HOW

TO

PLAY

MAS'

 

 

Trinidad Carnival 2017

Mas

HOW THE REBELLION BEGAN...

The seeds of the rebellion were planted long, long ago, when Keir and Angeli stopped playing mas’ with the “big” bands because it came with an even bigger price tag. Keir roamed the streets band-less (or perhaps, with every band instead of one) and Angeli began to produce her own section, eventually being pulled aboard as operations manager for one band. During this time, they both dealt with their own woes.

Keir was a girl who loved Carnival and had a friend in every band, because no one band could provide what they all needed. She had only to listen if she wanted to know what was wrong with mas: talk about expensive costumes (well yes, daz why she stopped playing) and costumes that only falling apart on the road (well yes, daz why she used to glue and stick and tack her own costume). She heard about the bands that too posh (yuh could only get een if yuh fair and yuh skinny or yuh know somebody) and the ones that not posh enough (de security only wining on masqueraders!) and more… so much more.

Angeli, in the meantime, was having her own problems on the production side of mas. You charging too much for this costume, it costing too much to make that one. Production line not checking for quality on this section, how come you don’t carry more sizes in that option? Why this costume so so skimpy? Why this one have so much cloth? The list of contraries and contradictions went on and on and then band politics (aka politricks) start to chain up people head until Angeli left band operations behind in vexation and frustration.

Thus, the seeds of the rebellion were planted… and they stayed dormant a time, until one day, Keir decided that she couldn’t go back to playing mas'. She had to make mas. Knowing she had little to no artistic talent, she reached out to Ayodhya – her long-time friend and a talented artist.

Ayo was a different kind of mas’ man. His first Kiddies Carnival experience at the age of 4 had instilled in him a tremendous hatred of both the hot sun and the abrasive music that characterised the festival, scarring him for life. Ole’ Mas, J’ouvert, traditional characters, Minshall’s ‘Tapestry’, rhythm sections; these resonated with his love of costume, mythology, and primality, but ultimately their absence from contemporary mas only fuelled his disenchantment.

But, after designing Lilliput Children’s Theatre’s Carnival band in 2014, (eventually producing the original artwork for Roland St George’s winning Carnival King, “Ahtwajé” in 2015) a whole new world was opening up before his very eyes. So, when Keir came to Ayo to talk about makin’ mas’, he was all in.

Together, they came to an agreement on the philosophy they wanted their work to embody, and approached Angeli to consider producing a section with them.

This led to a several week long, on and off conversation about different bands, trends and Carnival in general, eventually listing the litany of miseries that they had all experienced. By the time this list came out, all three soon-to-be-rebels were adamant about addressing them in their own section… but the question remained… what band out there embodied the same philosophy? What band out there would follow these principles?  The answer was obvious – NONE.

Daryl had been listening to the complaints all along and put forward a different idea: “Why not have your own band?” he said to Angeli, “Sit down and work it out and I will support you.”

Now, Daryl was a rebel himself in many other ways (just see his biography), and he found that their goals and desires resonated with him. He offered his services and experience to the others and thus the final piece fell into place and the Rebellion was born…