Monday, January 22, 2018

Mas makers ‘Celebrate’


CROWD PLEASER: Soca artiste Swappie performs a slow version of his hit song “Bucket”at the launch of the ISLANDpeople Mas 2015 Carnival presentation Celebrate on Friday at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s. —Photo: CURTIS CHASE

Mark Fraser

Come Carnival 2015 masqueraders are going to experience a grand celebration and ISLANDpeople Mas has already sealed the deal where that is concerned. The mas band last Friday at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s staged a theatrical and cultural preview of its 2015 mas presentation titled Celebrate.

The band is celebrating ten years in the mas-making business and 25 years as a brand. Its anniversary launch party thrilled die hard followers with a production laced with theatrical and cultural presentations and costume designs that many felt did not disappoint.

The mas band plans to mark its tenth anniversary with a series of events carded to take place in the coming months which include a major charity event to celebrate and to give back. A grand anniversary party is also carded for October 10. The band’s general manager, Collin Greaves, gave a history of the band which began as a T-shirt and apparel company in 1998.

The brand then evolved into producing social events and parties. “Over the years we’ve experienced a truly exhilarating roller coaster ride as there have been many ups and a couple downs here and there. But despite it all, the brand always came out on top. Today, we can boast of a constant stream of approximately 3,000 masqueraders each year.

“The ISLANDpeople family is already planning ten major charitable activities designed to reflect our past ten themes. The first shall be a tree planting initiative to represent our first theme The Enchanted Forest. Actually, this will also serve as a follow up to a reforestation project we did two years ago on the hillsides at Lopinot.

A beach clean-up is also being planned in commemoration of Sahara our second theme and so on. The other plans will be released closer to their execution dates. Also, into the future you can look forward to the next generation of ISLANDpeople as we are currently underway in finalising plans for a partnership with the Students Guild of The University of the West Indies to assist in the development of young ISLANDpeople throughout the Caribbean,” Greaves said.

The band’s creative director Marlon Grant said as a brand the band has a mandate to produce themes that have meaning and depth. He said there is a purpose behind each costume. “You just don’t purchase a costume, every time you purchase a costume there is a purpose behind it. This year celebrates the people who support us.

When you purchase your costume there is something that drew you to the costume that says something about you,” Grant said.

IP revealed 11 sections of its 2015 presentation in a myriad of fascinating colours each with a theme beckoning masqueraders to celebrate life. Interesting to note about the designs is that the men are not left out of elaborate headpieces.

Some of the interesting pieces of costumes include Hellocentric (centre of the revolution); Energia (rise to the new dawn); Hakan (release your inner flame); Seventh C (centre yourself); Psychedelic Soul (the beauty inside) Maiara (celebrate inner wisdom); Prism (shine your inner strength); Champagne (dazzle them with glitz); Universe (celebrate it); Rave (Party forever) and Soriee (the good life).

The launch of Celebrate, was a continuation of last year’s concept which is titled The Whole and which was staged at NAPA, the National Academy for Performing Arts in Port of Spain.

Celebrate represents part two of the concept which is a trilogy. Friday night’s celebration was marked by a spectacular showcase of the melting pot of talent that exists in Trinidad and Tobago. Before the sections were actually launched patrons had an opportunity to experience ISLANDpeople mas over the last decade through a short video that displayed the various themes over the years.

Each section was introduced with a unique segment of entertainment that thrilled the appreciating audience including spoken word, dance (ballet and African dance) and drums. Bishop Anstey High School Choir performed a medley of calypso and soca. Soca artiste Swappie showed his versatility with a slow and awe inspiring version of his 2013 hit ‘Bucket’. Nadia Batson was also part of the entertainment line-up.

The ISLANDpeople design team include Sonia Mack who was recognised as the IP Mas Designer of the Decade for her design contributions over the last ten presentations. Renee Williams, JP Richardson, Christian Boucaud, Darlea Burkett and Jamie Romero, Anton Francis, Hamzah Mohammed, Odette Nikisha Jack, Ladelin Garcia, Patrice Regis and Michael Limchoy were also part of the design team.