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Carnival 2007

Brian MacFarlane's 'India' Stands Out

Brian MacFarlane's, 'India: The Story of Boyie' Brian MacFarlane's, 'India: The Story of Boyie' Reporters
Event Date: February 19-20, 2007
Posted: February 23, 2007

For two whole days in Trinidad and Tobago, Carnival celebrations in all its different manifestations held center stage as Soca music, giant colourful costumes, Steelpan, rhythm sections, old mas characters and thousands and thousands of spectators and participants took over Port of Spain and the other Carnival cities. Many who could not go directly and experience it stayed and watched it live on television. This festival is rooted in the particular history of the Caribbean region and with all its revelry, freeness and color deeply tied to African-Caribbean resistance to European colonialism and this is explored by Corey Gilkes in his article: 'Trinidad Carnival: Afri-Caribbean Resistance'

During this year's Carnival 2007 celebrations, Machel Montano's infectious hit song 'Jumbie' ruled the streets of Port of Spain and at the judging points it was played over and over, making it overwhelmingly the winner of the 2007 Road March race by the widest ever margin according to TUCO. Colourfully-clad masqueraders enthusiastically jumped and wined throughout the streets, doing the 'jumbie dance'. The 2007 Carnival celebrations had to do without the customary crossing of the big stage in the Queen's Park Savannah, but this did not affect the enjoyment of the revelers.

This year's Carnival celebrations kicked off on Monday morning with J'ouvert, which started at about 4 am. At the Lord Kitchener stand in South Quay, Port of Spain, a large crowd gathered to witness the ole mas competition. The portrayals were creative, humorous and engaging, reflecting a wide range of pertinent national issues. Richard Montano did a portrayal titled 'FIFA clears Jack' in which there was a life-size figure representing Jack (Warner) and Montano, representing FIFA proceeded to paint (clear) Jack with white paint, much to the amusement of the crowd.

Trevor Thomas staged his portrayal titled 'Rat Attack'. Dressed as a giant rat he dragged a big block of 'cocaine' and a rat trap before the judges. As the giant rat attempted to get to the cocaine, he was trapped; he struggled to get out of the trap. The rat costume opened, and out climbed Thomas, dressed as a police man, much to the laughter of the crowd who would be familiar with the court cases in which cocaine exhibits have gone missing with the police explanations being that rats ate it.

The Mayor congratulates the Queen, Margaret Montano and King, Franklin Jones of Jouvert The Mayor congratulates the Queen, Margaret Montano
and King, Franklin Jones of Jouvert

In spite of these excellent and creative attempts the winner of the J'ouvert Ole Mas King Competition, was Franklin Jones who energetically portrayed himself as a Soca warrior, 'win or lose'. Queen of Jouvert was won by Margaret Montano who did a witty presentation of 'Digicel Say Expect More Get More' in which she paraded as a pregnant mother, who already had a multitude of children.

After the ole mas competition the j'ouvert bands began to pass the Lord Kitchener Judging Point. Masqueraders were covered with mud, paint, chocolate, some wore masks, and some males even dressed in wigs and female clothing. To the music of Steelpan, Tassa drums, large Soca music-pumping trucks or large rhythm sections they chipped, masqueraders pranced and wined through the streets of Port of Spain. In San Fernando, Arima and Tobago, there were similar scenes. There was a heavy police presence throughout the Carnival with the protective services setting up police roadblocks, manning barricades, riding horses and patrolling to ensure safety of revelers. Even the blimp made an appearance, hovering over the capital city.

On Carnival Tuesday the bands came out in full colour and glory. In downtown Port of Spain, the Large Band Legacy was first to parade in front of the judges at the Lord Kitchener stand at about 8:30 am. Lead by band leader Mike 'Big Mike' Antoine the portrayal was titled 'Hiawatha' and told the story of the Native American people. With brightly colored costumes and with an organized almost choreographed formation the first section paraded before the judges to the sounds of flutes, drums and war chants. Sections of this band were titled 'Pow Pow', 'Comanche Warriors', 'Prairie Town', 'Sioux Ghost', 'Rainbow Dancers', 'Shaman Dream', 'Kiowa', 'Indian Squal', 'Seminole Nation' and 'Laughing Water'.

One of the most impressive portrayals was by Brian MacFarlane's, 'India: The Story of Boyie', which elicited applause from spectators on two occasions, who were moved by the band. Part of the portrayal involved a large elephant costume worn by Jahwhan Thomas who walked on tall stilts, for which the crowd duly showed their appreciation. Many of the masqueraders of the band had long flowing costumes, and the different sections each displayed their own creativity. In one section, giant golden elephant heads were attached to custom-made bikes which were pedaled by band members who were clad in gold costumes. MacFarlane tried to portray what he called, "the rich cultural elements and exotic images of India," and deservedly went on to win the coveted Band of the Year title.

Coming second in the Band of the Year category was David Cameroon's Trini Revellers who with the massive band took over one and a half hours to cross the stage in South Quay. Titled 'The French Revolution', the Trini Revellers utilizing cannons, theatrics, music, confetti and thousands of energetic masqueraders, dramatized the story of the overthrow of the French monarchy during the French Revolution (1789-1799).

The Band of the Years and Road March winners were announced by the National Carnival Commission (NCC) and T.U.C.O. respectively and they are as follows:

Mini Band
1) People of the Dancing Sky-Anthony Jackman
2) Faces of the Nation-Rosalind Gabriel
3) Into the New Dimension-Errol Scott

Small Band
1) Nocturne-De BOSS
2) Kachina Dancers-Tribal Connection
3) Sights and Culture of T&T-Mt Hope Connection

Medium Band
1) Amazonia: A Place in Time-De Midas
2) On the Catwalk-Trevor Wallace
3) Jungle-Patrick Wallace and Image Nation

Large Band
1) Indian: the story of Boyie- Brian MacFarlane
2) The French Revolution- Trini Revellers
3) Sahara: Out of the Vast Emptiness comes... -Island People

Road March Placings
1) Machel Montano-'Jumbie'-388 points
2) Shurwayne Winchester-'Open the Gate'-34 points
3) Patrice Roberts-'Sugar Boy'-33 points
4) Patrice Roberts and Machel Montano-'Light Up the Air'-22 points
5) Edwin Ayoung (Crazy)-'Cold Sweat'-17 points

Trinidad & Tobago Carnival 2007 Results:

Carnival Tuesday 2007 in pictures: