Wednesday, 6 February 2013


I first met Kelly Rajpaulsingh in 2011 at the launch of the Bacchanila presentation; 'Alter ego through the looking glass’. Kelly was the first NHC designer/band-leader to actually invite and welcome the Mas Assassin to a launch fully understanding the critical nature of the blog, but welcomed both praise and critique with an equal amount of attention gratitude.

“ my opinion showed a supreme confidence, in their  product, a desire to progress, and a mature understanding that the opinions expressed in my posts are constructive (most times)  in intention, and done with an undying  love for  the art form that is MAS.(Massassination 18:4:11)

Fast forward to 2013 and with under a week to go, Rajpaulsingh’s Bacchanila  is set to hit the streets of  Port of Spain Trinidad with the ‘Sorcerer’ section in the Genesis carnival Ltd 2013 presentation  ‘Mirror Mirror  who is the...’
In doing so Bacchanila has joined the growing contingent of Trinbagonian Brits who return to Trinidad and Tobago annually not only to take part, but to creatively contribute to the Islands version of the greatest show on earth, the Trinidad and Tobago carnival.
With an incredibly busy schedule to execute Kelly took some time out to answer a few questions from ‘Massassination Insight’ so you can learn a little more about the force behind Bacchanila and the plans for the bands future ...  

MA: Who is Kelly Rajpaulsingh?
KR:  Kelly Rajpaulsingh is half of the husband and wife team that forms Bacchanalia – one of the leading mas bands in the UK.  I have been involved in the carnival scene in London for over 10 years and have worked with a number of mas bands in various capacities.  I am Trinidadian born and bred and moved over to the UK when I was 19. 

Kelly and Andrew Rajpaulsingh

MA: Kelly what is your earliest carnival memory?
KR: My earliest carnival memory is that of Fancy Indian mas. I was spellbound by the costume, the colour, the dance and I am pleased to say that this band is still alive and going strong as one of the main producers of Fancy Indian costumes in Trinidad – also San Fernando based. Up to today, this is still my most favoured costume of all time.  I remember moving to San Fernando and walking up the promenade and the very first thing I saw was a fully dressed, Chief Indian - resplendent and decorated in green and yellow, face painted, feathers everywhere, beautiful tribal patterns on his body and gown. It’s remained with me ever since.
We are lucky in that as children of Trinidad, we are introduced to carnival at a very young age.  Primary and Infant schools where you can make your own costumes using materials from your home and have a small parade on the school grounds or even by participating in what I believe is the best example of Trinidad carnival – Carnival Sunday – otherwise known as Kiddies Carnival. 

MA: When were you bitten by the carnival bug?
KR: I believe as Trinidadians, carnival is in our blood.  If you are a ‘creative’ and come from Trinidad, then it consumes you.  This is how I feel about the work I do. I am surrounded by it, my thoughts are always on it and I absolutely and irrevocably love it.  A few years after I came to London and visited the Notting Hill Carnival, I was deeply unimpressed by what I saw. What I left in Trinidad was the most creative and splendid spectacle when it came to mas – and those were the days of Berkeley, Minshall, Harts etc whose creations and ideas literally blew the mind.
Without any understanding of the structure, the bands, the restrictions, the audience or participants involved in the Notting Hill Carnival, I was almost dared by my other half ‘to do something about it’ rather than bemoan the fact that Notting Hill was a poorer and much less acceptable presentation of Trinidad carnival. So I did and haven’t looked back since.

MA: Tell us about your band and its origins.
KR: We launched Bacchanalia in 2005 with 
our friends and family supporting us and used very simple materials and fabrics in our first presentation. Since then, we have gone from strength to strength and work very hard throughout the year in raising the profile of the event and in welcoming all nationalities and backgrounds to be a part of it.  Our ethos is to bring friends and family together – and this is precisely what we have done. We have created a warm and caring community that come together during the year and help us with our production.  One of the best parts of what we do is taking that step back and looking at the friendships and bonds built over making mas and learning about other cultures.  At the time of launching, Bacchanalia was a word made up by my husband and co-founder – today if you Google it, it is a real word of Greece/Roman origins celebrating the God of Wine and Revelry.
Our designs are well known for being intricate and very detailed – a derivative of my fashion interest and extra-curricular studies – I am a banker by day.  I spend a lot of time thinking about the theme, searching for new materials and concepts to use and cost-effective ways of bringing it out on to the road.  I think Mas is a learning process – one person will never know it all but it’s always fun to try new things and learn.

