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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Europe's 'Biggest Street Festival' Rocks London

By Selah Hennessy

LONDON — During a summer dominated by the Olympics, Europe's largest street festival, the Notting Hill Carnival, gave London revelers another thing to smile about Sunday and Monday. The carnival is an important cultural event led by the West Indian community in London. 

About 1 million people poured onto the streets of west London during the two days of the Notting Hill Carnival.  Swamped on all sides by massive crowds, hundreds of groups took part in the parade, dancing to the beat of pounding music that pumped through loudspeakers.   

Their costumes ranged from the colorful and extravagant to the surprising and surreal.  The members of a group called "Chocolate Nation" arrived splattered head to foot in melted chocolate.

VOA accompanied one band, called Jamboulay Carnival Arts, along the route.  It is run by Francesca Bailey, who said getting ready for Carnival takes her the whole year.

She has to raise the money, around $10,000, to run workshops, build a float, and get the costumes ready.  But she says she does it to keep her culture alive.

"We do it every year because for us it is a very cultural thing, and it is important that we continue with our culture.  Carnival is something that began many years ago in Trinidad and Tobago, and it was based on the emancipation of slavery and it has over the years, it has progressed and evolved.  So, it is nice to see that it has come to Britain and really evolved over the years," Bailey said.

The first day of the carnival, Sunday, is dubbed "Family Day" and is especially for young people.

One of Bailey's sons, 17-year-old Bami Bailey, has been coming to the Carnival with his mother since he was a small child.  He told VOA it has been an important relief from his day-to-day life.

"A lot of us "black kids," shall I say, we live in London ... we live in not poverty, but we live in the bad, terrible areas.  And just a place full of crime and stuff like that.  And carnival is a place where you are always happy, you get a good feeling and everything," Bailey said.

Notting Hill Carnival originated about five decades ago, in part to improve race relations in London.  It is led by the West Indian community, but also incorporates communities from all over the world.  

Participants raise money from various organizations, including local councils, and much of the work is done voluntarily.

Tailor Thomas Benjamin, who is originally from Trinidad and Tobago, has been volunteering his services for the past 10 years, helping to make costumes for the Carnival.  He says he does it to help young people.

"If we are able to reach children before they are exposed to negative things then you save one child from going to jail, you save one child from being in the grave.  The minute the youth, he reaches 14, 15, 16, if he does not have a Carnival background, if he did not have something positive to turn to, then most of the time it is a dead-end situation," Benjamin said.

He says it is an important diversion for young people in his borough, Hackney, one of a number of London neighborhoods that was rocked by riots last year; vehicles and buildings were set on fire and shops across the city were looted.
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Sunday, 26 August 2012

The African contribution was exhibited and featured in House Carnival

The cultural richness of African descent in the Carnival of Barranquilla through its history, customs, cuisine, rituals, dances and music were presented at the workshop 'Exhibition: Palenque in the Carnival of Barranquilla' guided by the folklorist and Angelica Herrera degree in Dance. 
Attendees toured through a photographic exhibition that told the story of the arrival of African descent in America, his time in Cartagena de Indias, their settlement in San Basilio de Palenque and cultural contribution to the Carnival of Barranquilla in charge of the Angelina Cimarra historian. 

The pedagogy of African culture that was given to the carnival included the presentation of their rituals, and Bullerengue Lumbalú; your Chalupa and Mapalé dances to folklorist it was invited Luz Marina Cañate.

  The traditional courts afropeinados presented by Navarro Ereidis teacher, clinician and researcher of the topic and the cuisine Palenquera on behalf of one of its traditional doers who explained each step of handicraft production, traditional ingredients and sang verses of his enthusiastic vendors, they also represent one of the intangible wealth of these communities.  
With this workshop representing expressions Barranquilla Carnival, completed 16 games this year that the Foundation has offered Barranquilla Carnival directors folk groups, this time to know the contribution of African descent to the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity Colombians like Carnival of Barranquilla and San Basilio de Palenque.

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Sunday, 5 August 2012

New band on the block: ‘The Conquest’ by Colourz

POWERFUL: Lido’s Conquest by Mermaid Designs. —Photos: MICHEAL BRUCE
Several of today’s successful Carnival mas bands began with their respective bandleaders producing sections in other bands. Eventually one decides to step out on one’s own. Thus we ended up with mas bands such as Tribe, Yuma, Dream Team and now Colourz. 
The new band on the block is the vision of Michael Johnson come to fruition. Johnson has many years of experience in the mas fraternity as a masquerader, designer and section leader. Before embarking on his own brand, Johnson did a section for Trini Revellers. 
When Johnson decided to go out on his own he realised that one really could not do this alone and so invited a few friends to get involved. Among the people who joined Johnson on his new journey were: Gerard Barnes, Brian Chin and Junior Jones all of whom have been involved in the mas arena in one way or another for years.
The design team for this debut presentation, titled The Conquest, comprises Johnson, Chin, Barnes, Keith McLean and Nadia John who is herself making her debut as a costume designer. Conquest features ten sections and the band will offer complete all-inclusive service on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. 
“We want to give our masqueraders value for money all around and with an added creative element. Our costumes will offer more than just the bikini and beads, although we do have those. We are just offering the masqueraders options by having costumes with more covering so to speak. The band is completely all-inclusive, but much more affordable than the other bands offering the same,” Barnes said.
Colourz introduced itself and launched its 2013 presentation, The Conquest, on July 27 at the Fiesta Plaza, MovieTowne, Port of Spain, where patrons were treated to live entertainment and a preview of the costumes. All of the designs presented received a favourable response and if that is any indication on the interest, people will be flocking to the #7 Baden-Powell Street, Woodbrook, mas camp when it opens early next week. 
 The designers and the models showcasing their costumes during the launch

The synopsis of The Conquest according to the statement issued by the band is as follows: “It is innate in man to want to exert dominion over his environment and all that is in it. With this desire to conquer, man has come up with many strategies to assert himself as the most powerful, the most authoritative and the most supreme. Surviving the most extreme situations has not only ascertained his superiority, but also cemented his need to be in control.” 
“Control means freedom from perpetual reaction and always one step ahead of others. He seeks control of greater values, both material and personal. Although conquest is often thought to be initially physical, the concept can also be applied to other areas such as politics, economics, space, geography, culture and emotions. It is when man has full control over each and every facet that impacts him and his life, it is only then that he would be truly free and express himself as the ultimate conqueror,” the statement read.
The sections in The Conquest are Conquest of Space, Conquest of Love, Conquest of Slavery, Aztec Warrior, German Warfare, Conquest of the Apocalypse, Conquest of Genghis Khan, Conquest of the Americas, Lido’s Conquest and Conquest of the Amazon. For further enquiries, call 622-0322 or bandleader Mike Johnson 769-7609.

By Wayne

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Savage | Trinidad Express Newspaper | Sunday Mix

Saturday, 4 August 2012

K2K mas moves to an enlightened state of consciousness The Race goes on | The Trinidad Guardian Newspaper

K2K mas moves to an enlightened state of consciousness The Race goes on | The Trinidad Guardian Newspaper

For  2013, The Human Race will continue the story, with the band being portrayed as a horse race with the masquerader portraying characters in each of three sections: the crowd, the thoroughbred and the jockey. “Each section will present a segment of the concept of standing strong, facing adversity, shooting for the stars and not conforming to society’s concept of the path to success, but to creating one’s own  path to success,” says Richards. “It’s about being clear in the choices we make and creating choices that are specific to our own personal circumstances and not just being led by society.  Society imposes a lot of choices on us, and we need to think for ourselves.” 
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