Search Mas Republic

Monday, 28 December 2009

Calypso Dreams soundtrack greets Carnival season

On the eve of Carnival 2010, the producers of the widely-acclaimed film Calypso Dreams, have announced the release of a soundtrack CD featuring more than two dozen kaiso classics recorded in the field during the production of their award-winning film.
Alvin Daniell, who co-produced Calypso Dreams in T&T along with Lord Superior (Andrew Marcano) and who has published the CD on his Major & Minor label, says that the Soundtrack ’captures the heart of vintage kaiso. It is professionally reproduced on Compact Disk to provide a cultural treasure that dares you not to sing along while you listen to vintage calypso at its best.’
Superior, whose classic calypso guitar solos and back-up vocals are featured on the CD (along with his hit ’Trinidad Carnival’) said the CD is both ’timely and timeless.’ He called it one of the ’richest collections of vintage kaiso’ ever assembled.
The Calypso Dreams Soundtrack-produced by Michael Horne and executive produced by filmmaker Geoffrey Dunn and international reggae star Eddy Grant-celebrates the music of several Calypso giants who have passed away in recent years, including Mighty Duke, Mighty Terror, Lord Blakie and Mystic Prowler. The always popular Lord Relator also pays homage to the late Grandmaster Aldwyn Roberts in ’A Tribute to Kitchener’.
Additional contributions from Calypso Rose, Brother Valentino, Mighty Bomber, Lord Brigo, Crazy, Gypsy, Regeneration Now, Mighty Striker, Power, Poser, Explainer, Brother Mudada, Conqueror, and Brother Akil round out the all-star selection.
Producer Horne says that his ’approach with this compilation was to capture that sense of the ’poor man’s newspaper’ referred to again and again in the film. Without regard for the hits or whether the songs were danceable or marketable, these are simply stories about daily life, politics, love and sex, sung man-to-man, friend-to-friend. That is Calypso.’
Dunn, who’s been a cultural presence in T&T for most of the past decade, says that the CD reflects the essence of ’raw kaiso.’
’Some of my favorite selections on this CD are those that were recorded in the Good Times Pub on Henry Street,’ Dunn noted. ’Blakie and Relator and Conqueror were magnificent there. You can hear patrons singing in the background, playing ashtrays, clinking their glasses. The Calypso Dreams Soundtrack brings back kaiso to its roots, which is out in the community, among the people.’
Dunn said another favorite session was recorded on the veranda of the now-demolished Pelican Inn. ’It was a very casual set at which several calypsonians came and went-Superior, Poser, Mudada, Rose, Crazy, Akil, Explainer-and one of my favorite songs, Poser’s ’Ah Go Party Tonight,’ features a great guitar riff by Supie and a wonderful backup vocal by Rose. It’s a jewel.’
The feature-length version of Calypso Dreams, which was released in DVD format throughout the Caribbean earlier this year, has been called ’the most important cinematic expression out of Trinidad and Tobago’ and ’one of the greatest films of the English-speaking Caribbean.’
Dunn, who is currently completing a book on national US politics, acknowledged there is some truth to the rumor that he is exploring another film project in T&T during the coming year. ’We’ll see if the pieces all come together,’ Dunn said. ’If there’s one thing I learned from the production of Calypso Dreams, it’s that you can’t force these matters ahead of schedule. They happen in due time.’
Dunn said that he would keep Trinidad and Tobago Film Company director Carla Foderingham (who also receives a credit on the CD) abreast of ’all future developments’.
According to Daniell, both the Calypso Dreams CD and DVD are available in the following locations in Trinidad: Crosby’s Music Centre; Cleve’s One Stop Music Shop; Kam’s Record Shop; Ryhner’s (2000) Caribbean Ltd. at the Airport; Token Records; and DiscoTrak in Curepe.
Hollis Johnson Special to the Sunday Express

Friday, 25 December 2009

Monday, 21 December 2009

Ballerz launches J’Ouvert band

LEFT: Martina Metizier sports a costume from 2 Dye 4.
CENTRE: Band members of 2 Dye 4 (It's All About Peace & Love) model at their recent band launch held at the Naparima Bowl Grounds in San Fernando.
RIGHT: Mickela Ahee from the band 2 Dye 4 (It's All About Peace & Love) strikes a pose during the band launch at the Naparima Bowl Grounds in San Fernando. Photos: Rishi Ragoonath