MA: Do you see Bacchanalia as a home away from home for its members and yourself?
KR: Yes and No. The experience offered in London is not at all similar to that which is offered in Trinidad.  During the months in the lead up to carnival, you can see it everywhere in Trinidad – the songs are on the radio and being blasted everywhere, parties and shows and events and the entire country works itself up into a near frenzy climaxing on the 2 days of revelry on the streets.  London is a much more diluted affair - even the people that come together to make it happen are different.  Both places offer a fantastic experience but I always say to our masqueraders – ‘We give you the very best that we can and the closest thing to a Trinidad carnival experience, but you have to go there to get the real thing!’. I see London as a teaser for Trinidad for new masqueraders.  My case in point – we are taking quite a few masqueraders and new joiners to Trinidad 2013 to play mas for the first time.  London carnival is not a highly publicised affair so there are still barriers to entry where the masses still do not know if they can join in the bands or how to do so.  London carnival masqueraders are not just Trinidadians either – they are people of the Caribbean and other cultures and many are 2nd or 3rd generations that have not yet travelled to the Caribbean.  What we try to do is put carnival on everyone’s radar and show them how they can become involved.  This isn’t just subject to joining our band either.  We work with a number of bands in the UK and do what we can to help others too.

MA: So, Bacchanalia is going to Trinidad Carnival in 2013, how did that happen?

Sorcerer backline.
Sorcerer frontline.
KR: It was a conversation that an extremely talented colleague of mine from Trinidad initiated.  I worked with Elwin Johnson for my NHC 2012 presentation.  I have been admiring his work for some time now and we were extremely pleased to welcome him on board and bring him in to work with me under the Bacchanalia banner for 2012.  Elwin is one of the most talented mas makers I have seen and his skills stretch across the board – wire-bending, costume and set design, characters and models etc. Elwin had already done some work with the Genesis team and when he mentioned that we could produce a section for them, we were happy to bring forward our plans and design and produce the section – which I might add, was very well received.  We can only see this relationship growing and getting stronger over the coming years.

MAIs it a coincidence that your theme for NHC 2011 is very similar to the theme for Trinidad Carnival 2013?

KR: Yes, very much so. We were introduced to Genesis Carnival quite late in the year via one of my colleagues and co-designer. Bacchanalia was making preparations to make its entry into Trinidad Carnival for 2014 but this opportunity came up and I was very excited so we didn’t say no. The similarity ends with the theme as the designs and story being portrayed are very different. I am quite pleased and proud to be under the Genesis umbrella for Trinidad carnival 2013.

MA: Tell us about your section. (name, influences, package etc).

KR: The section is called Sorcerer.  It’s the ‘Magic Mirror’ element in the story.  I wanted to bring out all the elements of the character that was already known – beauty co-mingled with darkness and vanity – which are often linked.  I chose a dark gold and black as I wanted a representation of the actual Mirror and found large mirror like stones to use as the reflective pieces.  The individual character will show a representation of the mirror being smashed and the pieces exploding.  The black feathers – I had this image of the crow that is an extension of the witch in the actual story – and we used it on the headpiece of the male and covered the female in it. 

The package offered to masqueraders is as follows:

Sorcerer female frontline.
Female Section (Backline)
VVIP package = £349.50
Standard (no VIP) = £299.50

Male Section (Backline)
VVIP package = £299.50
Standard (no VIP) = £239.50

Female Frontline
VVIP with Backpack = £549.50
VVIP without Backpack= £429.50
With Backpack= £499.50
Without Backpack= £399.50
Female Frontline VVIP without Backpack= £429.50
Without Backpack= £399.50.

MA: Do you think Bacchanalia the band will soon be on the streets of Port of Spain in the future?
KR: Yes, the plan was there for 2014 but we were offered this amazing opportunity with Genesis Carnival Band and could not say no for 2013. I am from Trinidad and intend to return there in the near future so my overall plans always included bringing not only my costumes and band back but also opportunities and avenues for other mas bands and carnival artists access to new products and materials for their own bands and designs. Watch this space!

MA: What do you think is the future of Notting Hill Carnival?
KR: Uncertain. I see the potential for growth and creative opportunities but this is marred with lack of organisational structure and funding.  London carnival holds many opportunities for bands, designers and carnival artists to showcase our rich culture to the world and to take that very culture and fuse it with others to create something new – however, this platform is under-funded and not operating under a cohesive and stable structure – which in the end hurts everyone.  To bring out a band costs on average £20-30k – and this is for a small band – which has to cover all these costs, advertise and market for new masqueraders and provide facilities and teams to bring out a production – not an easy feat to take on on one’s own. But what is there is a solid line-up of bands that have shown longevity and small signs of growth. They do not give up and some have been very successful in taking their performances and costumes internationally.  I see London as that very thing – the platform to launch mas into an international arena.

MA: What is your 2013 NHC presentation about?
KR: I am very excited about our 2013 presentation – this year we are portraying Species – The Evolution.  It is the story of the human race in a few million years and what we could evolve into.  I am telling the story in 4 parts, with individual piecess making up the lead characters.  I wanted a story that was interesting, open to imagination and costumes that capture our masqueraders as they bring the portrayal to life.  I have been dabbling in custom made fabrics and plastics and other materials that could bring the characters to life but in reality, we are subject to budget constraints so I am faced with finding interesting materials – but at a fraction of the cost to achieve the desired effect.  Our launch is set for April and I am currently working on the prototypes now so watch this space as that is all I am going to say for now.

MA: The year is 2020 where do you see Kelly Rajpaulsingh and Bacchanalia?

KR: Interesting question.  I often think about how far I can take this and the general direction the mas environment is heading in.  I would like to see myself as a fully established carnival artist – displaying carnival work in major cities all around the world and bringing different cultures together under one banner.  I am a firm believer that what we do is actually performance art – a theatre in the streets – and open to all.  I would like to work with artists from different backgrounds and use the knowledge and skillset gained to create something new, dynamic and push the boundaries – whilst still remaining true to the origins of carnival and where it came from.

For the band, I want us to continue to grow and develop the brand offering our masqueraders not only the best carnival service, but to continue to excite them with new concepts and for their children in turn to also be part of our carnival family and keep our legacy strong.

Thank you Kelly and best of luck to Bacchanalia for 2013!

If you want more information on Bacchanaila you can find them on Facebook,
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, 22 November 2012


Brian Wong Won

Diable 2006
I first met Brian Wong Won on line  in 2007 just before the  Mas Jumbies début of 'Diable'. When the photos of the band were released on line  the costumes spoke volumes, Wong Won managed to harness the ancestral spirit of mas and convert it into a modern if not futuristic medium for Jouvert.

 Since then Wong Won's Mas Jumbies have produced Jouvert presentations that all draw from periods and characters of carnival's early past, giving the band a most unique look on the road for carnival Monday mornings. Come Carnival 2013 Mas Jumbies  present 'The Posey and Bedsheet Brigade', drawing influence from probably the most volatile period period in carnival history.

 But what influenced the artist to choose Jouvert as his canvas for expression in carnival?

Will Mas Jumbies  ever become a pretty mas band?

Lets find out as INSIGHT interviews Artist, Designer, and  Jouvert Band leader, Brian Wong Won.

MA : Who is Brian Wong Won?

BWW : An artist who is passionate about Trinidad’s history, and its rich carnival heritage.

MA : What is your first Carnival Experience that you can remember?

BWW : It was in 1974 at the age of 3 and I recall confronting a Midnight Robber with my late grandmother (Edna) on Phillips Street in front the La Peyrouse cemetery. We had gone around noon on a Carnival Monday with my dad to see my aunt in her band pass on Tragarete road; when we ran into a drunken Midnight Robber right in front the arched entrance to the cemetery. I remember his costume vividly; a large brimmed hat with white tassels and surgical instruments dangling down. He wore a long black cape and carried a large meat syringe in his black gloved hands. Quite sinister this visage, I was terrified of him. I do recall that he said his famous Robber Speech, if with a drunken stammer.

MA : Tell us a little about your art, a lot of it depicts scenes of carnival; did your paintings influence your decision to produce a band?

