Thursday, February 25, 2010

McIntosh...A woman with a vision for mas

A little cut here and a little snip there, that’s how Ronnie and Caro’s Caroline McIntosh started to redesign her costumes as a teenager, playing mas in the now defunct Carnival bands Poison and Barbarossa. Caro, as she’s affectionately called, wanted to look different from her fellow masqueraders, even though they were in the same band. Little did she suspect then, that was the beginning of a fulfilling career in costume designing. “When my friends saw my costume, every year, they would want me to design their costumes too,” she says, with a laugh. With an eye for detail and a mind focused on perfecting her craft, the 36-year-old, who started playing mas at the tender age of eight with Peter Minshall’s Jungle Fever, has positively contributed to the local Carnival industry and she’s not about to take her foot off the gas.


Hat-trick
Fresh from celebrating a hat-trick in the Medium Band of the Year category, Caroline, along with husband and partner in mas, veteran soca artiste Ronnie McIntosh, wowed the judges on Carnival Monday and Tuesday with their presentation titled Tribute, in which they paid homage to legendary masmen, including George Bailey, Stephen Lee Heung, Wayne Berkeley, Edmund and Lil Hart and Peter Minshall. The band, which won the prestigious titles in 2008 and again in 2009, with their portrayals, De Gulf and Bakkanal, respectively, also captured this year’s Male Individual of the Year title, with the beautiful costume, D Head Hunter, portrayed by Keith Tinto. Caroline, who says she was “speechless and overwhelmed” by the win, is hoping that the three-year-old band, which she says provides its revellers with quality service and an excellent time on the road, will continue its winning streak next year and go for its forth consecutive 
Survivors

Already gearing up for that win, the woman with a vision for mas is forging ahead with the preparations for her C2K11 presentation, which she says will be called Survivors. She explains: “On Ash Wednesday, Ronnie, my mom and myself were sitting in the gallery, just reminiscing on Carnival 2009 and 2010 and all the things that we survived, such as the earthquake in Haiti, and I came up with the theme Survivor. “And we were all like, yeah, that’s it!”
Bikini and beads
Noting that she imports some of her materials from New York, as the “variety is not as wide here,” she defends what some have termed “bikini and beads mas,” saying, it’s all about what the people want. “We do try to do both kinds of costumes. We tried to put in the long skirts with no feathers for one of our sections but you know what happened? The masqueraders cut off all the fabric,” she says, laughing. “Ninety per cent of our masqueraders go for the bikini and beads and feathers. That’s what they call for, that’s our market, so we cater to them.” With no plans to enter the large band category in the future, as the band’s masqueraders are “content” with its more intimate size, Ronnie and Caro is indeed proving to be a force to be reckoned with for Carnival—and Ronald and Caroline McIntosh would have it no other way.


LEFT: Male Individual of the Year 2010, Keith Tinto, portrays D Head Hunter - Tribute to George Bailey, from Ronnie and Caro’s Tribute, on the Queen’s Park Savannah stage.
Editor’s note: Carline McIntosh is the first female Carnival designer/band leader to score a hat-trick in the Band of the Year competition..
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