No kind of mas for us to follow

I like the rhythm and some parts of the message in the recent collaboration between Kees and David Rudder – the unity parts in the soca tune "Live yuh life (Like yuh playing mas)". But far too often the bacchanal and vulgarity transcend the artistry and unity of the Carnival. As Brian MacFarlane said recently "mas is evolving into something different to what he wants to be a part of".

Maybe it is simply the natural evolution from its Mardi Gras and Canboulay historical roots to the inevitable present-day commercial exploitation, like everything else that attracts mass public participation – Christmas, Divali, Valentine's Day, etc. Who wants to see real artistry when there is so much unanimity in wine, woman and song portrayed in the mas and in most of the soca and calypso lyrics?

It gets the human psyche into an unnatural frenzy and anything goes – that is what sells.

I can still recall in the 1980s when the then Lord Shorty voiced his disenchantment with soca, claiming it was being used for the wrong reasons. A short time thereafter he embraced a strict form of Christianity, adopted the name Ras Shorty I and focused on creating faith-based music fusing soca and gospel in a style he called Jamoo. This style his family has continued and have gone on to record several highly infectious hits bringing positive messages with their music. But would Jamoo and today's mas go together? I really don't know.

But what I do know is that it is bad enough — so God forbid if we really start living life like we playing mas.

Ricardo Lijertwood

via e-mail

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