Fancy Sailor Band in Woodbrook. By Wong Won. 
BWW : My art is hard to put into a categorical box as it is neither traditional nor contemporary. It does have elements of realism, fantasy and expressionism. It rarely conforms to the cannons of traditional drawing and painting as the perspective is always skewed. There is no definitive delineation of grounds as subjects move in and out of the frame. The whole idea is create movement and life on this 2 dimensional surface. Carnival is all about movement and dynamism and via colour and perspective I achieve this. Carnival like art is a creative world of fantastical subjects from yellow bats trimmed in ermine to kaleidoscope fancy sailors.
The band, I regard as an extension of my drawing pad. It is the arena in which these long forgotten characters can come into reality, be it an avant-garde red devil or a historically accurate Dame Lorine. The paintings did influence the decision to create a band.

MA : Why did you choose Jovert as the avenue in which to express your creativity in carnival?

Diable on the road 2007.
BWW : J’Ouvert is the beginning of Trinidad Carnival.  So what better place to start? Besides J’Ouvert was quickly being watered down to a drunken street party; all the traditional characters have or were being forgotten. We were quickly losing the identity of this form of carnival and beginning to forget the significance of many of the “traditions” that we practice on J’Ouvert morning. For instance the “mud mas” that we so love had its origins in a kind of masque called “The unburied dead” and the application of paint harkens back to the Jumbalasi masque of yesterday. We needed to retain and preserve these masques, be it in original or reinvented modern form. J’Ouvert lacks the sophistication of the Carnival Tuesday characters; however it has an eloquent and simplistic character. Full of history if rather dark, J’Ouvert represented a side of Carnival that both sinister and debased.

MA : Tell me about Mas Jumbies and your presentations to date?

Jab 08.
BWW : This little band was formed back in the summer of 2006 and in 2007 we brought our first band called “Diable”. It was very small and was all black as a tribute to the Jab-Molassie masque. The costumes were very avant-garde. Perhaps too ambitious for simplistic content of J’Ouvert. Next in 2008 was another devil mas band- “Jab”, this time in 5 colours of black, yellow, blue, red and grey; avant-garde in design and nature, it was our 2nd largest band of 180 masqueraders. 

This band represented the 5 kinds if devils found in Trinidad Carnival. In 2009 we embarked on one of the most ambitious presentations to date with “Diabolus Imperium”, devil mas in all its glory and based on the 7 Deadly Sins. It was again avant-garde in design but looked very much like a Carnival Tuesday presentation. Our titles were all in Latin and there was extensive historical content. 

Lecho 2010
By 2010 we switched gears and went over to another tangent, this time it was the mas of the Jamet Carnivals, the washerwoman, the bationeers, the Pai Bananas, Folk dancers and the Congo bands, this presentation was called “L’echo”; voices of the past. The band featured yards of white muslin fashioned into belle style skirts, capri pants and frilled blouses. In 2011 another band was produced along the same lines of L’echo, it was called “Bourgeois” and was based on the mas of the early 18thc, the carnivals before the Emancipation of Slavery. This was yet another elaborate presentation, and we used the 18thc fashions as inspiration to the French titled and themed costumes. Bourgeois featured silk foulards and tricon hats and as a tribute to the Negue Jardin, the ancient Jab-Molassies made their debut.

MA : What is the presentation for 2013 called and what is it about?

The Posey & Bedsheet Brigade' MAS JUMBIES 2013
BWW : Following our traditional route that we established back in 2007 with Diable, MAS Jumbies again revives mas from the past. This time it is some of the characters from the Jamet Carnivals (1834-1881); the Post Emancipation Carnivals. This was the mas produced out of the barrack and jamet yard culture of Port-of-Spain; the era of the chantwells, the bationners and Pierrots. 

These characters were the ones that revolted against the Crown and the infamous Captain Baker at the famous Canboulay Riots of 1881. This was the beginning of our modern day carnivals as well as providing the precursors via the chantwells and tamboo bamboo bands to the calyposonians and panmen of the future. The “Posey & Bedsheet Brigade” has 5 sections of known and unknown characters; the Dame Lorine, Jamet & Jametman, Jab-Molasie, Pierrot-Grenade and the infamous Piss-en -let. Together we shall occupy the streets of downtown Port-of-Spain just as their ancestors did decades ago.

MA : Are you designing for any other band for carnival 2012?

BWW : No.

MA : Will Mas Jumbies ever cross over to a pretty Mas band?

BWW : There is so much to do in J’Ouvert; it is a question that I constantly toy in my head. Only the future and future masqueraders have answers to this question.

MA : What is it about the traditional characters of carnival that are portrayed in your presentations that you think having some kind of relevance in the 21st Century?

Bourgeois 2011
BWW : Carnival has always been used as an expressive vehicle to release tension ever since the early day of the late 1700’s when men and women caroused in masks. These characters though not in any relative relation to modern times, still provide an outlet for expression. For a time in history, we allow you to be a Devil, a Jamet or even a Dame Lorine. Carnival has always been about fantasy and through the power of the mask. This is realized.

MA : If you could change three things about Trinidad and Tobago carnival today what will they be?

BWW : The over commercialization of the mas, from a theatrical art form to a commercial commodity. Mas has lost its power, it has too quickly become a costumed street party. We have lost what mas was about, we play mas without knowing where and how it all came to be.

We need to put an end to the proliferation of pseudo designers that have now popped up like mushrooms on the decaying debris of Trinidad Carnival. Masqueraders need to take their mas more seriously both in execution and in what is offered to them. If we continue on the same route we shall never excel, we shall never realize the power of the mas like our forefathers experienced decades ago.
The Government needs to put more focus on the Carnival Arts, not just in Pan and Calypso, but Mas, the visual creative output of artisans and artists. Better qualified judges, better regulations and better prize monies.

MA : Who are the mas men, band-leaders or individuals, who have had some kind of influence on you, and why?

BWW : In carnival it would have to be the great Peter Minshall. I recall being at his mas camp with my aunt in 1976 where she made her “Fire Fire” frontline costume. This is perhaps where the “magic dust” fell on me and hence I have been eternally enchanted ever since. This is when mas was more than just sequins and feathers, when the power of mas was more powerful than any hurricane or typhoon. Mas that would move you to tears, that would give you goose bumps or make you run in horror.

Brian's work has featured on magazine covers.
 I saw early on and realized the true power of carnival, it was more than just costumes, this was a story that unfolded and the sections its chapters. And no other person in the world could get this done right time and time again, than Minshall. A true artist, I marvelled how he was able to effortlessly and subtly intertwined like a magician the flavours of the traditional characters into his modern designs. I was enchanted on the stories that would unfold from his bands. Who would have thought that the fragility of mankind could be dramatized upon the wings of butterflies or that the east via the samurai and the west via the blue jeans could be married together to talk about aids?  These were indeed global subjects being dramatized and illustrated via the artform of mas and through the simplicity of our local traditional carnival characters.

MA : Where will you like to see yourself and Mas Jumbies in five years?

BWW : Perhaps still doing what I love best, making mas and educating people on it. Our bands have always included historical and factual information on both the presentation and characters presented. I find it is a duty to provide the info and the masque being played. And with that in mind, you shall be able to play your mas exactly.  It is hoped that though the masqueraders that they continue to support our ventures, as this is done not for the few for but for the whole; that we never forget our roots and past as we forge on to the future. Perhaps we’ll eventually become a conventional band, but that is up to the masqueraders and the universal powers that be. 

MA : Brian thank you for sharing with us some of your views on mas, and giving us some insight  on your creative approach to what you do. Most of all thanks for the Mas, I wish you growing success with MAS JUMBIES in the years to come.

If  you want to be part of MAS JUMBIES for Jouvert  2013  take a look at their website,

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, 12 October 2012


In the first in what I hope to be a series of interviews, Massassination will interview some of the movers and shakers in the modern Mas fraternity to gain some insight on the background of the designers, their creative thought processes and what influences their themes and concepts.
Aaron Schneider: Photo; Jeff Mayers
For the first interview, Massassination went to the Maracas St Joseph Studio (The SEVEN Workshop) of Aaron Schneider the designer of the new band Generations Carnival that held their media launch on the 6:10:2012 at the little Carib theatre of their 2013 presentation ‘Lifting of the 7 veils, which has so far attracted a lot of positive attention and reviews from those who love mas, both in Trinidad and abroad.
It’s ironic that Aaron in 2007 got a Massassination’s first ‘5 star rating’ for the 2008 band know thyself , while the band did not make it too the streets of Port of Spain I still say on paper it was a winner and a classic. Fast forward to 2012 and Aaron Schneider is again producing mas that can easily change the balance of whatever category ‘lifting of the 7 veils’ is entered in.

