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Jason Griffith Speaks

Jason Griffith: Voyage of the Sailor Mas'

Headpiece - Crown
Headpiece - Crown

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I am looking for my six

Staff Article
Interview Recorded: April 10, 2005
Posted: April 15, 2005

However, all of a sudden the Fancy Sailor Mas' died out until I came back in 1969, and all I wanted was six fellows, because I had a big six in 1950, 1951 and 1952. The year before I made some headpieces for some guys and I saw them enjoying themselves and I was sitting down in the bleachers looking at the mas' I made on the stage, and they were having a good time. I had a good friend, Leon Monroe, we were together, and I told him, "Charlie next year I am not staying by myself. I am looking for my six." That was in 1968, so in 1969, I started with this small side. I don't know how the word went around, but I had about thirteen. Another fellow by the name of Mr. Leonard, who lived in Woodbrook at the time, called me and asked me if he could join up because he has a small side of masqueraders also. I said, "sure." So we ended up with about twenty-three to twenty-four masqueraders. From 1969 without any advertisement or anything, the band started to grow. At first we were singing on the road all the old time tunes, then we got a pan round the neck pan-side. Then eventually we had a DJ, then we went with two DJ's and a steelband, so it was good, it was real good.

What I am seeing now is that a lot of people had sections from the outside. Now here where I lived was too small, so I would do about four here. But, we had section leaders and they were placed all over Belmont. We had section leaders up in the East, St. James, so we might finish with about fifteen to sixteen different sections in the band, but only four of the sections I did here.

One thing I never leave out of the Sailor mas' was the sailor caps. You see, that was the original and this is where Jim Harding got his idea. He went into Port of Spain; I don't know if you know about Foggarty's store, it was at the corner of Chacon Street and Marine Square. He saw a little headpiece, a little merino thing and he bought it and he went home playing with it, playing with it and didn't know what to do with it. He didn't know what to put for the nose. In those days we had a lot of vendors. Snow-ball, ice-cream, provision, bread, we had all kind of vendors. Jim used to sit on his front step, and an ice cream vendor would come up, and from the time the vendor took out the cone, Jim went and made the long nose. If you think you talk about sailors, then talk about the Suck Me Nose and Long Nose Sailor. Jim then went into different animals, but the nose is what really depicts the whole mas'. But we changed the whole aspect of the sailor mas' in the Eighties by bringing the history into it.


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