The official launch lime

February 4, 2007

launchlimeflier.jpg

Advertisements

Totally Awesome!

January 30, 2007

trinidadguardianarticle.gifI’d like to take this opportunity to thank Peter Ray Blood for publishing our recent launch press release on the January 30, 2007 edition of the Trinidad Guardian. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from the article and I am happy to report that the Junction is serving it’s purpose. In fact, BOTH of the Junctions (Carnival Junction AND Trinidad Junction) have been doing extremely well lately. Now that Trinidad Carnival 2007 is fast approaching, the number of visitors to Carnival Junction has increased dramatically over the last few weeks. I swear, it’s been absolutely incredible to watch. You can almost smell the desperation in some people’s posts (yes, of course I’m kidding). But equally intense, is the sense of excitement and hope in others. You know that when you visit Carnival Junction and you have a costume to buy or sell, you will most certainly find what you’re looking for. Ahhhhh…the beauty of the Internet!

A lot of recent visitors to the Junction blog have been looking for photos of Trini Revellers’ costumes and have posted comments asking about a Trini Revellers Web site. Unfortunately, as of yet, there is no one Web site where you can view all of the costumes / sections for Trini Revellers’ 2007 presentation, La Revolution Francaise. The majority of sections in La Revolution Francaise is being produced privately by individual mas designers, something that is not unusual for Trini Revellers. Some Trini Revellers designers have Web sites of their own where they showcase their costume designs and provide contact information for the public. However, some others (private designers) do not have their own Web sites which makes it difficult for overseas masqueraders, or anyone who has not had the opportunity to visit the mas camp of a private designer to evaluate their options and make a well-informed decision.

But………….

Fear not my friends, help is on the way. Fellow blogger, SaucyDiva has been tracking the various launches of Trini Revellers’ private sections like the Carnival baby that she is. She doesn’t have photos, prices or contact info for ALL of the sections in La Revolution Francaise, but she does have info about (including photos of) the following sections:

  1. Vive La France
  2. Celebration
  3. Paris is Burning
  4. Les Fetes Gallantes de Versailles
  5. Les Aristocrates

I’m sure there are more, but you should go check the site out for yourselves…Saucy’s Blog

Also, keep on checking the official Trini Revellers’ Web site, TriniRevellersMas.com to see when they post pics, prices, etc. for all of the sections in “The French Revoloution”!

dh000002.JPGCarnival in Trinidad and Tobago takes place on February 19th and 20th, 2007
and the band launchings have begun.

Though I attended only Trini Revellers’ 2007 presentation, La Revolution
Francaise (The Frnch Revolution) on Sunday October 15th at Pier 1, I have
already judged the mas and have made my prediction. They will win the Band
of the Year title again! There is no competition! (Are there any opposers to
my prediction out there?)

I viewed costumes from other bands on T.V. and in the newspapers and so far,
the “bikini and beads” costumes are still predominant. Yes, they are
pretty, look good on the beautifully sculptured bodies and are in demand
especially by the young svelte masqueraders who are in the majority. Almost
any “bikini and beads” costume could easily fit into any of the “bikini and
beads” bands and could be put in “moth balls” until the following year to be
used yet again!

Now to the launch. Of the twenty something sections presented, I would say
that almost all were eyecatching. Beautiful colours, well made costumes and
yes, beautiful bodies depicted all aspects of the French Revolution. What I
like about this band is that any size person is accommodated. If you want a
bikini or tantiki or whole piece suit, you can get that and feel good in
your section. You could get a “piece-a-skirt” or long skirt if you want.

There was a well endowed young lady in red and gold with gold thongs to
match. She shook her booty to the delight of those who could see. I think
everyone got quite a good view of her assets.
Some of the young models wined and wined, one so vigorously that I thought
she would slip and fall. She didn’t but on her second appearance, she
appeared barefooted, probably in an effort to wine more freely.

This launch was well attended but not sold out; there was enough space to
move about on a cool evening.