Mas Assassin: ‘So Aaron, tell me a little about your past’:

Aaron Schneider: “I came from Paramin so I have been bending wire since I was 6 or 7, so that’s where my carnival involvement began, but my first real involvement was actually in London in 1997-98 when I worked in the Oval house theatre (South connections) with Ali Pretty and Ray Mahabir, it was a lot of batik work, I worked with them for 3 years then I returned home... I worked with Poison, Wayne Berkley, Trevor Wallace, a little work with Minshall so I've been in the industry a long time.
Wrath sketches at the studio.
As a designer the last band I designed was ‘ROME’ the last Band of the year title that Trini Revellers won, then they made the decision to go bikini after that me and Wayne Berkley, but that was after his stroke so I mostly designed Rome...The Drawings are sitting in the National Library with my signature and I can't even get to see them. After that was Oracle as you know that did not work out but I remained in the industry doing bead and bikini stuff, and at the start of this year  I decided this year come poverty or whatever I was not doing it any more ...I was unfulfilled ...and the universe gave me a chance and the good people at Veltronics (Veltronics limited authorised dealer for BOSE) said we like your designs let’s try it out...and that’s how the lifting of the 7 veils came about.”

M.A: What’s your theme for Carnival 2013?

AS:  "The theme is the lifting of the 7 veils, an exploration of the 7 deadly sins, I wanted a theme that reminded you of carnival then, we used to have these basic themes and then they used to explore it that’s what I wanted to do. I did not want to go to heavy  because I believe people need to be slowly re introduced to mas, it has to be a process and this is step one of that process, using materials that they know, then juxtapose with elements they may not like wire etc and hopefully they will come.  So you find your sin, buy the costume wear it for 2 days and hopefully a cleansing would take place."

M.A: What influenced the look of L7V?
Wrath prototype at Seven workshop.
AS: “The owners wanted a commercial band so that influenced the look ...there are a lot of feathers so it’s a pretty band...there are some paintings on the internet that represented the 7 deadly sins  ...I also thought we should somehow incorporate elements of mas so the Bookman’s wings influenced envy’s wings, the jab jab’s wings influenced lusts wings the Dame Lorine influenced the skirt there are elements from mas so people that know it will recognise it and say but hey! Those are bookman wings... so the influence is the pretty mas of now, with elements of then”, so basic form and structure goes back to tradition but making it more contemporary."

M.A: What size is the band?

Aaron setting up a prototype of Greed
AS: "We're looking at 500 costumes we are not making more than 500 costumes. We not trying to be 3000 people we're hoping for a medium category."

M.A: Are you going to have Kings and Queens?

 AS: “Not this year this year we're going to have 7 individuals the 7 deadly sins.” 

M.A: What did you learn from your Oracle experience?

A.S: “ wow...when I did the Oracle I learned, the spirit of carnival was escaping our grasp, two that quite contradictory to what everyone said about beads and bikinis that that is all people want , I learned that was not the truth, because people responded to the designs, I learned most of all there was a desire and need to see work people want to see something that excites them and moves them ...and I held that in my heart until I got the chance to do it again and hopefully people can look at it and say I like that it got no gems but I can see myself in it, and that’s most important to me, not to win band of the year...but to make a difference to the minds that are coming in now...and what’s exciting is this band has a strong response from the university students,  they are the upcoming generations that are saying yes! That is what I want to play mas in.

 We live in the age of the internet now people are seeing Alexander McQueen, all these amazing things happening and they want to be part of that world movement as far as art and design is concerned. So the U.W.I based  generation seeing this can see the art in the design and are excited about it, so if all goes well we will have the older generation who knew Minshall and Berkley  and this new generation who are learning about them, and if that can happen the band is a success.

Sloth: Photo by Jeff Mayers
I had to do Oracle and learn the lessons from Oracle so I can come back now and be better prepared and the Oracle is coming through in this band, designs that were sitting in me for years came out and I said to myself, that’s the Oracle, it still wants to speak ...and the message here is important and the same as the Oracle, look at yourself and think of what you can do to make this a better society...let’s examine ourselves and see what we can do better. That’s what the lifting of the veils is about its identifying your sins, identifying your  issues, celebrating it in full revelry for 2 day and when ash Wednesday comes, throw it off ...get rid of it...lift your veil and let’s move forward .”

M.A: Describe the band for me. Tell me about the sections, take me through the band:
Vanity male: Photo J.R
AS: SLOTH:  “I used shades of blue I wanted sloth to feel like a lazy dream, a crinkled untidy slow movement, so it’s very wispy and soft and’s probably going to be one of the more commercial sections because it has the fan shape of feathers and that sought of thing..."
Envy: Photo Jeff Mayers.
VANITY:  "The second section is vanity she is purple and gold the man has more feathers than the woman, (at the media launch I was asked how come there are so many feathers on the man, feathers are more for women, I said all the feathers you see for carnival is male birds they coming from cock feathers not hen..Vanity is feathers satin ribbons, loops, indulgent..."

ENVY: "The third section is envy, green, sharp, pretty but aggressive a lot of textures alot of layers with a bright yellow gold..."
Greed at the media launch.
GREED: "White and Gold, Right now I think greed is carnivals sin all of us want money first we drive fast and everybody on the avenue, we have become a very greedy society and that is why the greed section is white and gold ...greed has changed its face greed was like a miser an evil character ...greed has changed now, greed is sophisticated now... very pretty greed says give me money and we will save Haiti buy this product and we will give part proceeds ...why give part proceeds why not all proceeds?  Greed is now good ...and I wanted to use the dove of peace but I thought the church might take issue with it...we have to do something about our greed we may not realise it now but we  are now reaping the rewards of a greedy society...greed is close to my heart."
Wrath: at media launch. Photo JR.

WRATH: "black there are 3 costumes to wrath to represent the 3 types of anger that I find we have nowadays the whole county vex, we bad drive, you getting cuss, can I get a 2 piece and fries? WE HAVE NO MORE WINGS! DIS HOUR YOU COME FOR FRIES?  That is how we communicate and we have a general anger ... then we have a passive anger which is a male costume, people now communication you always have to figure out if that person trying to give you a ‘pong dey’...we don't communicate with eyes any more ...we communicate with cliché and innuendo, and that kind of thing and then there is the wing costume the generic open anger I trying to layer the costumes without making the mas too heavy."

LUST: "is sex, lust is my representation of you want sex let’s do sex, a black bikini bottom, with a little red slash like she dye her vagina hair red , you want sexy, let’s go for it and examine it and see if there is really so much to it, let’s see if it’s enough to cover the whole of carnival, let’s do lust a visitation of the jab jab, ...and modernise the shape and the form a little bit, so once again keep it commercial and see if they wear the costume. A lot of people say the red vagina hair will be an issue ...but if you can hang a few plastic beads why not some felt..."

GLUTTONY: "Textures mixed of all the sections a well organised ...but too much material  the approach is to make it look like the masquerader  got the costume and added more to it, the most feathered  costume but still naked.
Greed, Envy, Vanity, Sloth: male costumes that the media launch. Photo: Jeff Mayers.

We have to break out of this uniformed mentality, carnival has become uniformed and militant, fighting a war they don't even realise their fighting every band every bead and bikini, is killing Vieira, killing Berkley, killing Minshall killing the essence of what got it to that point ...Indian mas can't cross the stage because tribe is on the stage ...hopefully step by step we will get back to where we should be...or where it might serve us better as a nation today.
My life is carnival and I honestly believe I was put here to do carnival I am happiest when I'm doing it.”

M.A: Who in mas has had the biggest influence on you and your work?

AS: 'Peter Minshall and Wayne Berkley, Berkley taught me things that is important on the business aspect of have to be commercial people must be able to, on one level before you establish your band, understand what you're trying to communicate, and so right now my mas is more inspired by my time with Berkley than my time with Minshall and it’s simply because people need to understand it, and when they understand it then I can afford to get a little deep...but for now I want them to understand'.

M.A:  Are there any young designers of note that you have seen coming up?

AS: 'There are tons...if the tethers were taken off...they can do some amazing work... I know if you take the tethers of these guys and let them go wild ...we are such a talented people I think once we take of the tethers they will come out.'

M.A: Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?

AS: '5 years from now I would like to have this band up and running but more importantly I want to make the steps so I can be a big part in the change of carnival 5 years from now I want to see the first stages of carnival being where it should be...I will like to die knowing I had a part to play in bringing carnival back to us.'

Enhanced by Zemanta