First wins for new King, Queen
History was created for mas engineer Brian MacFarlane on Sunday, when his stunning King and Queen of Carnival costumes were adjudged winners at the 2009 Dimanche Gras, dubbed the Greatest Show on Earth. The victories for Kadaffi Romney, 44, who portrayed Manzandaba In Flight, and Stephen Alexis, with his depiction, Ndlovu In Search, from MacFarlane’s band Africa—Her People, Her Glory, Her Tears, were their first at Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain.
It was also the first time MacFarlane had captured both the king and queen titles in one night. Last year, MacFarlane walked away with the King of Carnival crown with his presentation Pandemic Rage, portrayed by Jhawhan Thomas. Romney, one of nine queens, earned a total of 424 points, seven ahead of her main rival, Tamara Alleyne Gittens, who portrayed Fairy Dust. Pamela Gordon placed third with First Lady of the Chinese Court, scoring 397 points.
Alexis chalked up 436 marks, edging out his toughest competitor, Curtis Eustace’s Apollo’s Lust, who scored 428 points, followed by Glen Turnbull, who depicted Flight of D’ Golden Sun Lord, with 423 points. Gracing the stage at the start of the competition were the queens, followed by the kings. Suzanne Low, the tenth queen, had to drop out of competition at the 11th hour, because of problems with her costume, All That Jazz. Romney, a newcomer to the stage, displayed grace, poise and charm, carrying a shimmering, golden-coloured bird on her back, as six female African dancers, armed with calabashes, performed a tribal dance to the sounds of pulsating African drums.
Alexis, portraying a lion’s head with glittering, beady eyes, was delayed for a few minutes because of the gusty winds that blew from east to west, as MacFarlane watched from afar, at times getting nervous and uneasy. When the right moment came, the beautiful lion slowly walked on stage with his flowing mane as the sounds of the African drums and its dancers brought the costume and spectators to life. There were loud shrieks and applause from the audience, as Alexis carried the 200-pound costume effortlessly and with elegance.
MacFarlane, who was not at the Savannah when the results were announced, heard the news at his mas camp shortly after midnight, while he tied up some loose ends for yesterday’s Parade of the Bands, in Port-of-Spain. “ I just couldn’t believe it,” said Mac-Farlane, basking in the glory of his success. “It’s fantastic,” he gushed, as band members screamed, popped drinks and danced in celebration. “Our hard work has paid off. It did not go in vain,” an elated MacFarlane continued. MacFarlane heaped praises on God for blessing him with immense creativity and talent. He also thanked his mas camp crew, but more importantly Romney and Alexis, who proved to him that nothing was impossible. MacFarlane said his hopes were dashed when Alexis was delayed at the entrance of the stage.
“I became a bit concerned, because the wind was disrupting Stephen. But he waited until the breeze died down and like a true lion, went for the kill. “It’s nice to know that mas is still alive. We have to bring back traditional mas in the country. We need to get away from the bikini and beads, which have dominated our Carnival.” Though he was on a winning streak, MacFarlane said he still had a long way to go. “I still have a lot more stories to tell and show our people and the world in our Carnival.” Having won his first crown, Alexis said this would give him a lot of inspiration.