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Minshall, Montano rule at Savannah

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

As the reign of the Merry Monarch came to a fantastic finish yesterday, The Eyes Of God, a production of legendary masman Peter Minshall, took centre stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain.

Minshall, who re-entered the big stage after an absence of several years, produced a sailor band accompanied by melodious sounds from the Exodus steelband, much to the delight of masqueraders and spectators alike.

The Eyes Of God was produced in collaboration with the Calaloo Company and featured a black and white colour scheme of white sailor pants, white sailor caps and white T-shirts with black writing which drew much appreciation.

Bikini and beads also had their usual spot on the big stage as frenzied frolickers portrayed brilliant, intricately-woven costumes displaying a kaleidoscope of colours.

Earlier, it was not unusual that the Harts band was at the entrance to the Savannah stage promptly at 8 am. The 11 sections were in keeping with the band’s theme Shimmer and Lace, with costumes featuring lace, sheer body suits, capes and some bling.

Large band Ronnie and Caro’s Life’s Checkered Board also put on a fantastic display with sections like Fight to the Finish, Game Changers, Game Haters and Lovers of the Game which told a story: life is like a game of chess where people must play wisely and create their own niche, as the journey is only for a time.

The band, which is in its eleventh year, has copped a hattrick with its previous wins.

Band leader Ronnie McIntosh, who briefly spoke afterwards, said the tough economic times had some effect this year as their numbers were down.

“This year we have about 1,100 masqueraders. We were eventually sold out in the end, but when people are faced with one month-end salary before Carnival it is hard and we understand that,” McIntosh said.

“But our foreign customer base has increased. We treat everyone really good because Carnival makes an important contribution to our economy...people are spending their money and customer service must be important.”

Another large band, Paparazzi, which had an estimated 1,500 masqueraders, was spectacular with its presentation Carnival is Nomadik Nations. The sections, including Red Light District, featured cultures from around the world.

Legacy’s We Jamming Still created its concept from the 2017 Road March by the Ultimate Rejects.

Band director Mahindra Satram-Maharaj said although the song was last year it was very relevant today given the financial constraints faced by many.

“It shows the resilient of our people ... that despite in the face of adversity we persevere and find solutions,” Satram-Maharaj said as sections like Hope and Unity crossed the stage. Just after noon, however, there was a lull when party band Fantasy Carnival took much longer to cross the stage as revellers were reluctant to exit. With its presentation the Isle of Olympia, Fantasy was accompanied by soca star Machel Montano, who delivered his runaway hit Soca Kingdom from one of music trucks.

K2K Alliance and Partners also weaved a theme of hope with its presentation We Stand United, as it honed in on unifying topics such as love, faith, brotherhood, family and resilience born through struggle.

There were also some small band’s like Masters of the Art, which featured Belmont Exotic Stylish Sailors showcasing traditional fancy sailor mas.

Some 75 bands were registered with the National Carnival Commission (NCC). The results for Band of the Year are expected to be announced today.


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