Recently, we heard an announcement that the Catholic Church plans to have a band for the upcoming Carnival celebrations.
According to reports the main organisers claim that they are trying to inject a spiritual element in the Mas which they see as having descended into a public display of tasteless, sexual decadence and drunkenness.
The idea is good, well-intentioned and frankly what I have seen over the last number of years as “costumes” disgust me to no end. Barring the usual Minshall and MacFarlane and one or two others, by an large the so-called bandleaders have no craft, no originality (unless you actually believe that ancient Romans did look like Las Vegas showgirls), and certainly little knowledge and even less respect for the history and uniqueness of Trinidad’s Mas which was first and foremost street theatre (and political street theatre at that).
Furthermore, we have moved – or rather they have taken us – from the ingenuity and creativity of people like the late Cito Velasquez to outsourcing parts of the “costumes” in China. George Bailey must be giddy in his grave by now.
So anyone or group that tries to bring something that is NOT that, have my support. I welcome the opportunity to see what the our local Catholic Church, under an American Archbishop would do in its portrayal of the Church in a Carnival Band.
Go for it, people. Tell your own story.