Last update: 06-Dec-2013 8:12 am
Friday, December 06, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Genesis goes WILD for carnival 2014
Mas band Genesis International has gone Wild (Woman, Instinct, Love, Dominion). On September 22, the new brand was unveiled at Aria Lounge on Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook. That was also the venue for the world premier of its Carnival 2014 portrayal by the same name which featured nine sections. They were: Wild Fire, Amazonia Warrior, Apache, Savage, Lion, Tiger, Snow Wolf, Zebra, Black American Vulture. Wild, it seems, has maintained the rich Genesis touch of presenting costumes that actually live up to the theme. The event began with the usual hobnobbing and cocktails and then the creations were revealed. Nina McKenzie was in the designer’s seat. McKenzie is arguably one of the best in creating works of mas but one of the least recognised. However, this has not impaired her vision.
Models took the spotlight and showcased the costumes much to the delight of patrons. After the creations were revealed, guests went into party mood with the performance of Imij and Co.
Merging the name of the band with the theme was not coincidental, however. It was a deliberate marketing strategy, said bandleader Ian McKenzie. “When we decided to rebrand, Wild fell right in line with what we wanted. We always wanted to go wild. We are celebrating ten years as a brand, on our own. In life, Genesis is in the beginning, but you cannot stay in the beginning,” he said.
In tribute to Genesis International’s contribution to mas in T&T, and to signify the growth the band is reputed to have achieved, Wild will register in the category large—up from medium—for the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) Parade of Bands Competition 2014. Imij and Co’s relationship with Wild did not end at the close of the launch at the weekend. The band is expected to contribute significantly to Wild’s impact on the road, as well as Bose Sound System. In an effort to help keep the name Wild on everyone’s lips, the mas leadership has commissioned Nigel Rojas of Orange Sky fame to compose a theme song that Imij and Co will record and perform.
After three decades in the business of mas, McKenzie shows no signs of tiring. “Mas is a passion for us. I am in Carnival for 30 years, from Savage to Barbarossa, Legends and Genesis and now Wild. Because of the experience we have in mas we do all our costumes locally. I believe we are good at it. “We are going to focus on design and production to keep the quality control. We have designated persons to handle sound and marketing. It’s not about Nina and Ian. It’s about a team. It’s about Wild. There are high profile people who have come on board. They would not have come on board if we weren’t doing something right,” he said. “My wife does not get the credit she deserves. Most of the designs she comes with, designers come with it the following year. We like to stick with the theme and not lose the essence of the mas itself. The only thing that keeps her going is me. I am the one who gives her the inspiration. Left up to her, she would have done away with it already.”
The band’s leadership is considering entering the King and Queen of Carnival Competition, but they made it clear such a move would not be taken at the risk of taking away from the band and the expectations of its clientele. This, in addition to the financial support producing a King and Queen would require. “It’s difficult to attract sponsorship, but the relationship I have developed over the years got people to help me. As a businessman you have to do what the people want; if they want beads and bikinis. I am giving people what they want and still be different. You can do bikini and beads but it must represent what you are playing. We have costumes for everybody. The young and the young at heart! “It has to mean something. If you are playing snakes, there should be something like a snake. If you are playing ocean, same thing! But I am seeing people doing the same thing and it is up to the media to talk about it. At the end of the day it is not easy to come with a theme every year and come with something different,” he said. While the cost associated with producing a mas band can be prohibitive, Mc Kenzie cited his business acumen as the contributing factor for his success to date. “I can’t tell you the cost of bringing out a large band. From time to time the cost could change. It could go up, it could go done. You get prices for material changing all the time. Sometimes things are cheaper here. Sometimes it is cheaper outside (internationally). The band is all-inclusive. It is not an easy task to bring out a band. You must have the experience.”
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