Ah, the music. Shurwayne Winchester and the band Traffik were awesome! As
usual, he put on a fantastic performance to an appreciative crowd. He
introduced a new addition to the frontline, a young man named Olatunji
Yearwood who did well for himself. The poor boy was perspiring
all night. Sweat could be seen flying off his face which he kept wiping
with either his hands or a towel. I felt sorry for him, but, he’s young,
has the stamina and would do well. I wish more artists would give the
younger ones a start. Hats off to Shurwayne.

Trini Revellers………..You’ve outdone yourselves again!

Allyuh done win already! Good job!

PAMELA

dh000015.JPGI must say, I am quite impressed with Trini Revellers’s 2007 Trinidad Carnival presentation, The French Revolution. Some might argue that I’m slightly biased because my aunt has been putting out a section with them for a few years now and because the word “Revellers” bears an uncanny resemblance to my last name, but the truth is that I think that they are one of the few bands still staying true to Carnival as an artform. When Trini Revellers says that they are bringing out a band called, “The French Revolution”, I bet yuh bottom dollar that their costumes will make you feel like you’re actually a part of that time. Granted Trini Revellers’ followers happen to be a little older than the TRIBE and Island People set and so their costumes tend to reflect the needs of that group (i.e. emphasis on coverage vs. nudity), I am still always impressed by the actual design of the costume.

This year, my aunt is producing a section called Les Aristocrates and as any good niece should, I thought that it would be a good idea to show my support by sharing the designs with you. Here is the email that I received from her earlier today. (P.S. KOZKELLE is the name of her mas production company.)

Hello folks,

Here’s a preview of KOZKELLE’S costume LES ARISTOCRATES, in Trini Revellers ’07 presentration, The French Revolution.

As you can see we have several variations to the costume, designed to suit all moods.

We will be at our own mas camp at 177 Tragerete Rd, corner of Pole Carew St, just before Roxy, from November 3rd.

To our foreign supporters, please feel free to email me with any questions that you may have.

To our locals, you can email or call me at the #s below

As always , see you on on the road and thanks for supporting us.

DonMarie

868-667-5128

868-766-6336

donmarierev@hotmail.com

cosstume-027.jpgdh000002.JPGdh000006.JPG

Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks that there’s a resistance brewing in Trinidad for Carnival 2007 . I’ve made it home to Trinidad for Carnival almost every year since I moved to the U.S. The only years that I had to stay put were the three years I spent in college – even grad school, which was 10x more difficult than college, couldn’t keep me from making the trip.

As a Trini living abroad, traveling to Trinidad for Carnival is always somewhat expensive because of the plane ticket I have to buy on top of my costume. Still, it’s never been so prohibitively expensive that I had to seriously consider snubbing Carnival for a year.

But this year, like some kind of I-didn’t-know-it-was-coming slap in the face, something very ugly emerged from TRIBE and Island People’s pre-Carnival registration process – discrimination! TRIBE and Island People are two all-inclusive Carnival bands in Trinidad. It’s a relatively new concept to Carnival. Prior to TRIBE’s launch in 2005, all-inclusive was a term only associated with the sections of a band. TRIBE saw an opportunity to cater to these ‘all-inclusive’ masqueraders and took it. By 2006, they had mastered the art of providing an all-inclusive experience to their masqueraders and had distinguished themselves as not just another Carnival band, but a Carnival band with a massive marketing muscle and a dedicated band of followers who were willing to part with any amount of cash in order to be a part of that experience.

That same year, Island People Mas entered the all-inclusive market. Notice that I use the terms all-inclusive and market to describe the environment in which TRIBE and Island People compete. I do so because I view them as corporations, business enterprises that exist with one goal in mind – PROFIT! They compete with each other because like Pepsi and Coca Cola, they’re going after the same group of consumers. However, as I type this, I realize that there’s one essential difference (besides the fact that we’re comparing carbonated beverages to mas) between Pepsi vs. Coca Cola and TRIBE vs. Island People – competition between Pepsi and Coke causes the price of their products to go down, or at least keeps it relatively low, while competition between TRIBE and Island People seems to cause the prices of their costumes to increase substantially each year. (Have you seen how expensive their 2007 costumes are?) Oh, what a pity! If only the rules of free-market competition applied here too.