Ballerz & Associates recently had their J’Ouvert Band Launch, 2 Dye 4 (It’s All About Peace & Love), at The Naparima Bowl Grounds in San Fernando. Patrons partied to the sounds of soca singer Patch, General Grant, Blackie, Ziggy Rankin and new soca artiste Buffy. DJs Joy Productions and Intellect Live kept the party going until the wee hours of Sunday morning.
One of the bandleaders, Sherona Grace, said there was a mixture of both the young and the mature that night and it went extremely well. There were several give-aways, including a costume which was won by Beverly Williams of Plaisance Park. The costume consisted of a tie-dyed shirt in vivid pink, green, yellow, orange, blue and purple, along with matching socks and bandana and white pants in the patron’s choice of length.
Grace added, “If you see the costume you will go crazy and want to play in the band. My mother Susan Goolie, created the costumes based the concept on the hippy times, when it was all about peace and love.” Anyone interested in purchasing a costume can visit their mas camp at 25 Pond Street, Vistabella. The cost of a costume is $400 all-inclusive.

Published: 21 Dec 2009

Saturday, 19 December 2009

NCBA honours mas veterans

SEVERAL veteran masqueraders, mas builders and designers, as well as steelbands who consistently produce Carnival bands, were recently honoured by the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA). The Carnival interest group handed out the awards during their Christmas luncheon last Saturday at the Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s.
NCBA President Owen Hinds, in his remarks at the start of the function, announced that in 2010 the group will be introducing fund-raising programmes to assist medium, small and mini Carnival bands. Hinds said interest groups could not rely solely on government subventions and had to “look outside” for funds for mas bands that need financial support. He appealed for support from the mas fraternity.

Recipients of NCBA awards included veteran masqueraders Roland St George, Noel Taylor, Florencia Reuben and Augustine Telesford, mas designer Follette Eustace, Carnival announcer Mervyn Telfer and steelbands bpTT Renegades, Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars and Starlift. Singers Laureston Special and Garvin Rogers and the band Just Friends provided entertainment at the event.

                                                                                                                                              Veteran announcer Mervyn Telfer, left, accepts his award from NCBA vice president David Lopez....


Friday, 11 December 2009


Projection on Buildings from NuFormer Digital Media on Vimeo.
Impressive and stylish projections on buildings, a renewing way of communicating.For those who want to carry out a message in a striking and visually attractive way with guaranteed exposure: 3D Projection on buildings is the communication tool of 2009, and what an impact!

NuFormer Digital Media develops high-skill 3D video mapping projections. These 3D projections will be custom-made to fit any specific building and will be exposed by a battery of powerful projectors.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Mardi Gras Indians

In Trinidad and Tobago ‘Wild Indian Mas' and Red Indian and Fancy Indian Mas are traditional characters, of T&T’s Carnival, these characters have their own language dance and rituals that are also part of their performance. In recent times, the fancy Indian has been has been somewhat revived not only on the streets of Trinidad but all over the word where Trini style Carnivals take part, alas these pretty mas are watered down commercialised versions of the real thing, the bonnets still make a visual impact but to the majority the dance, language and other rituals are lost to history.
However I came across this video of Indian Mas or American Indian Mas in New Orleans, very similar to ours in tradition yet different but as always beautiful.

mardi gras indians from American Festivals Project on Vimeo.
video documentation from The American Festivals Project.

to see more visit

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


I think this guy is the BOMB at what he does, take a look at his work.
Wordsmith: Somebody who uses words skilfully, e.g. a professional writer or journalist.#

