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More than bikinis, beads in South mas

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Masqueraders from the defending band of the year in San Fernando Ivan Kalicharan portrays Beats for the judges on High Street, during Carnival celebrations on Tuesday evening. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH

For masqueraders, spending hours in the sun is all part of the Carnival experience, but for spectators in San Fernando waiting hours before a band passed was a bit frustrating. Hundreds gathered at the three judging points for the 9 am start for the parade of the bands but it was not until 10.30 am when Fyzabad band Southern Mas Associates made an appearance before the judges at High Street, did the festivities start.



For those at the National Academy for Performing Arts, South Campus, they had to shelter in their vehicles, under trees, umbrellas, newspapers and even bandanas. At 12.30 pm, Fireworks Promotion/Trini Fever Crew reached the judges and then the action began. For hours, the only glimpse of mas were those masqueraders who were hustling to get to their respective mas camps, while others rushed to join the bands on the road.


Although many patrons complained about the tardiness, once the colour, creativity and the revelry started, many had forgotten their discontentment. Many bands had well-planned presentations and it was not only about bikini and beads clad women wining on the road. 


Defending band of the year Ivan Kalicharan mas band did not disappoint as their presentation of Beats lit up spectators eyes with not only a variety of colours, but the associated theatrics. With nine sections in the bands, their portrayals of the various genres of music together with the dances, entertained the crowd. With beats such as Soca, Chutney, Samba, Jazz and Baroque, the champs made a strong bid to retain their title.


The competition was stiff, however, as Fireworks Promotion/Trini Fever Crew had some tricks of their own with their portrayals of Mysteries Beneath. A band that has been growing in numbers and style over the past years, their theme represented the colourful elements of the ocean. Starting their performance with a well-choreographed dance of creatures in the sea, they were able to represent the Royal Jelly Fish, Dragon Shark, Lion Fish, Lost Treasure among others things. 


Southern Mas Associates and Lionel Jagessar and Associates showed that Indian Mas remained relevant with their creative use of patterns and colours, while Legall and Friends showcased the sexuality and attractiveness of modern mas. 



By the time 2.30 pm, some of the other bands were now leaving their camps, while at the same time more spectators started to flood the streets. Despite the lack of funding for this year’s celebration, the parade went on with few problems, except for an incident where police attempted to wreck a truck equipped with a generator for the judges tent. The incident held up the parade for almost 30 minutes before senior police officers intervened and allowed the show to continue. 


While parading on High Street, one female masquerader escaped serious injury when a sign bearing the Catwalk logo dislodged from the building, hitting her on the back. While there was a good mixture of present and past soca selections on the road, Machel Montano’s Ministry of Road reigned supreme. 


It was a toss up for second place between Kerwin Dubois’ Too Real, Farmer Nappy’s Big People Party and Mr Killa’s Rolly Polly. Although Ministry of Road was more popular on the day, Rolly Polly created the most action with full figured women grabbing the attention whenever the song played.


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