|BEST MAS |
By LARA PICKFORD-GORDON Wednesday, March 9 2011
THEY CAME, they trampled, they stomped as the Queen’s Park Savannah stage beckoned Carnival revellers, from far and wide, local and foreign, to “come to meh.” The Carnival revelry climaxed yesterday as thousands of masqueraders crossed the big stage.
The pretty mas came out in full regalia and other types of portrayals also came out in full gear to parade before the judges and earn points in the parade of the bands competition. It would be an understatement to say that revellers enjoyed themselves. There was no shortage of antics before the large audience in the Grand Stand and North Stand as participants showed their appreciation for the return of the big stage. Male masqueraders were seen rolling on the stage and even doing pushups, females got down on hands and knees and wined.
There were 26 mini, 23 small, 20 medium and ten large bands registered. Eight steelbands were registered to be judged in the “best costumed” for Tuesday.
The parade got off to a prompt start with the national anthem being played at 7.55 am. The first band and also the first medium band crossing the stage was ‘Just Friends’ with the presentation, “Dancing with the Stars.” It was followed by D Harvard Revellers Inc Ltd’s “D Latin Flava” which was led by its Queen,“Chia - The Goddess” played by Avernell Johnson.
The first big band crossing before 9 am was Harts with its 2011 presentation, “Plant Rock.”
Leading the band on stage was a group of tassa drummers before a music truck was alongside the stage. Machel Montano’s “Advantageous” was the tune of choice as the band known for its beatuful players came on stage led by section leaders including Miss Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam and second runner-up in Miss World 2008, Gabrielle Walcott. Fitzwilliam’s costume created an impression as it was a full length dress made of black mesh covered with copper applique. Her headpiece comprised large coloured feathers.
Also being played as masqueraders crossed was, “Feting for Days”, from Michelle Xavier and the band Imij and Co. The band had 17 sections crossing and took just over half and hour to to do so.
The band Pulse 8 followed with “Out of the Woods” but it was not registered for competition.
Traditional mas was not to be left out as the sixth band – a mini band, comprised a group of minstrels. Simply Cultural presented, “If I were a minstrel”, and the players were dressed in bright red suits, blue waistcoats, straw hats and white painted faces.
The second large band crossing the stage was Bliss with, “The Warrior”, which comprised nine sections. Among its players was Miss TT Universe 2010, La Toya Woods who played in the first section, “Titans”, which had a burst of bright orange confetti as the section crossed.
Next large band was Trini Revellers with, “Tales of Merrie Olde England”, which had an introductory segment with dancers, trumpets heralding the flag bearers and concluded with the sound of the chiming of “the Big Ben.” The band was led off by the section “Royalty” and dancers bowed as the royalty danced in their robes and crowns. Only in Trinbago mas could “royalty” be seen with a beer in hand. Unlike the pretty mas of earlier bands, Trini Revellers had fully covered costumes and accessories in keeping with the portrayal of sections.
The “Archers” had their bows, “The Dragon slayers”, their swords and the “Wizards and Sorcerers”, their wands.
TT Unified Teachers’ Association president Roustan Job was having a good time among the ‘slayers.’ The first steelband crossing was Sagicor Exodus with their band, “I am a sailor.” The Tunapuna-based band, which came second in the Panorama Final on Saturday, portrayed the conventional sailor mas with officers leading their crew.
Some of the themes portrayed on stage had meanings which may have escaped the foreigners viewing the spectacle. The band Skullduggery provided an interesting take on local folklore and parlance in their presentation “The Dance of Deceit.” Among the sections were: “Skettle-Ton”, “Bacchanal woman” and “Horn Chile.”
The Mal Yeux (bad eye) section saw masqueraders with plastic eyeballs and caution tape adorning their costumes while “Greaze han” had masqueraders in green costumes representing money. The female members had parasols made of green money bills.
Later on in the afternoon, Soca Monarch Machel Montano performed his hit song and road march front runner song, ‘Advantageous’, atop a music truck in the band Island People.
He instructed hundreds of masqueraders to, “stomp to the left and stomp to the right...and advantage the stage.”
Corruption and the Clico collapse were themes in Mystery Raiders 2011’s band “Robber Nation.”
Using the traditional robber character, this band highlighted topical issues. Robbers were seen pulling coffins with the words “Robbers blow the whistle”, “All ah we Tief”, “In the Robber Nation.” One robber, “Papa Kat C”, had “colder Heart” written on his costume, while another robber pulled a hanged man on a noose with the words, “clique co.”
Up to 1.20 pm, the 19th band crossing the stage was large band Spice with the presentation, “The Way of the Warrior.” There was a dance segment before sections were brought on with dancers in silver body suits dancing to a remix of Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds are Forever” and techno music. Curtis Eustace, the king of the band with his portrayal “Bozzo-D Legend Lives on”, led off the sections. He pulled the costume as a man wearing a clown face appeared on top.
President George Maxwell Richards was among the masqueraders in the band.