One month ago, mother of two and businesswoman, Ria Sookdeo, kissed her children goodbye as she dropped them off at school.
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Bands give fans a treat
Despite the fears about the effect of the recession expressed by band leaders going into the Carnival season, the streets of San Fernando overflowed with masqueraders yesterday.
With bands such as the Kalicharans’ Call of Duty registering 1,500 participants, the Parade of Bands was quite a show as revellers in their vibrantly coloured costumes filled High Street.
The first band to cross the judging point on High Street in front of Scotiabank at 10.30 am was medium band Southern Mas Associates with A Tribal Bliss, designed by Roger Ramkissoon.
Storming the stage to the tune of Machel Montano’s Waiting on the Stage, the front-runner for the Vibe CT 105FM/TUCO Road March title, masqueraders showed off their fancy Indian costumes in fine style to the delight of spectators.
One Barrackpore mother, who brought her four children to see the festivities, expressed joy that the bands had come out in their numbers.
“I was so happy to see the quality of the mas this year. This is the first time I am bringing the children to see it, but I will definitely bring them again,” she said.
Up next was the Nation People, with The Way it Was, another fancy Indian band.
Although the band was small in number, the revellers were not small on energy as they jumped, waved and wined until their time was up.
The Kalicharans’ Reigning Band of the Year followed next with their presentation Call to Duty.
Portraying warriors defending the land, the band began with an intricate performance, complete with sword-wielding women and back-flipping muscle men.
Not to be outdone, the band Fireworks brought ribbon-twirling belly dancers as part of their presentation of Tribu: The Forgotten People.
At 4 pm, a total of seven bands had crossed the High Street judging point stage.
At the judging point at the Southern Academy for Performing Arts, Lionel Jagessar’s presentation of The Hunting Party crossed the stage in the morning period.
In an interview after the presentation, Lionel Jagessar Jr said although the recession had affected the turnout of masqueraders, those who were loyal to the band still participated.
“We were worried and we did see a slight reduction, but we have so many people who are loyal to the band that we were able to pull off a great presentation,” he said.
He said while the band hopes to nudge the Kalicharans out of the top spot for Band of the Year in San Fernando, plans are already afoot for next year’s King and Queen competition.
“My brother and I have already begun discussing the King and Queen for next year and what the band will be like.”
Andrew Kalicharan expressed a similar sentiment in an interview, saying the band had been able to attract 1,500 masqueraders.
Regrello: New judging points needed
Convenor of Carnival in San Fernando and deputy mayor, Junia Regrello, says although High Street offers the best viewing of mas for spectators, its uphill slope tires masqueraders too quickly.
Speaking to the T&T Guardian during the Parade of Bands yesterday, Regrello said the dilemma was to find a point where the bands and spectators could be easily accommodated.
“High Street is the best in terms of the space afforded to masqueraders and spectators, but it’s the slope of the hill that makes it difficult,” he said.
“We’re trying to find somewhere that offers us what High Street does, without the congestion of Coffee and Cipero Streets.”
Despite his concerns, Regrello said he was happy to see mas return to High Street.
“I think High Street is making its comeback in terms of popularity for viewing mas,” he said, gesturing to the spectators lining the streets.