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March 3, 2019

Show me your velvet…

An example of sailor mas. Source: www.traditionalmas.com

YEAR after year, as a true born-and-bred Trinbagonian, I long for those days when Carnival truly displayed our ingenuity by producing good Calypso (humourous, satirical and social commentary and, of course, the double entendre), genuine ole mas, exciting stick fights, masquerading jab jabs, blue and black devils, red Indians, groups of singing minstrels, midnight robbers and the freedom of expression in the ole mas’ dances. Today you see or hear few of those things.

Carnival band portrayals—by leaders like Harold Saldenah, George Bailey, Neville Aming, Cito Velasquez and Raoul Garib and more recently Peter Minshall, Wayne Berkeley and Brian Mac Farlane—are memorable presentations of eras past, rich in history, art and costuming, which brings to mind the request made by spectators “show me your velvet” with the masquerader only too happy to oblige.

Back in the day, flowing costumes, intricate headpieces and almost perfect replicas of breast plates ruled the roost and it was a pleasure to behold.

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