As expected, price has been the predominant reason for concern among Carnival-loving Trinidadians, Trinis living abroad and tourists, especially for the tourists who have to think about air fare IN ADDITION TO costume prices. There have been a lot of bad vibes surrounding Island People lately because they’ve taken the crisis to an even higher level by requesting that masqueraders residing abroad pay for their costumes in full – no down payment, no ma’am! Obviously, the management of Island Peole is more concerned with their bottom line than with developing loyalty among their customers. Maybe somebody on their team should have taken a business or a marketing course. They would have learned that you always, always put your customer first. Treat them right and profits will come.

A woman and man in New Jersey who had had enough decided to write letters to the Island People team and the press highlighting their disgust with the entire situation. These letters have been circulating around the Internet and have caused whispers to turn to shouts. A revolution is happening – and me, well since I’m a big fan of revolutions(!) I’ve decided to shout share those letters with you. If you have the stamina, read them and let me know what you think.

LETTER #1

September 27, 2006

Island People Mas Camp
#11 Stone Street
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

To Whom It May Concern:

Dear Island People:

For the past couple of weeks there have been numerous amounts of questions and speculations about your organization and treatment towards your loyal and new masqueraders who would like to play with you Carnival 2007. It has been said that your customer service thus far has been horrible and disrespectful; and one can only imagine if we are being treated like this now, what should we expect come Carnival Monday and Tuesday?

Is your organization going to treat us to a wonderful and unforgettable on “de” road experience or are we to expect the abuse that was thrown to my friends, to their faces, lining up to register at your Mas Camp. And I quote, “Island People is not begging anybody to play with them, and you free to go elsewhere if you not happy with our service.” Secretly we know some mas makers may think this way, but it should not be blatantly thrown in our faces. And why does an overseas masquerader have to pay full price? An explanation would help as to why such a drastic measure is in place. Could you not have suggested half down? After your hiccups for Carnival 2006 could we trust IP to deliver our goods? If we can forgive you for your inaugural year why is your organization treating us like this?

We are not stray dogs looking for food. We are Trinidadians, along with every other Caribbean Islander and people across the world. Is this how you want to represent our culture, and our heritage?

To really understand the impact of how your customer service is affecting everyone, visit some of the blogs that are circulating on the web. This is an excerpt from a heavily frequently visited blog. “Every Mas maker thinks that way: “We not begging anyone to play in our band.” Let’s be REAL this morning please! They put out a band, you like what they offering, pay your money and join them. I have no problem with that mentality, its business after all. BUT!! And this is the KEY difference: It seems EVERY OTHER Mas maker except Island People has grasped the concept of treating their potential and confirmed masqueraders with some respect. i.e. you don’t have to play with us, we not begging, but you are after all the ones with the buying power so here, and we would be happy to have you, so: take an up to speed website, here’s an email with all you need to know, enjoy the airconditioned room while you wait to register, you thirsty? No, problem, help yourself to water and gatorade while you wait, and for all our overseas masqueraders, we’ve hooked y’all up with a payment system to help the process along. That! My darling is how you do business!” (Anonymous)

It’s easy for your committee to ignore and dismiss these blogs and not be concerned. But this blog has had 24,467 hits to date from all over the world, and people are reading and taking note. Through this blog and other online chat forums people are expressing their disgust, anger, and frustration with regards to your organization. And these are people who are registered with you, and or thinking about registering. Negative remarks can influence and open the minds if not all, but the majority of the people that support or are thinking about supporting Island People.

Your lack of communication to your masqueraders thus far has been cryptic.

Here’s some advice; “If you want to muzzle people like me and everyone else that are criticizing you, there’s something call damage control. Take out a press and media release, addressing the situation and assuring everyone that Island People have made changes to their organization and customer service and promise that come Carnival Monday and Tuesday 2007 THERE’S NO WHERE ELSE YOU RATHER BE, BUT WITH IP!”

