their entrepreneurial, adventurous spirit. There are so many talented Trinis out there, dreaming, doing, and achieving. Real people doing real things are worthy of our attention. Outlish is the place to hear their stories, and viewpoints, and journey with them.

We feature young, innovative Trinis… people doing big things, new things, exciting things. We celebrate individuality, and encourage readers to dream big, and create their own path in life. Our mission is to inform, inspire, and empower young adults by providing stimulating and entertaining content that relates to their aspirations, values and needs. Need we say more?
Not just a magazine. Outlish is a movement.

Karel Mc Intosh - Founder and Editor-in-Chief
Quilin Achat - Assistant Editor
Mark Lyndersay - Chief Photographer
Ndelamiko Lord - Webmaster

Sunday, June 27, 2010

DC Carnival 2010 Review

Blue Tantrum


I had a time for DC carnival this year. I started with Ignite on Thursday. The vibes were good, and there just enough space to dance without bumping into somebody by accident. On Friday, I went to Live in the City. The review that was posted was spot on. However, we had SO many drinks prior to the live performances that we weren't even thinking about the bar by the time Machel came on because there was too much dancing to be done. We had a pretty good stage position as well. Definitely got our money's worth with food and drinks by making use of the DJ time.

Waking up Saturday to do makeup after 1.5 hours of sleep was rough. But I did it, as I had to get two children ready. I had a frontline costume in my band which included butterfly wings. I also asked my bandleader to add some plumes to my headpiece. Now, I know that costumes are fab in TNT, but I was pleasantly surprised by my costume this year. The bandleaders set up mas camp in their home and do their own gluing, sewing, etc. The band leaders are a young married couple from south Trinidad. The wife's mother came up to help make costumes and distribute them, and she was definitely a warm and friendly mother. I ordered a decorated tank top that was FULLY decorated, and only had one line of thin braid fall off by the end of the day. They had plenty of drinks that did not run out, extra bags of ice, and cold water. The husband was not in costume and checked on everyone during the parade. But above all of that Saucy...the wife was in costume and she still offered to push my son in his stroller when he fell asleep. The staff that they have helping was thorough from start to finish, which is a welcome change from...well, you know where I'm going. They day ended with the bandleaders passing out food and even offering my son's godmother and my sister in law (both of whom did not play mas) any extra food. Totally an A+ experience!

We missed Xen last night because everyone overslept! So my DC carnival weekend is over, but for me, this was an outstanding year!

Exploring the Business of Carnival at UTT

The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) will host, "This Business of Carnival: Past, Present and Future", the first in a series of symposia which will address the business aspect of Carnival. This conference will explore Carnival's impact in strengthening the creative sector of the economy, highlight career paths which are linked to the festival and review the challenges, as well as the opportunities, which are inherent in Carnival. The three-day symposium will look at the growth and development of the national festival and particular attention will given to its viability and sustainability. The mechanisms for developing teaching guides, through consultation with stakeholders, and the establishment of a recruitment tool and research component for UTT's programmes, will also be discussed.

"This Business of Carnival: Past, Present and Future" takes place at the UTT Campus at NAPA from Monday 28 June, 2010 to Wednesday 30 June, 2010. Participants will be exposed to thematic offerings such as, "Developing Our Cultural Stock", "Building the Creative Economy" and "Strengthening the Future".

Persons are asked to pre-register. Please call 642 8888/ 223-4888 Ext# 27100, 27101 or 27122 for further details.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Machel in DC Review

Hi Saucy -
Just wanted you to know that I just got home from the best Machel show EVER! He and the HD family performed for well over 2 hours and it was great!! Patrice, Farmer Nappy, JW and Blaze etc were all there. It was really good. The energy they all gave was fiyah! And the dancers danced almost every song for all of the artists. They make you want to go to the gym asap and start counting out crunches!!!

I am trying to rack my brain as to the song in which Machel had a dancer wrap her legs around his waist, facing forward, no hands and she moved her entire body side to side, up and down. It wasn't lewd but rather clever. (Sorry I can't describe that better!!) I wasn't sure what the turn out would be but I was pleasantly surprised. I believe this is a new spot for a fete and they should definitely do it again here. It was at RFK stadium but it was held outside. And there was plenty of parking, even for those (like me) who arrived pretty late.

My cousins and I had VIP tickets but that proved to be a waste of money since they ran ouy of liqour. And of course DC liquor law states you can't serve liquor after 2 AM. (Booooooooo!!) So not only did the liquor run out before 2 AM but then, once it was about 2:15 AM, they shut the bar down and you had to go two more hours liquor free!!! Not cool! I need my henney!

They had food vendors as well and the food was OK. By the end though, there was quite a bit of food left over. How many times do you leave a fete and you can bring home curry chicken, pelau, roti, goat, doubles and corn soup??? The crowd was good, the music was good, and it was perfect weather for a fete. I hope others that went enjoyed it as much as I did!!!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Skullduggery designer covers new ground in mas

Sonya Sanchez Arias sees skeletons and skulls in her closets. Every one of them. In her bathroom, bedrooms, indeed every nook and cranny of her Florida, USA, home. Sanchez Arias isn’t freaking out. 

The Trinidadian-born artist/ designer/ photographer has been building Skullduggery, bone by bone and design upon design, 22 sections in all, for the Woodbrook band, which is being produced by Peter Samuel, who was crowned King of Carnival eight times in a storied career of portrayals that led Peter Minshall’s themes onto the Savannah stage and around the world.

A glance at Sanchez Arias’ pedigree reveals the human source of her creativity, her late mother Judy Sanchez having worked alongside Minshall over the years. Small wonder, Sanchez Arias, married to Cuban American photographer Fernando Arias was weaned on Kiddies Carnival Competitions in Port of Spain and San Fernando. In later years she fell to JOuvert’s spell, and following graduation with honours from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, to Minshall’s as well.

noise makers

I was so inspired by his book, Seven Deadly Sins, she says, I wanted to put images to the words. Photography without camera or models.


In August 2008, paper dresses she designed for a Florida company raised Samuel’s interest. They were so detailed, he says,I thought of her as a mas band designer.


Sanchez Arias, still mesmerized by Minshall’s Seven Deadly Sins, hit upon the theme right away. A poster came to mind. A hummingbird hovering above a skeletal hand. The image ignited a buzz on the Internet. Soon, a Facebook site started to hum. Samuel then wooed David Rudder and Pelham Goddard’s Charlie’s Roots for musical accompaniment, and Skullduggery began to thrive on the theme song, Bringing back sanity to the Mas.


A Carnival band should be like a Calypso, Samuel says. A theme, a beginning, middle and end. When I look at mas I feel sad. Bands look the same despite their themes. We’re losing the essence of the culture.


Sanchez Arias hopes to cover new ground with painstakingly imaginative designs that rein in the shenanigans, political and otherwise, in our lives.

Skullduggery launches July 4 at The Anchorage in Chaguaramas.

Costumes designed by Sonya Sanchez Arias
Band illustrations by Jolene Mattison

For further information contact Sonya Sanchez Arias at and Peter Samuel at

Thursday, June 24, 2010

So, I have been hearing....

TRIBE is having it's photoshoot this weekend I was told, and for all those hoping of a repeat of the leaked booklet incident of 2009 tough luck, I heard that the booklets are being printed in Toronto! Now won't it be nice to get a little email about the band launch and theme 2011 since the rumoured band launch date is exactly one month away? Keeping us in suspense for a pretty long time this year TRIBE!

A familiar face from TRIBE has now joined the defectors from Island People who are now with YUMA. Teri Leigh-Bovell is the new head of Promotions and Advertising of YUMA. Terri, you better start working on promoting the band via social media because right now people are still asking "YUMA who?". Twitter, facebook page, website banner, band logo....I am just saying! 

Teri Leigh-Bovell

Am I the only one who thinks Oasis having their band launch during Saute Trinbago at the cost of $400.00TT admission is a bit excessive? I mean really that is a pretty expensive band launch ticket so early in the season for a relatively unknown band. Wish them luck in patronage at that event! 

My band launch calender is looking like this season will be a LONG one, so if you are interested in having Trinidad Carnival Diary attend your launch please send information to

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Making Mas !

A popular store in New York offering costume supplies and decorated bras

If you are someone  involved in creating costumes in any form or fashion then you are sure to know of the two major producers located in New York. So many customers traverse these stores looking for material, costume supplies and even a China based manufacturer to mass produce costumes for Carnivals taking place globally, it was only a matter of time before information being so readily shared made it way back to The Sauce as paths cross.

So, let me bring you up to speed!

Of these two major producers one was responsible for the "costume quality" issues experienced by a certain band in Trinidad this year. Observant masqueraders would have noticed, and heard the rumours, that the prototype and the final product were not exactly the same. It was intimated to me that the producer blamed the band for wanting too much on a very small budget and in all honesty the band leader did approve the costumes before the designers made an uproar and subsequent trips to China had to be made to sort out the situation. When you have costumes in a totally different colour from what was advertised you have a problem!  To his credit I was told this producer usually has the nicer materials and you can always find several band leaders and designers getting materials at his shop, even when they take their business elsewhere.

