Last update: 09-Dec-2013 1:43 am
Monday, December 09, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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IP reinvents band launches
Mas band launches in T&T might never be the same following the creative coup Island People (IP) Mas was able to pull off at the premiere of its Carnival 2014 portrayal titled The Whole–Magic, Mystery and Marvel on August 27. The Lord Kitchener Calypso Auditorium at The National Academy for The Performing Arts (NAPA) on Frederick Street in Port-of-Spain was the venue for the presentation of the band’s ninth Carnival collection, through which it seemed the band was able to renew consumer confidence in the waning brand. IP officials opted to re-imagine the way works of mas were presented by moving away from the party-centred concept and instead offer hundreds of savvy, sophisticated and intelligent thrill-seekers this classy option. Guests seemed to love it! They then went across to the Zen nightclub for the after party.
The evening opened with cocktails before invitees were ushered to their seats to witness the marvel and magic contained in this unveiling at NAPA. Since doors to the state-of-the-art facility were opened, the venue has been host to many prestigious events. There have been steelpan concerts and calypso productions, too, and even theatrical productions, as well as, award ceremonies. But never had a band launch been held, until now. Delivering another collection of steamy designs, the IP team christened the venue with its brand of beauty and pageantry released in three parts. First up was mystery which contained pieces titled Awakening (rising from sleep), Dovev (whispering truth) Nahimana (that which is mystic). Magic which featured Zulimar (the blue ocean), Vadimas (knowing of all magics) and Manifest (readily perceived) came next before closing the pretty mas segment with Marvel. Life (a capacity for growth), Auric (the illuminated), Absolute (everything, totality), Tia Nissi (divine birth) and Qu’elle Marveille (What Marvel) were the designs contained therein.
Kudos goes out to Jean-Claude Cournand of the 2 Cents Movement for his effective delivery of the monologue A Wine Could Change Your Life! The piece was conceptualised by the Island People Mas Creative Team. In its performance he connected well with the NAPA crowd and engaged in comical and well-placed exchanges with the audience that gave a clear outline as to what the theme just might engender. Between the mas came an eclectic mix of pan, East Indian dance, choral singing, rhythm section and even hip-hop too. While Cournand’s class act seemed well placed on the programme it seemed the producers struggled to find a seamless fit for the other artistic elements which in the end seemed detached from the programme.
Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas in delivering greetings underscored that Carnival was one festival that gave all segments of society a sure place. He went on to laud Island People Mas’ commitment to mas citing that mas’ was a business. He said: “There are over 85 T&T-styled Carnivals around the world. In places like Tampa (Florida), Phildelphia and Nigeria. They are calling upon T&T for the craftsmanship and their creativity.” Internationally, he said, countries were also viewing mas as a platform for unity.
IP director Dane Lewis explained the band’s new concept. “We wanted to do something different, focusing on the costumes for this part of it; focus on what we are doing for Carnival. The presentation had to be the focal point. There has never been a band launch in NAPA.” He admitted that settling on this approach was not without its challenges and that the only way for the team to overcome it was by agreeing that they had to overcome accepting the norm. “Before, there was party pollution and noise pollution. We have been asking over the years, how we could be different and would people like it? Will they be satisfied? But we had to be brave. We are getting very positive feedback. The system is still virgin. It was not an inexpensive production. We had over 100 performers plus technical staff,” Lewis said.
He lauded the work of the band’s creative director Marlon Grant for his conviction to never stop dreaming. “He is the one who would have developed the theme. We feel passionate about mas and the people’s enjoyment. We wanted people to understand how we feel about them. We love you and we appreciate you.” The IP team’s approach to their band launch got the thumbs up from president of the National Carnival Band’s Association (NCBA) David Lopez who described the world premiere of The Whole–Magic, Mystery, Marvel as “great.” “Very impressive! It was one of the first. I consider it to be a game changer. It was very impressive for me. It was a show. Using NAPA to launch a Carnival band was great. Once you say NAPA, you bring a different feeling to the unveiling; the storyline and manner in which it was presented. You had an opportunity to sit and look at costumes and go to the after party if you choose to.”
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