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Friday, 27 February 2015

The Epic of Monk Monte

The reigning seven-time National Road March Monarch and five-time International Power Soca Monarch, Machel “Monk Monte” Montano on Ash Wednesday in Tobago presented a sneak peek of his Epic Mas band’s 2015 presentation. This is Montano’s global mas production entity.

Local promotions outfit, Candy Coated Events hosted the Wine Down Cruise and the EPIC team, where
SIMPILY EPIC: Caesar’s Army will host a section in EPIC MAS Band.
 The costume is designed by Janelle Forde aka designer J Angelique,
 second from left, with models Kandi King,
Soowan Bramble and Leah Marville
Montano treated guests to a presentation of costumes and music set against the sunset backdrop.

Scores of patrons showed up to the event ready to lime and unwind after Carnival, but had no idea that they would be treated to a show with the reigning Soca Monarch himself. Montano treated them to a surprise performance that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

As Montano worked the audience, several models debuted the costume designs for the Caesar’s Army (another local event production outfit) section in the Epic mas band. Needless to say it was quite an impressive display that left everyone talking about the upcoming Hollywood carnival out in Los Angeles in June later this year.
Epic began as a section of 80 masqueraders at The Los Angeles Culture Festival’s Hollywood carnival in 2014. The presence of legendary masman Peter Minshall’s world famous puppets, Tan Tan and Saga Boy along with celebrity masqueraders such as Anya Ayoung Chee, Leah Marville, Damien Dante Wayans, Eva Marcille, and promotional group Caesar’s Army, Epic left an unforgettable mark on the three-year-old Hollywood carnival.

For 2015, Epic is expanding its footprint in Hollywood by becoming a full-fledged mas band with four sections.

They are aiming towards 300 masqueraders, more celebrity guests and the inclusion of popular section partners from Trinbago and Los Angeles. Epic Mas Band will have a full premiere at the launch of the Los Angeles Culture Festival on March 13, while the Hollywood carnival officially takes place on Saturday June 27.

Even as they are set to expand, the Epic team has already set their sights beyond LA, committing to participate in Saldenah’s Mas Band presentation “The Chronicles of Machel Montano” at Toronto’s Caribana festival in August 2015. The section will be titled “Like Ah Boss.”

Central to the success and impact of Epic is the involvement of international Montano as the band’s ambassador. Montano spends part of the year in Los Angeles and through Epic and Hollywood carnival, he is committed to exposing the West Coast of the US and the world at large to Caribbean culture and music.

Said Montano: “Hollywood carnival 2014 was a dream come true for me. I was inspired by its potential in 2013 and began working with the LACF to spread the word on a global scale about the infectious feeling we’ve created by lighting up Hollywood Boulevard.”

Early supporters of Epic and the Hollywood carnival, Jules Sobion of Caesar’s Army and designer Anya Ayoung Chee were also full of praise for the T&T invasion on Hollywood carnival.

“From chipping down the Hollywood Boulevard alongside Tan Tan & Saga Boy to the showcasing of our amazing culture to the throngs of spectators that lined the streets, the overall experience was amazing… The Romans will definitely be there in full force for 2015,” Sobian said. Ayoung Chee added, “LA Carnival and the entire Epic weekend were fantastic... It is a great honour to be part of a movement bringing Trinidad Carnival to the world.”
The Epic costumes are being designed to be reused as club wear, beach wear and even for other carnivals.

This duality of purpose of the products is key to the new approach to mas.

The costume designers are all from Trinidad and Tobago and includes, Anya Ayoung Chee, Janelle Forde, Sandra Hordatt and Marie Collette.



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