I hope you do take this letter into consideration and make changes.

Respect!

Thank you,

AHRoberts
Angelina Haylee Roberts
New Jersey

CC: Alan Green
Editor
Trinidad Express
35 Independence Square
POS, Trinidad
W.I.

Natalie Williams
Head of TV News
Trinidad Express
35 Independence Square
POS, Trinidad
W.I.

Dominic Kalipersad
Editor-in-Chief
The Trinidad guardian
22-24 St. Vincent Street
POS, Trinidad
W.I.

Peter Ray Blood
Associate Editor, Features
The Trinidad guardian
22-24 St. Vincent Street
POS, Trinidad
W.I.

Daily News Ltd.
23 A Chacon St
POS, Trinidad
W.I.

Mr. Terry Joseph
Public Relations Officer
NCC
Queens Park Savannah
POS, Trinidad
W.I.

David Cameron
Public Relations Officer
Queen’s Park Savannah
POS, Trinidad
W.I.

Ms. Candace Ali
Communications Coordinator
Tourism Development Company
Level 1, Maritime Centre
Barataria
POS, Trinidad
W.I.

Mr. Donald Little
Chairman
NCDF
143 Belmont Circular Road
Belmont,
POS, Trinidad
W.I.

Ms. Sherma Mitchell
Communications Specialist
Ministry of Tourism
Clarence House
125-127 Duke Street
POS, Trinidad
W.I.

LETTER #2

From: Donald R.
New Jersey
18th September 2006
To whom this may concern: Media, Bands, etc
Hello, I am writing this in hopes that this problem surrounding our
Carnival bands in Trinidad can be solved.
First and foremost let me start off by saying that these new bands
emerging out of Trinbago need to be exposed on the basis of their:
ridiculous prices, segregation of classes, and unaccomodating nature.
Two bands in mind, the top two among young individuals, Tribe and
Islandpeople, have both been leaving a negative taste for many locals and
nonlocals. Their price of admission is ridiculous, often leaving the
working class people of Trinidad unable to participate in their band.
Who next to follow this trend? Pulse 8, Legacy, Trini Revellers? Mc
Farlane?
They have set a bar where elite individuals are the only participants.
Many of these bands do not care about the artform, the history and
beauty of our sacred festival, to them it is all about the money generated
out of producing a band. Once bandleaders’ main focus become fixated on the
revenue generated by bringing out a band, opposed to developing and being a
part of the culture, it takes away from the festival and the rustic charm
people love about Carnival.
Mas is becoming too expensive, a trip to Trinidad for carnival as a
whole is becoming to expensive. Many tourists come to our island to
celebrate and have the time of their life, but if bands in TNT continue to
follow this trend of over priced mas, it is going to turn people away from
coming to our island, which will hurt our tourism. The fact is, Trinidad
doesn’t rely solely on tourism to build up its economy, however, Carnival
does bring in a lot of people into the island, exposing them to a piece of
Trini culture.
Many people abroad have opted to skip out on this year’s carnival due to
it being too expensive. Airfare to come to Trinidad for Carnival isn’t
cheap, nor is lodging for those who don’t have family to stay by in
Trinidad. Many of these bands, such as Islandpeople have a hand in the
party market for Carnival.
Fete prices doubled from 2005 to 2006, and created a major dent in
people’s pockets.
This all leaves a bad taste for individuals who have their heart set out
on coming to TnT. When people come to TnT for Carnival, they want to
experience all, and have a ball, but how can one do that if the prices
increase drastically. Yes, cost of living is going up and the value of a
dollar is not what it used to be in previous years, but increasing the
prices for mas and fetes by 40% from one year to the next is ridiculous.
We already have people from Barbados coming to Trinidad passing out
flyers, letting the public know to come to Barbados in the summer for Crop
Over, and they are also all over NY, Toronto, Miami, London doing their
CROP OVER DRIVE with proper staff and adequate flyers and teaser items to
give away and simultaneous proper ads also being aired on various
stations internationally, not the very stale, tasteless ads that T&T shows
sporadically. I am ashamed to see a T&T ad on tv here in the US as
compared to a Barbados or Jamaica ad.
If this problem of overpricing in Trinidad doesn’t cease and desist,
many of our regular visitors will opt not to come to Trinidad and go to
other places like Barbados because it’s less expensive, and you get almost
the same experience, if not better.
Also, the band Islandpeople needs some media attention. They have
lauched their band, opened registration, and left overseas masqueraders in
the cold. Many people want to play with Islandpeople and were basically
left hopeless. They have made no communication to patrons who were
inquiring about overseas registration, they don’t respond to emails, and
they have announced and opened up registration the same day, not
communicating with their overseas prospects at all.
They are not very accomodating to overseas mas players because, they
want overseas players to pay in full at registration, knowing that a lot of
people are on a fixed income, and cannot afford to pay for their costume
all at once. Many people are very upset at the way 2007 is panning out and
it is time for the NCBA, and TIDCO to intervene with some of these mas
bands.
Here are a few thoughts about how people feel regarding carnival 2007,
and the bands for 2007.

