Mas band Tribe is reputed for generating absolute party vibes on the streets of Port-of-Spain on Carnival days for the past eight years. The revelry, the gaiety and splendour of masqueraders in costume, both in and out of their sections, mixed in with the excessive frolicking to the sounds of pulsating and infectious soca contribute to the wondrous moments had by all under its banner and eventually lead to that ultimate experience. But Dean Ackin, chief executive officer of Tribe, has told the T&T Guardian of his intent step up the excitement for its ninth consecutive portrayal during next year’s national festival. The band has committed to compete in the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) Parade of the Bands Competition 2013 and challenge Brian Mac Farlane and Associates for the George Bailey Band of the Year title. Tribe’s portrayal is titled Butterflies, Beast and Bacchanal, with creations inspired by Peter Minshall’s 1982 portrayal titled Papillion. In addition to the Band of the Year quest, Tribe also intends to feature its first in-house King and Queen of Carnival contenders.
Traditionally, Tribe allowed creative people desirous of competing as individuals but were unattached, to register for competition under its banner for this aspect of the NCBA programme. “If there is any year that Tribe should compete for the Band of the Year should be 2012. I say so because the response from the masqueraders and the feedback from all quarters regarding the presentation and the costuming has been one of the best, if not the best that we have had since we’ve been around. I think the theme is well represented…the costumes represent the characters very well that is the butterflies–the women and of course the men are the dragon. They have dragon wings and dragon heads,” he said.
Ackin added, “It’s a year where our masqueraders get to play in character and be in character. That’s where Carnival came from so many decades ago, when slaves would play characters and mock their masters. Carnival is about character playing and I think this is one year we’ll be doing that.” Tribe launched its portrayal for Carnival 2013 on July 21, with section such as: Admiral, Dagger tail, Madagascan Sunset, Regal Emperor, Issora, Monarch, Azure, Kallimini, Papilio, Peacock, Crimson Sphinx, Jezebel and Ray of Sun.
The design team consist of Ruana Booker, Nina Alcantara, Maria Jute, Anya Ayoung-Chee, Solange Shaw-Gopaul, Monique Nobrega, Lana Nobrega, Gail Cabral, Melissa James, Valmiki Maharaj, Gina Maingot and Douglas John. “We had another theme initially, but I was going across old Carnival presentations and the ones that had the biggest impact on Carnival theatrically and on the road. Papillion was one of those themes,” said Ackin. He said Tribe was no stranger to pulling off quality presentations at its launches and would be comfortable presenting it at the Queen’s Savannah stage. He recalled the first class presentation the band pulled two weekends ago, and was willing to attempt a similar feat in a less controlled environment. “It wasn’t just a catwalk that our walked down to show the costumes, but rather the whole set design and of course the dragon that was played by Douglas John and the gargoyles that open the doors. It was all about the story about the Kingdom of Bacchanal where the butterflies reside and the dragons are the protector of their butterflies. We were able to carry out a very spectacular theatrical presentation. We have the talent and the skills to do so.
This year (2013) we would make the effort to transfer what you saw on that stage at our launch to the Savannah stage and we are very willing to do that,” he said.
Tribe has to pass three major judging points along the official parade route to first qualify for a shot at the title according to the rules spelt out by the NCBA. They are: Ariapita Avenue, South Quay and of course the Queen’s Park Savannah. Therefore, the band cannot afford a repeat of this year’s calamity which saw its marshals veer the band off course in an attempt to avoid one of the congestion points and was penalised by the NCBA and denied from crossing the Savannah stage. “Carnival is really for the masqueraders. If they are up to it (competing) then we will do it. At the end of the day, the masqueraders are the ones Tribe is going to have to depend on to bring home the title,” said Ackin. Akin says there has been no negative fallout from Tribe’s failure to cross the Savannah stage during the NCBA Parade of Bands Competition 2012. “The mas brand suffered no fracture in its relationship with loyal revellers over the issue. In fact, confidence in the brand continues to grow.”