Bands of the year

Essiba Small previews the mas bands of T&T Carnival 2012

  • K2K – Dead Sea – Designed by Karen and Kathy Norman. Photograph by Iconic Image Studio/Sancho Francisco
  • X – Polytrickx – Designed by Darren Cheewah. Photograph by Sarita Rampersad
  • TRIBE - Sun City - Designed by Peter Elias. Photograph by Kerron Riley
  • Bliss – Thailand – Designed by Monique Nobrega. Photograph by Kerron Riley
  • Legacy – Flight – Designed by Mike Antoine. Photograph by Richard Cook

If you didn’t get the memo, it’s probably too late. Many Carnival bands have been sold out since last September (never mind some wannabe masqueraders are waiting in the wings for chance costumes to become available).

We scanned some of the popular mas bands and some new ones to see what they’re offering for 2012 and the extra goodies they’re putting out to satisfy their faithful masqueraders and tempt new ones.

You’d think you were reading a travel brochure from the titles of this year’s Carnival presentations. Bandleaders are jetting off to foreign lands, albeit only in their imagination. In Ivan Kalicharan’s We Going Carnival, the bandleader portrays carnivals around the world. Tribe’s Take Me To and Bliss’s Destination Bliss also take masqueraders on magic-carpet rides.

Also trending: wings! Look out for them in presentations from Spice Mas, Harts, Island People and Legacy, which states the obvious in its presentation Flight.

Carnival 2012 will also see the return of the cape (who knew?). Capes were once a staple in Carnival costumes, and this year capes of varying colours and lengths, glossy and glittery, are on offer.

See them starring in some sections of Harts and Island People’s Heroes.

Brian MacFarlane, Band of the Year winner once again in 2011, is bringing a band with a difference, as ever. His Sanctification: In Search Of features the colours of the T&T national flag, red, white and black, and is a commentary on the state of the country. “We need a cleansing,” says MacFarlane. “We need a sanctification of human hearts.”

A new band that we’re tipping as one to watch is K2K, some of whose costumes are featured in our cover photo.


Ivan Kalicharan We Going Carnival

One of south Trinidad’s most noted Carnival bandleaders, Ivan Kalicharan has been producing his mas band since 1983. He has won the band of the year for 16 of those years.

We Going Carnival will feature eight sections, including Brazil, Italy and New Orleans. Weewee trucks (portable toilets), premium drinks and food are some of the perks Kalicharan masqueraders enjoy.


Bliss Bliss Destination

An offshoot of the band Tribe, Bliss came together in 2009 after Tribe found masqueraders wanted the same experience in a smaller band.

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Sections include Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Monaco and Waikiki.

Masquerader perks include security, mobile cool zones and premium drinks and eats.


Tribe Take Me To

This year’s band features sections that include Cancún, Fiji, Johannesburg, Rio and St Tropez.

Tribe is a vibrant brand that attracts like people, including a who’s who from the local entertainment scene and even from Hollywood. Perks include lunch on Carnival Tuesday, a shuttle service to the band, private security and premium drinks.


Strictly Alternative Mas X

X is the unknown quantity, so it’s an appropriate title for the first band designed by artist Darren Cheewah, a Caribbean Beat illustrator. But the “X” was originally inspired by the band’s ten sections.

Cheewah wanted to say something about the state of Trinidad & Tobago, but he’s also aiming to produce “a sexy sailor mas”.

When Cheewah and bandleader Peter Samuel, a veteran masman, say their band is all-inclusive, they don’t just mean they’re providing food, drinks and cooldown trucks. They want to cater to everyone, tall, short, fat or thin, as their promotional photos demonstrate (you can find them on Facebook under X).


Rosalind Gabriel 50 Years G-Old

Easily the queen of children’s Carnival, Rosalind Gabriel has been making children’s costumes since 1977, and brought out her first children’s band in 1989.

A veteran who has worked with the likes of Peter Minshall, Cito Velasquez and Wayne Berkeley, she has dominated the Kiddies Carnival competitions, with both her individuals and bands, over the years.


K2K Alliance The Waters: Seas of Consciousnsess

Twin designers Karen and Kathy Norman aim to preserve elements of traditional mas design and concepts by incorporating storytelling and unique designs with a high-fashion element. Their sophisticated, glamorous costumes cater to “the masquerader who is looking to be part of a bigger story, a moving canvas of artistic expression”.


Harts Pantheon: Wrath of the Gods

Harts is a band with a lot of history, started by Lil and Edmond Hart in 1961. Three of their six children, Thais, Luis and Gerald, carried on the Hart legacy.

Pantheon: Wrath of the Gods features 12 sections, including Poseidon, Nyx (Night) and Hercules.

Revellers enjoy perks such as the largest security force on the road, a medical team led by ER doctors, “wet me down” showers to cool down, and an official paparazzi photographer.

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Find the bands online:

Bliss blisscarnival.com

D’Krewe www.dkrewecarnival.com

Harts www.hartscarnival.com

Genesis www.carnivalgenesis.com

Island People www.islandpeoplemas.com

K2K k2k-carnival.com


Legacy www.legacycarnival.com

MacFarlane www.macfarlanecarnival.net

Pulse 8 www.pulse8carnival.com

Tribe www.carnivaltribe.com

Trini Revellers www.trinirevellersmas.com

Yuma yumavibe.com