CARNIVAL, COSTUMES AND CALYPSO

September 26, 2006

Back in the day, calypso and Carnival went hand in hand. There was mas and there was calypso. People crowded into popular calypso tents like the Kaiso House and Calypso review to see talented calypsonians like Roaring Lion and Lord Kitchener perform their songs.

But like ole time mas, ole time calypso is slowly becoming a thing of the past, a lost icon. That’s not to say that calypso tents and ole time calypsonians no longer exist…they’ve just become rarer and harder to find, like vinyl records and floppy disks. Luckily, hope thrives in odd places.

On Carnival Friday, many schools – primary and secondary – host Carnival parades that typically include some competitive calypso element. I remember being a back up singer for one of my friends in primary school who was preparing to compete in one our school’s infamous calypso sing-offs. It was a huge deal, with costumes, lots of make-up and microphones!

The story would usually go like this. After Christmas vacation, one of our English assignments would be to write a calypso. It had to have a chorus and four verses (how I remember all this, I have no idea.) Oh yeah, and it had to rhyme. It was a fun homework project for me because 1) writing a funny song didn’t really seem like homework and 2) I was really into rhyming at the time. If I was at home right now, I’d look through my old stack of copybooks to find one of my classic calypso compositions to share with you, but since I’m not in Trini, I’m going to take a guess that most of our songs probably went something like this:

VERSE 1
Everybody loves Carnival in dis country
Because we in T&T really like to party
Jumping in de road on Carnival Tuesday
Is de best time of year to break away

CHORUS
Jump, jump, jump
And play yourself today
Carnival is the time
to break away
(repeat)

And after everybody submitted their songs, the teacher would return them to us graded and pick the best ones and maybe stick ‘the chosen ones’ up on the wall somewhere in the room. — Displaying the best work and making the ‘bright’ children in the class feel more special and the not so smart ones feel more inadequate was big back then — Then she’d ask you to raise your hand if you wanted to sing any of the chosen songs at the Carnival Calypso Competition. Unfortunately, that move presented yet another opportunity for discrimination – if you didn’t get chosen to be a back up singer, then you knew something was wrong.

But I’m straying from my point, as usual. You must be wondering if there even is a point this story. Don’t worry- there is. And, here it comes…

The point I’m trying to make is that primary schools seem to be one of the few places where the art of ole time calypso is being kept alive – in an innocent and naive sort of way. I love soca with a passion (yes I like to wine and jook like the best of them) but I also appreciate history. I’m already at an age where I feel ancient sometimes. It may have more to do with the fact that I have a 19 year old sister, but the feeling is still relevant. I sit and talk with my friends about ‘the way things used to be’ like I’ve been around for ages. I still think of myself as a young person, but I’m old enough to have witnessed a sharp transition in mas making – in the last half decade, producing a band/carnival presentation has moved away from artform and evolved into a hardcore business. I don’t have a problem with that, it’s just part of the observations that I’ve made as I’ve grown older.

What can we do to keep that from happening to ole time calypso?