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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stephen Lee Heung dies at 93

Days after the launch of a book commemorating his work, veteran masman Stephen Lee Heung, 93, died on Monday night from pneumonia at St Clair Medical Centre. 
The book, We Kind ah People, by American judge and Carnival researcher Ray Funk
and local photographer George Tang, was launched on October 7 at the National Library, Port-of-Spain. Yesterday Lee Heung’s son, Shane, said: “Dad died of a chest infection. Mucus had developed in his lungs and he was having problems breathing properly. 

“Dad suffered a stroke in 1997 but was mobile afterwards with the aid of crutches and a cane. “After a while he simply gave up and stopped going out. The last time he went out was to attend Dimanche Gras in 2012.” Peter Minshall designed Lee Heung’s 1976 Band of the Year winner, Paradise Lost, the first band Minshall had designed. 
Yesterday he said: “There are bandleaders and then there are bandleaders. The current crop is blatantly into making money on the work that they had learnt from the likes of Stephen Lee Heung, who never ever lost the love of making mas. We have lost one of the great producers of classic Caribbean art.” Five-time Band of the Year winner Edmond Hart, now 91, said: “I am taken aback by Stephen’s death. We were very friendly and were in the same Lions club. 
“When I first produced mas, Stephen played one year with me. He and his wife, Elsie, and my wife, Lil, and I were regarded as the couples of mas. We worked together abroad on a number of occasions,” he added. Hart’s son, Luis, now leader of Harts International, added: “Stephen and Elsie were responsible for giving many of the big designers their first break in mas. He did so much for T&T Carnival and was a true pioneer. 
“Many of the people who began by collaborating with Stephen ended up being some of the greatest contributors to mas in terms of visual excellence. My parents and the Lee Heungs were Carnival’s mas couples. “They were close as they were couples dealing in mas, closer than the others, like George Bailey and Harold Saldenha.” The late Wayne Berkeley also designed some of Lee Heung’s winning bands and his producer Earl Patterson said:
“Stephen was one of the best bandleaders of all time. The type of person he was... he had a welcoming heart to everyone. “The first time we were really close was when we travelled to Dallas, Texas, with Wayne Berkeley’s band. We sat for hours during the day, playing rummy and bonding. “On our return to Trinidad we continued playing rummy at Stephen’s home on Alberto Street. I remember that he loved a fried breadfruit very much. 
“I want to express my deepest condolences to Shane and the family.” D Midas Associates leader/designer Stephen Dereck said: “Another one from the glory days has passed. “Artistes like us cannot forget the creations he gave us. Stephen was one of the founders of the bandleaders’ association and he was also one of the first people to tour abroad with our mas, going to Montreal for Expo ‘67.”
Shane Lee Heung said funeral arrangements would be announced later this week, with the funeral tentatively scheduled for next week.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Addicted Mas: ZERO-FIVE- FIFTY ;Synopsis.

On Sunday 15th of June the Mas division of Specialist Entertainment ADDICTED launched their section for NHC 2014 ‘ZERO- FIVE FIFTY’, and have now released pictures and synopsis for their 2014 presentation.

Check it out.

As we approach the 5oth year of this landmark on the British cultural landscape called the Notting hill carnival, and 5 years of the Addicted section partaking in this socio/ cultural titan of a celebration with Cocoyea, Addicted celebrates the past and present through the metallic lens of the future, in ZERO FIVE FIFTY.
 ‘Five years of Addicted, Fifty years of Notting hill Carnival’

Zero Five Fifty the theme and Storyline is inspired by the Afrofuturism movement.

The year is 2114 AD and a group of time travellers in search of the perfect multicultural society travel back through time to experience first-hand what Notting Hill Carnival was like in its historic 50th year of existence.
The Afrotek time machine transports the group to the heart of the festival in the legendary ADDICTED MAS section whose energy and symbolic golden lotus costume epitomised all achievement and enlightenment, the utopian existence the travellers were in search of... 
The future starts now.

ZERO FIVE FIFTY: The Golden Lotus.
 Design and inspiration
Because the lotus flower grows in murky muddy water, surfaces to bloom during the day, only to return to the murky depths of mud at night, cultures across the globe have identified the lotus with many aspects of life.
 In ancient Egypt it was associated with the sun, beauty, resurrection, and rebirth. In Buddhism it is a symbol of purity in mind speech and body, in Hinduism, beauty and spiritual awakening. It is on this premise that the designer S.A Armstrong saw inspiration in not only the petals of the lotus flower but also its life cycle.

It was 50 years ago out of the dark racially explosive period of the late 1950’s the Trinidad and Tobago's carnival culture made its first appearance in London.  By 1965 Mrs Rhaune Laslett O’Brian (1919 2002) a community activist and Trinidadian musician Mr Russ Henderson MBE started a street parade that became known as the Notting Hill Carnival.

Like the lotus the carnival grew out of the impoverished streets of post WW2 West London and the social murk of racism and social ostracising to blossom like the lotus flower into London’s most popular social symbol of creativity, beauty and multiculturalism. 

The costumes are made up of three colours.

Gold the 50th anniversary is called the golden anniversary or golden jubilee and in recognition and of this milestone year the costumes main colour is gold.
Silver: the hints of silver in the costumes symbolise not only the 5 years of the Addicted presence in Notting hill but also the chrome of the steel pan the instrument that literally paved the way with music for Europe's biggest Caribbean carnival to take place.
Purple / violet is thought to be the highest chakra in the human body and symbolises creativity beauty and inspiration, the very building blocks of our carnival, it is also considered to be the colour of  royalty, nobility and power.

S.A. Armstrong
Addicted Designer.

Zero Five Fifty will be on the road with the band Cocoyea on bank holiday Monday August 25th 2014.
For more information contact: Melmia Innis , Juniour Innis, or Specialist Entertainment

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