A new mas band is set to portray West Africa and at the same time create a paradigm shift to what has come to be known as “beads and bikini” mas.
The band, De Core T&T (sister company to De Core international based in London), will portray ‘Reclamation’. Its focus will be on West Africa with eight ethnic earth tones as well as vibrant blue, yellow and green hues.
The sections include Entertainers, Musicians, Artizans, Gift Bearers, The Diviner (male and female), Warrior Priestess (warrior male) and Dancers.
The band’s spokesman, Earl Thompson, said the materials used in the costumes are authentic and came from Nigeria. He said the mas has been properly researched to produce a noteworthy and authentic product. Thompson said the band is made up of an organisation of individuals who are concerned about the direction local mas has taken and intends to change that.
Thompson said the concept and inspiration for the 2014 portrayal came after visiting Nigeria. He noted that the essence of the diverse culture and practices were captured in each of the sections.
“I go to Nigeria every year and what is interesting is that all of the costumes come from Nigeria. The horse whips, the talking drums, the sections decorated with cowrie shells are all authentic. The mas was well researched. We are displaying a Durbar cerebration called by a chief to display the excellence of the tribes. Reclamation is reclaiming our wealth, our creativity and our energy,” Thompson said.
He described the costumes as relevant. He said the mas camp, which is located in Belmont, also seeks to eradicate the negative stigma on the community.
“There is a negative stigma attached to Belmont and we are trying to change that, this is why our sections are relevant. We could have been situated in Woodbrook or anywhere else but the reason why we are concentrating on Belmont is because Belmont was one of the known slave populations in Trinidad. We are strong on the belief that we need to reclaim that space in a positive way and ensure that our offering is one of substance and meaning to the people. We want to reintroduce standards to the Carnival. We also want to reintroduce that creative energy that we once had as an offering to the world,” Thompson said.
He said the all-inclusive band caters to both young and old masqueraders.“Everybody who has seen the costumes have shown interest, however we are still hearing that it’s too much clothes. People get so accustomed to the concept of the beads and bikini type of mas. But we want to put back clothes on people. People have become too comfortable with playing themselves instead of playing mas. But we will be playing mas in every sense of the word. We want people to start wearing creative costumes again. We have quite a few young people interested in the band. We are hoping to bring out a medium band so we will see how it goes,” Thompson said.
Registration for ‘Reclamation’ continues at the mas camp at 17 Altorf Street, Belmont.