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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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