Wednesday, February 21, 2018

We are Carnival, says Kalicharan


LOVE FOR MOM: Bandleader Wendy Kalicharan with her sons, Aaron, left, and Andrew, during victory celebrations at their San Fernando mas camp last Thursday. —Photo: INNIS FRANCIS

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RISING TO THE TOP: Masqueraders in Ivan Kalicharan's Rise of the Olympians during parade of the bands on Carnival Tuesday in San Fernando. —Photo: DAVE PERSAD

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SAN Fernando Band of the Year Kalicharan and Associates has been producing Carnival bands in the southern city since 1983.

The brainchild of husband and wife duo Ivan and Wendy Kalicharan already has 20 titles under their belts.

They have won seven times in a row.

The latest win was this year's San Fernando Band of the Year in the large band category.

The couple's three children— Andrew, Aaron and Ayana—have grown in the family business and are aspiring mas designers and producers.

Aaron Kalicharan told the Sunday Express, "It is not about making money. It is just about the love for Carnival and our culture. It is really an achievement to see all these revellers dancing on the streets on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. We have been getting so many compliments over the years, it is our inspiration."

This year the band presented Rise of the Olympians, showcasing Greek mythology.

The presentation featured eight sections: Gods and Goddesses of War; Gods and Goddesses of Hunting; Gods and Goddesses of Wine; Gods and Goddesses of the Sea; Gods and Goddesses of Love; Virgin Gods and Goddesses; Gods and Goddesses of the Sky; and The Underworld.

Outgoing President George Maxwell Richards and his wife Jean Ramjohn-Richards chose the South band to parade with on Carnival Monday.

"It was an honour to have the president and his entourage join the band on Carnival Monday," Kalicharan said.

The Rise of the Olympians delved into history, with costumes depicting Greek gods and goddesses.

The costumes included gold body armor, shields and swords.

Aaron Kalicharan said every year the band tries to create a unique theme.

"And we are already working on next year's presentation. We are trying to have a different presentation every year," he added.

Although the band is sponsored by corporate citizens, including bmobile, Carib, Blue Waters and Angostura, the masmen continue to struggle with expenses.

"We have been losing money, just like other bands. But we are Carnival. Kalicharan is a household name around Carnival time, so we need to be out there," Kalicharan said.

Wendy Kalicharan was overwhelmed when the Band of the Year title was announced at City Hall, San Fernando last Thursday.

"It is an awesome feeling. I am elated by our victory. We were nearly sold out before the President confirmed that he would play mas in San Fernando with us. It was a good idea to live the culture in San Fernando," she said.

She was also a winner in past National Queen of The Bands competitions.

Kalicharan took the title in 1997 with her presentation Caribbean Blue which was designed by Gregory Medina and Chris Santos.

She won the San Fernando Queen title on seven occasions, while Aaron Kalicharan won the Carnival King title in San Fernando in 2000 with his presentation Triumph & Glory.

In 2009 Aaron Kalicharan also won with his presentation Spirit of The Ocean.

In 2003 both Aaron and Wendy created history by becoming the first mother and son to win the King & Queen of the Bands titles in the same year in San Fernando.

The band has performed for the French and Brazilian Embassies, Carifesta Games, Sport Aid, the President of India, President of Zambia, Fifth Summit of the Americas and Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Kalicharan and Associates has outfitted many Miss Trinidad & Tobago queens with carnival costumes for The Miss Universe and Miss World pageants.

And for the past ten years the band has been involved with the Tourism Drive Thrust at the Cruise Ship Complex in Port of Spain.

Kalicharan and Associates' seven consecutive winning presentations:

2013 - Rise of the Olympians

2012 - We Going Carnival

2011 - Colours of Light

2010- Outta D Rainforest

2009- Spectrum of the Sea

2008- Tribal Explosion

2007- D'Stage