Fast forward to present day 2010 and several bands, including new ones, have been approaching the other producer to get their costumes made. I was even told a band leader's mother allegedly tried to woo this producer  by stating SHE was a costume designer with years of experience! Word is that this other producer is swamped doing costumes for TRIBE, Harts, Island People and Ronnie & Caro and has had to turn down production requests from the band that had "costume quality" issues this year as well as several new bands.

And if you ever wondered how much production costs on these costumes that are made in China (bras and belts only, headpieces are made in Trinidad) the estimated price I was given is between $65.00 to $85.00US a set on bulk orders. 

Here is a mention of a producer speaking to someone at Antilla Carnival event in 2008:
Hai Lin owns Hai Trimming Inc, a company in New York City that produces the mas for Trinidad Carnival. He explained to me he doesn't design any of the mas he receives the designs from the mas camp and he simply manufactures the designs out of his shops in China. He states he is s always impressed with the designs from the mas camps Spice and Element mas camps gave him the most business for the 2009 carnival season. SOURCE
And a look at Hai's bra factory in China, now you know why some costume bra sizes are limited and special orders cannot be accommodated. Very interesting stuff!

I am very curious to see how the bands who were unable to secure the other producer fare when they have to return to the producer with the "costume quality" issues. Lets hope they have a bigger budget and a more on hands on approach to ensuring that standards are met. What use is having a stunning prototype when the end result is far from what was advertised?

Gems Trinidad Carnival 2011

Finally, some Gems information to share:

GEMS, a new addition to the medium bands operates under the leadership of a five member board, with directives from the Band Manager, Mr. Tyrell Sween. Holistically supported by a particular establishment, which prefers to remain anonymous, the Band Manager has been delegated the full responsibility of the general operations of the band. The band holds no affiliations to any other as it is an entirely new band.

Band Leader – Mr. Garry Hazel
Band Manger – Mr. Tyrell Sween
Public Relations Officer – Mr. Anton Brewster

GEMS is an all-inclusive band, with the goal of providing total comfort to all its masqueraders. Working along with three designers, the band is offering ten sections, each of which aims to facilitate a maximum of One Hundred Fifty masqueraders. Costumes prices would range from $2500.00 to $3500.00 with the aim of providing for the individual need of the masquerader. These costumes are inclusive of backline, frontline and individuals. The band is also looking forward to putting forth a King and Queen of Carnival.

Mr. Sean Miller
Mr. Keon Chow Cop
Mr. Darrel Bulze

We intend to provide quality service to our masqueraders of 2011, by providing the necessary comforts available, for the carnival season, while within the band. Some of which consist of:

Identification Wrist Bands
Band Security
Mobile Restrooms
Roaming Photographers
On-Site Paramedics
Meals and Snacks
Shuttle Service
Premium Bars
Food Stop

2011 Theme

“Conquest of Alexander”

In 331 BC, Alexander the Great of Macedon began one of the greatest conquests in human history. After conquering Egypt and defeating the Persian Empire Alexander had pushed his army to the very limits of the world as the Greeks knew it. But he wanted more; he saw that the world extended further. By conquering the ancient lands of the Mesopotamians, he came into contact with cultures to the east, such as Pakistan and India. Partly out of curiosity, and partly out of a desire to conquer the entire world within the boundaries of the river Ocean (the Greeks believed that a great river, called Ocean, encircled all the land of the world), Alexander and his army pushed east, through northern Iran and all the way to Pakistan and India. He had conquered Bactria at the foot of the western Himalayas, gained a huge Bactrian army. But when he tried to push on past Pakistan, his army grew tired, and he abandoned the eastward conquest in 327 BC. Alexander only made it as far as the region of Gandhara, the plain which lies directly west of the Indus River. Alexander himself seems to have had literally no effect on Indian history, for he left as soon as he reached the Indus.

Media Launch Section Names:
Tyre – Tyrian Treasure (Red)
Grancius River (Blue)
Persia - The Battle of Gaugamela (Black)
Merciless Macedoni (Orange)

Band Office

Address: 39 Saddle Rd, San Juan.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Your Carnival 2011 Update!

Spice has moved their "showroom" to the corner of Gray and Rust Streets in St Clair... I wonder if that is at the old Hooters building? Pulse 8 has also moved from Gallus Street, they are now on Ariapita Avenue. Not to mention Island People Mas moved in May to the corner of O'Connor Street and Warren Street.

I have got to remember that all these mas camps have now moved from their old locations!

Check out Skullduggery's band launch video, the "Peter Minshall version":

Monday, June 21, 2010

Here is a hint.....

