Last year Dragons and RDR brought Curse of the Red Death, I thought that was a big theme, which might have been a little heavy for the designer to handle, however I did think there was a hint of great things to come if time and thought was well applied to future productions.
Up comes Carnival 2009, and the minds at Dragons come up with another, challenging yet impressive theme, ‘El Dorado, the city of gold’.
What a thing.
Now I have never heard of Chicomoztoc before now myself, El Dorado the City of Gold however, yes, so if Chicomoztoc is another name
for the ancient mythical (because they have not found it yet)
city, then so be it, you live and you learn.
A little rese
arch did reveal the theory on the seven caves or seven cities of gold theory and I thought cool, they on the mark with this one. And I like the idea...
BUT THE BAND DOESN’T CUT IT!
While the theme and concept seems to be well thought out the execution is piss poor.
The concept of the city of gold is old, very old, almost
every year a band looks at the tribes of central and South America to depict in Carnival. Just last year South Connections did ‘Aztec,
with great success. There are hundreds of books, movies and the internet that can provide thousands of pictures of Central American Indian art, architecture, and people, that if needed a child can gain influence from to come up with a concept to properly match such a theme.
So what happed to the grown ups at Dragons?
My question is did the designer do any research at all???
I seriously doubt it.
Sadly these costumes carry next to nothing for the theme. Only the names of the sections point you in the right direction, one or two of the male costumes show a hint of research, but
unfortunately the designer has disappointedly sacrificed substance for style and cheaply ruined a potentially winning concept in the name of popularity. There are patterns and motifs that are unmistakably central American in design and would gave taken the band a long way in the
development of the theme.
Novice at best, these mas bands of today are destroying the very cultural integrity of the Diaspora with these insults to the creative history of Carnival, how can any outsider to Trini if not Caribbean culture take us seriously if so called designers and present day mas men do nothing but copy or make piss poor reproductions of what the popular big bands in Trinidad are doing year in year out.
And it seems to be getting worse.
Today we live in an economic climate that does not allow big spending for everyone, but this should not be an excuse for the creative bankruptcy, that Dragons and RDR dare to present for
the world to see. On the contrary the very roots of Carnival were borne out of hard times and
economic drought and it is from such conditions that creativity by necessity is hatched.
These bands and their designers should invest time in developing original creative expressions instead of making mas nothing but a boring repetitive joke an adding to the circus like reputation of the fraternity.
One of the first lessons in Mas that I was taught is to depict peoples culture or heritage with respect.
This presentation fails to do so, making a mockery out of an
ancient culture and mythology and in the process making a bigger mockery of West Indian culture and the history of the West Indian presence in London.
Think about it, in London there are Central and South Americans that are going to be on the streets on Carnival day thinking ‘is that supposed to be us...on any level, past present or future?’ or better yet how would you feel as a West Indian if we were depicted as much much less than what we were, are, or could ever be. What if we were depicted as a bunch of dunces that thought
everything on Earth was a bikini a couple of beads and any kind of feather...would that be a crap representation of us, an insult to our Islands and heritage, or will it be a true representation of a crap reality of what we have become?
This year the external powers that truly control the road on Carnival day, have increased the pressure on Notting Hill Carnival ever so slowly trying to control the spirit of Carnival if not Kill it off, and as I watch this presentation I can’t help but think, no wonder we are facing our own APOCALYPTO.
This is what it could have looked like with a little thought.