Ebon Heath is one of the most promising artists of the moment and his take on typography is pure visual poetry. Words never looked more astonishing, they form their own structures in a short of a rebellion, they dance and move and yet they stand still. In Heath’s universe, words go out of their suffocating homes, they become alive and they tell us their amazing stories. Having Brooklyn as the quarters of his inspiration, Heath is contaminating his students with his enthusiasm and passion. With his work he is trying to visualize the invisible, to put a form to the surrounding sounds of the every day life and to inject fantasy into reality. Inspired traveller and rhythm lover, Heath is revealing us all the details hidden behind his outstanding work in an exclusive interview for Yatzer. His sculptures gives the impression of being crystalized words turned into frozen flowers. We connect this with your quote about perceiving words as a living, corporal being. ” I want our type to jump, scream, whisper and dance, versus lay flat, dead and dormant, to be used and discarded with no concern for its intricate beauty of form, function, and meaning. We use type daily yet rarely appreciate the form of a letter. By liberating type from the confines of the page we not only free the words to express the content in a new dimension of scale, volume, and movement, but also force the reader to become a viewer. This process reveals the form of our letters while creating a new relationship to our language in our ability to feel versus only read the content” say Heath.”I love the visual of crystalized words as frozen flowers. This is clear on a visual level, yet also the form of the flower has evolved to fulfill a specific function. All the subservient smaller bio chemical reactions that make up its structure on a molecular level, all co-operating to create a living organism. The form of my type structures are also made to fulfill a specific goal to express the content of words, while made up of smaller ingredients of letters that collectively form our language. The prints do have a frozen quality, since the original works are mobiles that move and can be seen from multiple perspectives in a space. It also is ironic that when these structures are documented they are flattened into 2-dimensional planes, the very antithesis of my initial goal.

The structures are a physical representation of our language as object. This “visual noise” permeates all aspects of modern culture, especially urban living. From the signs, billboards, stores, and t-shirts that yell with type for attention as you walk down any high street. All the audio and verbal noise, from music we plug our ears with to the din of countless conversations, screams and whispers. With new media of texting, online, and transmitted technology there is even invisible noise silent to the eye surrounding us all. It is this cozy womb of information, data, or chorus of cacophony that my mobiles hope to represent as well as reveal. Making the invisible visible. The lyrical qualities of hip hop highlight this connection of the liberated language. When a MC rides a beat the words become a fusion of song, noise, rhythm, melody and meaning all at once. This synthesis between words and sounds was the first investigation i had undertook to help me understand this conceptual process. This wrestling with language is also reflected in the visual poetry of more formal graffiti that transforms each letter into interlocking shapes that are unique in its form and identity of the author. As in all good poetry, the skilled MC uses rhythm more then rhyme to express the message, my mobiles attempts to create a visual sense of rhythm and flow that is alive, not contained, or able to be seen/ read/ understood from one angle

The stereo.type project, expressing the interaction between the traditional language of typography and the physical language of the body, consists of three parts. The first part was a process of research and development. Creating countless drawings, computer renderings, and three dimensional models to find the desired structural frame work for this new physical typographic language. The visual inspiration for these structures has varied from fishing nets to animal vertebrae, puppets to kites, feathers to scales, domes to parachutes, classical lace to high end couture fashion, traveling from Brooklyn to Andalusia, Berlin to Marrakech, to Carnival in London and Trinidad. The final product of this phase is a process journal that documents all the steps leading to the establishment of the final four grid structures. The current second phase is exercising the established grids, to learn how many different kinds of content can be expressed in these structures. This phase is also about creating mobiles and site specific installation for exhibit to share with the public, and learn from their reactions. This also extends to more couture mobiles that are created for a specific person based off their relationship to the content of the mobile. A seasonal collection of mobiles, prints, lights, and jewelry are being developed for release in the summer of 09. Each season will focus on a different theme and execution method. The third stage is incorporating the body into a performance piece of type dancing a duet with its author. The goal is to create a ballet of people dancing with their liberated language, as if the body was shedding its accumulated stories physically, as well as amplifying the content of our inner soul for the world to see in its dynamic dance. This event will combine aspects of carnival, circus, choreography, kinetic body sculpture, music, and the Greek chorus.

I have developed four 3-d grid systems that, like traditional type design, provide an underlying foundation for type to be anchored to. These grids are malleable and do not limit the form as much as create a support skeleton. These 4 grids are based off the basic shapes of the cone, stripe, line, and circle. To establish these systems there has been countless drawings and models created to establish structural integrity and functionality. The quantity of letters, typeface, and scale all determine the final form. Unlike traditional type design there is the third dimension, an additional perspective outside of the page which allows the movement of the structures and your eyes positions to them. The tools and components I use come from a wide range of crafts, including: fishing tackle, jelwery elements, kite pieces, laser cut acrylic and tyvek. My working process has a specific set of steps that collectively create these expressive typographic mobiles as if solving an equation, rather then from some cosmic inspiration.

I teach at a City University in the Bronx (New York, USA), which gives me access to students that are fully engaged in life and do not take their education for granted. This role allows me to inspire young people to see type and design as a career choice and/ or a way to express themselves visually. By highlighting the analytical nature of design and importance of paying attention to details, I am also able to give the students a new way of seeing their surroundings. With design software and computers being mainstream, new media literacy is expected of all students. Yet knowing how to operate a computer does not make you a designer. I feel all professionals have a responsibility to share their knowledge, while also staying open to learn more. The students keep me informed on the latest ideas of youth culture that my growing age makes harder to recognize. I am also writing course curriculum which enables me to map out my method of teaching and how it stays relevant to students lives or current trends.

Calder has been one of the most influential artists in my life, at a very young age i saw his circus and was mesmerized. That same day i began drawing and have not stopped. Only recently did i notice the parallel of my typographic ballet and the performance element of his circus. I am also inspired by his ability to play with simple forms and materials to create a new visual vocabulary that blurs the lines between art, design, function and expression (from his mobiles, and stables to his jewelry and wire portraits). He was also one of the first American artists to be an international globe trotter, hanging out in Europe and the states crossing the Atlantic regularly by boat. (Warhol for making the common into art, Basquiat for burning so fast and so bright, and Stuart Davis for American abstraction in the modern flat world of color.) I was introduced to the rich culture of Carnival from the Caribbean island of Trinidad, by another admired living artist and mentor, Peter Minshal. Minshal is the founder of Callaloo Company, which has been producing the avant-garde carnival bands of kinetic body sculpture for the last 30 years. He shared his knowledge of the intricate craft of constructing physical sculpture that amplifies the human gesture into a grand scale with an individual or collective of people. Next thing you know i am watching 20 foot skeletons he has made grinding with the Rockets on stage at Radio City Music Hall (in NYC).
Purge is quite similar conceptually yet utilizing images rather than purely type. It is an answer to the question: How can we reveal the abundance of visual information we mentally accumulate? The aim is to purge all the influence we receive from media stimulation and liberate our mind to a less polluted place. It’s about reclaiming our mental environment, killing the television, cellphone suicide, unplugging our addiction for constant entertainment. I felt engorged by all the information my eyes have eaten and needed to purge, a visual vomit. This process began with classifying logos, languages, images of mass culture from my travels, all as recipe ingredients for collage. Then I draw the found media, like a painter would draw a still life, or a musician might sample a beat. All these “sample drawings” become the raw materials for a lengthy process of digital deconstruction and analog reconstruction, resulting in paintings, mobiles, and drawings. These visual mash ups allows the viewer to navigate ones own narrative in the channel surfing barrage of exploding familiar faces, logos, and contrasting color and form. I am currently completing a series of large scale paintings that are cutting and masking paint into sharp graphic compositions. Although Purge and stereotype are made of and result in very different outcomes, there is many similarities in conceptual goals and values. Technology gives me the ability to be more efficient and more precise in my craft, yet not necessarily more freedom to create. Cutting by hand is very time intensive compared to the speed and accuracy of lasers. Laser also gives me the ability to cut multiples at once out of materials I am unable to be cut by hand. It also creates an easier manageability of scale. However, cutting is only one step, the hand assembly is still quiet labour intensive and is not made simpler or more dynamic by technology. In fact much of this work makes a statement that supports the traditional craft of analog construction versus containing all living things into pixels, trying to duplicate reality instead of truly living in it. Since much of my professional graphic design work is dictated by technology, it is refreshing to use my fingers to actually build instead of a virtual illustration.




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...