Remember I told you on Friday that if anyone made a guess as to what is this exciting news that I cannot share I will give you a hint of what is in store? Well, check out the comments on my post "Take a Wild Guess". Someone got the information spot on!

It is getting harder and harder to keep this a secret since it seems like so many people already know about it!

Here is a question for you:

If the Savannah Stage returns for Carnival 2011 and your band does not decide to go to the Savannah would you play with that band or another band? How important is the Stage to you? And if the band that chooses not to go to the Savannah is the perfect sized band; smaller, intimate, with fun party vibes and nice costumes in a smaller package.. which wins, Savannah or a perfectly sized smaller band?

Your First Look at IslandPride"Phantasm"

 IslandPride's launch of Phantasm, Boston Carnival 2010; click HERE for album.

Ignis Fatuus

Gems Media Launch, The Aftermath

Last night new band Gems held their Media Launch at Casa Ibiza, a preview of costumes from their presentation "Conquest of Alexander", first launch of the Carnival 2011 band launch season.

To start with the positives I was pleased that the Media Launch actually showed costumes (I have been to Media Launches where none were shown) as well as they decided to include a male costume as part of the teaser. The launch was not a protracted one and kept within the time frame advertised.

As far as Media Launches go I felt the event was more of a showing of costumes for supporters as there was no press information for the media that were there. I was surprised by this as I now have no knowledge of all the section names, history of the persons involved in the band, who these people are or who the designers are.

I do know that the full complement of sections total 10, which we will see at their band launch in September. It would have been nice to have a press kit.

So, what do you think of the costumes? Click on the photos for a close up.



Sunday, June 20, 2010

Skullduggery In The News

Todays Guardian has a very nice feature on Skullduggery's designer Sonya Sanchez Aria, a lot of history on the designer the feature but also included the section drawing above "Wara-hoon"

“It’s a universal fact that people are enthralled by skulls and skeletons,” says Sanchez Arias from her office she calls the bone yard. “And I married that to the underhanded nonsense going on in Trinidad and Tobago. Bribery, trickery, dishonesty, slyness, deceit. All de bobol, comesse and grease han’ skulduggery.” Such qualities of—as they say on the block—skull, play out in all of her sections, so they could “trickerate” spectators, Sanchez Arias warns. “I injected a humorous slant,” she says. “Mas is about that, too. Like mockery in the Kaiso Tent and ole mas. Trinidadians are accustomed to using humour to express themselves creatively. “When I read the definition, I said, ‘We have so much of that here in T&T, so many possibilities to interpret skulduggery practices into local parlance.’ “So, with certain sections, I’m very literal.”

For the full article click HERE. Just one more Sunday until the band launch on July 4th!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Crop Over Makeup

Frontline costumes, boots, makeup......Crop Over = Mini Trinidad Carnival! Do your thing Divas.

Click to enlarge

Friday, June 18, 2010

Take A Wild Guess....

If you have been paying attention to my twitter feed and facebook updates you may have noticed that I am pretty excited over some news that unfortunately I cannot share, and since when can I not  share the hottest gossip on the blog right? 

Anyway I have been SWORN to secrecy but see if you can guess what is the news that has me rescinding my decision NOT to play mas for 2011 because I was just so jaded and disenchanted with my experience in 2010.  But let me just say as of now I  cannot wait for band launch season!! If you guess right maybe I will give you a hint of what is in store!
In YUMA news, I have been reliably informed that the newbie band is going to be launching in early August with a media launch held before, both will be invitation only. The target for the band is 2000 masqueraders and it is supposedly going to offer those masqueraders the "most ultra premium experiences with pure fun and vibes"

I am really digging the whole smaller band, intimate vibes and premium experience!

For folks who did not realize YUMA is the band I used to formerly refer to as "rumoured to be called Sugar" and the same!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Follow ISLANDpeople Mas To Crop Over 2010!

PHANTASM - IslandPRIDE Boston Carnival 2010

Here is a sneak peak from IslandPRIDE's Boston Carnival 2010 presentation "Phantasm"

Power X Four Bajan Reef Crop Over 2010 More Pics!

Please note  the sections Parrot Fish and Sea Anemone are SOLD OUT from the start of early registration! All this and the website has not even fully launched  as yet.

Violet Starfish 

Moonlight Grunt 

Parrot Fish 

Sea Anemone

Man O War

Fan Coral 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pan Jazz 2010 @ Lincoln Jazz Center,NYC

Click to Enlarge

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Solid International "THE ROAD TO BHARAT" Antigua Carnival 2010

I am so not going to comment on the section "Arundoya", sigh !

Here are pics from Solid International's Antigua Carnival 2010 presentation "The Road to Bharat"








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