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Carnival celebration

By Sasha Harrinanan Saturday, February 21 2015

click on pic to zoom in
Ready for war: The Original Jab Jab masqueraders are ready for any challenger to their band Whip War in the Nostalgia Parade along Adam Smith Square, ...
Ready for war: The Original Jab Jab masqueraders are ready for any challenger to their band Whip War in the Nostalgia Parade along Adam Smith Square, ...

K2K Alliance and Partners (K2K) are first-time Band of the Year winners in the medium category of the National Carnival Bands Association’s (NCBA) 2015 Parade of the Bands.

Karen Norman yesterday said she and her twin sister Kathy are “very, very honoured and grateful” to have won but accepting this to be fact took a little time because of the confusion earlier on Thursday evening over which results had actually been posted to the NCBA website.

The “costume design” results were released first on Thursday, shortly after 6 pm, followed by Band of the Year at about 8 pm. K2K placed third among medium bands in “Costume Design” for their presentation, M3 (Millennia Three): The Long Walk from Home. This was initially thought by many to be the overall Band of the Year results.

Norman recalled how disappointed she and her sister felt at thinking they had once again come so close to winning.

“In the confusion, we thought K2K had placed third and we were so disappointed because we knew our designs were a great combination of traditional and contemporary costumes, with artistic elements woven in.

“When one of my aunts called Thursday night, saying ‘You won!’ I told her ‘No, we finished third’ but she insisted these were the real results and we went from a sense of disbelief to ‘Thank you, Jesus’. We are really very grateful to have won,” Norman shared.

Chairman of the Congress of the People (COP), Nicole Dyer-Griffith played mas with K2K for the first time this year and was one of the individual masqueraders in the “Earth, Neptune” section.

Dyer-Griffith told Newsday she was invited to play with K2K and accepted because she was “very impressed with the art behind their costumes.”

The one she wore had large wings with a blue and green paint pattern that resembled the Earth, complete with black piping along the edges. The body of the costume was a floor- length deep blue dress with sheer netting along the upper thigh.

Dyer-Griffith said this was “one of the most beautiful costumes around and I had a phenomenal experience playing with K2K. The two ladies behind the band have a lot of fresh, bright ideas. I usually play with a different band each year but I would love to play with them again.”

Newsday also spoke with manager of Massy Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra, Beresford “Berry” Hunte, about their win as Band of the Year in the large category with its sailor mas presentation, Ships Ahoy at a French Festival.

“I’m very happy but not totally surprised that we won because we have some great designers working with the band. I believe our double win; Panorama champs and Band of the Year in the same year, is historic. So that was a real surprise,” Hunte said.

Now in his late 60s, Hunte has been a member of this steelband since he was about ten years old.

“All Stars’s goal in playing mas is to celebrate and promote the culture, not to win prizes but we did have an impromptu celebration at the pan yard on Duke Street, (Port-of-Spain) when we heard the news on Thursday,” Hunte told Newsday.

San Fernando band, Tribal Connection Cultural Promotions, won in the small band category for its presentation From the Black Hills of Dakota while Couva-based The Original Jab Jab won the mini band category for Whip War.

“Winning is part of Tribal Connection’s history but we celebrate each victory,” bandleader Cheryl Alleyne told Newsday. She credited the band’s accumulation of trophies over the past 15 years to a combination of “will, enthusiasm, determination, the right colour schemes and the spirited on stage performance of our mature (yet) energetic masqueraders.”

Ronald Alfred, a third generation Jab Jab performer who leads The Original Jab Jab band, told Newsday, “It feels real good to win this year. The members really worked hard to (ensure) our Whip War presentation to the judges was done right.”

“The prize money, however much it is, will come in handy,” Alfred added, “because I had to take out a small loan to meet some band-related expenses. Winnings go back into the band, so winning Band of the Year and the traditional category of the Nostalgia Parade this year will help pay some bills.”

Alfred also said that prior to the NCBA results being released, he was “confident” The Original Jab Jab would win because they had the best performance and the best costumes of all the Jab Jab bands in 2015.

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