Friday, November 10, 2006

IMAGE NATION 07JUNGLE....a band with a lot to say!!

I checked out Imagenation's web site looking for some hot designs and found a document instead, 19 pages of reading, this band has a lot to say, and i must say i agree with a lot of it too, not all but a lot.
take a read

“Trinidad has produced one festival that has so caught the imagination of its multiracial people that they contribute voluntarily to its annual celebration at great personal cost and effort” (Hill, 1972).

Today, global forces make the world a ‘smaller place’ and identity is at an even greater premium. It has also been recognized that culture is one of the great identification marks of a people, as “Culture is no longer seen as a secondary subset of human reality but as a central ingredient of the quality of life, an overarching dimension that is essential not just to the preservation of identity but also to governance, citizenship, social cohesion and creativity” (Development and Culture, 1999). With this understanding, culture and one of its derivatives, the cultural industries, have become big business universally.

“Carnival as a cultural activity is not just about merriment, colourful pageantry, revelry and street theatre. Carnival is born out of the struggle of marginalized peoples to shape a cultural identity through resistance, liberation and catharsis” (Nurse, 1999).

Internationally, the Trinidad style Carnival is being seen as global, having spread with the migration of Caribbean peoples. Marginalized and in a strange land, Caribbean people used the Carnival that has its most powerful roots magnified in Trinidad, as a statement of identity “to plan an important sociopolitical and cultural role for the Caribbean Diaspora” (Nurse, 1999).

In Trinidad and to a lesser extent Tobago, Carnival still serves a myriad of purposes reflecting and magnifying the locals, but the economic side of the festival has never really been seen as serious and there is no real governmental policy to attend to this most national of festivals. Despite this lethargy, the Carnival “is first and foremost a national celebration … deeply enshrined in the hearts of its people” (Alleyne-Dettmers, 1998) and with downturns in traditional income earners, the Carnival has areas that could be of real growth to the economy. “The music industry … is largely a product of its Carnival” (Henry and Nurse, 1996) and Henry and Nurse have illustrated where the entertainment sector, driven through Carnival, could take the nation. Trinidad needs to maximize its strategic position in Carnival for the spiritual and economic benefit of the nation.

Research has shown that over 10% of the local populace takes an active part in Carnival as masqueraders, musicians, performers, artists and artisans. An even larger percentage vends and/or spectates, and after carnival 2006, the Tourism Minister Howard Chin Lee boasted that 50,000 people visited for Carnival. Those people spent over TT$200,000,000.00. However, most of these visitors have a Trinidadian/Tobagonian connection, as the festival has yet to penetrate non-traditional Carnival spaces. Further the travel and accommodation sectors are at capacity only at Carnival, and not for the rest of the year. There is obvious room for improvement.

Whilst people of Carnival persuasion have been able to make a year round living out of the various Carnivals held mainly from March to October, the real gains do not rebound to Trinidad’s benefit. There is no plan to take the Carnival beyond the normal confines and when it goes beyond these traditional borders, it is accidental; subsequently there is no sustainable development or long-term livelihood for locals. The short-term gains then dry up especially when the Carnival is over.

Also there is a lack of easily accessible archival and other data on Carnival, and this when coupled with little or ineffective carnival knowledge and education has led to stagnation in the design and manufacture of today’s costumes. Pat Bishop laments in the N.C.C’s 1997 Road Works magazine “ … that there could be some pretty bands in which the ladies wear rather more than a bikini adorned with two sequins.”

Masqueraders have been vocal in their complaints with some even rejecting the lack of value for money. In 2001, the steelbands were the main beneficiaries of the reversal, but the steelbands are still a lumbering giant, and by 2002, these people had to make different arrangements. And while for many years there was no real growth in the number of people ‘playing mas’, 2005 and 2006 saw increases in the number of costumes sold.

At present the market is re-inventing itself and new bands are coming unto the scene, but their focus remained on the ‘beads and bikinis’ and the prices of costumes continued to increase. For 2005, eight new mas bands entered the Carnival landscape. Two never made it on the road and three of the others have accumulated great financial losses. Of the eight, all except two chose to ‘play skimpy mas’. They were Phase Two steelband and Brian Mac Farlane’s ‘The Washing, by fire and water’. The latter was a poor imitation of Peter Minshall’s 1981 mas ‘The River’. ‘The Washing’ originally catered for 1500 masqueraders but had to settle for 800 players on the road, that number reached only by giving away some costumes.

Because of managerial problems on the road and complaints from clients, two other large bands, two-time band of the year winner ‘Trini Revellers’ and the new and slick ’Tribe’ have decided to cut back to the controllable number of 3000 mas players each, at least for Carnival 2006. This left 3000 people from 2005 out in the cold.

In 2006, the number of new bands grew by five new, with the largest number going to ‘Island People’ who took advantage of the displaced 3000 and Tribe ‘selling out’ their band in a couple of days. Further the government, through the National Aids Council gave Peter Minshall a TT$ 500,000.00 grant to bring a band, which he did in three weeks, and for the first time in Minshall history, his band was a medium sized one with only 600 masqueraders.

Peter Minshall, whose originality in mas thinking has led his work to be showcased at two summer and one winter Olympic games, a World Cup and a host of other non-Traditional Carnival sites seems to have lost his desire for Trinidad carnival again and Brian Mac Farlane has gone pointedly after Minshall’s ‘tribe’.

Over the last three Carnivals, 2P’s has shown their ability to design and produce ‘real mas’ where original costuming is paramount. This has redounded to 2P’S benefit and many people have suggested that 2P’s go it on its own. With Masquerade, 2P’s brings its own music, security, food and drink, does its own advertising inclusive of website, corporate identification and branding. For 2006 2P’s went on its own but a plethora of problems compounded by a lack of marketing left what as legendary king player, Roland St. George says, ‘the best designed band for Carnival 2006, vastly under subscribed’.
Image Nation will take all that was good in 2P’s, learning and leaving the rest behind.

Further, Carnival 2008 is the first week in February; the earliest Carnival has been or will ever be. This suggests that this is the time to move or wait until 2009. Most will agree that then is too late.
The move to individuality now, leaves at least one Carnival to get the house in pristine condition before the panic of an early and short season sets in.

“The whole Carnival thing permeates society at all levels, and it informs behaviour in very considerable ways. It mirrors society in the sense that all classes and ethnic notions of society…” (Ryan in Mason 1998)

In 2005 the number of adults playing mas increased. Approximately 80, 000 people ‘played mas’ on Carnival Tuesday, a figure that was static at 70,000 between 1994 and 2004, only growing for Carnival 2005 and then again in 2006. The local adult mas fraternity averaged 58 bands per year over the last three years, with 10 large bands – registered for over 1000 players – being the smallest category. (NCC, 2005) However, a number of steelbands following the Starlift Steel Orchestra model only has large band status on Carnival Monday. On the larger day, Tuesday, these same steelbands become a shadow of themselves. An interesting note is the Phase Two Pan Groove’s amalgamation with Invaders for a Monday/Tuesday presentation in 2005. That failed miserably and they did not hit the road for Carnival 2006. Moreover, ‘Woodbrook Playboyz’ amalgamated with Starlift, as the latter suffered a major splinter.

check it out your self they said a lot more...

Post a Comment

Share it.





Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Google+ Badge


This is MassassinnatioN




Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner