My friend Dalton Narine has finally completed his film tribute to Trinidad's internationally acclaimed artist Peter Minshall, who's career as a Carnival mas band producer revolutionized and re-energized the Carnival Culture of Trinidad and Tobago.
Dalton poured his heart, soul and financial resources into this production of the documentary film "Mas Man", and I think that the result is a unique and stylish cultural masterpiece.
This award winning production is now available in a three DVD set, and I highly recommend it to all culture lovers, everywhere.
In an article in the Trinidad Guardian of September, 20th, 2012 Daltion describes his trials and tribulations encountered in producing this important piece of work.
On reading this article, an almost throw away comment caught my eye.
I quote" He (Peter Minshall) still can’t fathom the truth that the best footage is recorded on 11,000 tapes that dwell in 500 boxes in an old rum bond in Laventille. They remained untouchable for five years during the making of Mas Man".
In conversation with Dalton, he informed me that after going through an investigative process that would have made Sherlock Holmes proud, he found out that over the years the Trinidad government has been taping the Carnival and Steelband activities, apart from the commercial TV coverage, without commercial interruptions , and these 11,000 quality video tapes are stored in 500 boxes stored in the old Angostura Rum Bond in Laventille, gathering dust and decaying as time passes.
No effort is being made to archive and preserve this valuable art.
Something has to be done, before its too late!
as great as Minshall might be, I will wait for the Harold Saldenah biography Probably the GREATEST Trinidad mas man ever. This is NOT to diminish Minshalls creativity style and flair. I respect that but in my estimation( the long years of absorbing your culture (from age 4) Saldy is beyond par on just about every level of mas making. Check out the quantity of band leaders who sprang out of Saldys band. paddy corea
I'm sure Dalton's intention wasn't to compare Peter Minshall with any other band leader or mas man. If one is fair, though one has to admit that the creativity of Mr Minshall's art has gained international recognition far surpassing any other Carnival artist.
I won't even mention the Olympics, and his creating an entirely new type of Mas.
Remember Tan Tan and Sagaboy? Mancrab?
I would never denigrate the greatness of Saldenah, but there comparisons are unnecessary.
And you missed the point of my post.
it wasn't to "big up" Minshall at the expense of anyone else.
It was to highlight the wasted collection of our art.
The question you should be asking if you really care is whether any videos of the works of Harold Saldenah are also gathering dust and decay in the old Rum Bond in Laventille, and if that is the case what can be done about it.
With due respect to you Paddy, you would get some serious argument about that, when George was alive his productions were comparable or even better than Sallys. Now when you talk about Minshall he revolutionize mas, he started using garbage bags and empty egg boxes, seeing one player from Minshall don't say much but when they reach on the stage, total transformation, they change right in front your eyes, he dealt with numbers doing something to tell a story, he also brought movement to mas and was the first to hire a structural engineer to help design his king. you have to also give credit to Stephen Leung, Mc Williams and others. I would never compare Sally to Minshall, Glenroy is correct comparison is unnecessary.
Thanks Dalton for identifying the whereabouts of this priceless material.
But we know that governments are not likely to do anything to preserve this material (and others too). The initiative for this must come from the interest groups, civil society, our universities. Here is something that the interest groups could form a steering committee on to get the discussion going.
Who's in charge?? Isn't there a new Minister of Culture?
It is very interesting, YEARS roll along no one to dare to BELL the CAT. DALTON NARINE, becaue of his interest in Literature that he had studied , coincidentally that TOPIC happened to be the idea and MAS production of Minshall which Dalton doubted could be so illustrated, immediately decide that this man MINSHALL is a Class Act. , and the old saying goes to put HIS money where his mouth is. followed through tooth and nail to achieve the belling of the cat.. We only like old talk, and when someone does anything on their own and shares with all and sundry, instead of complimenting the individual for their effort where 'angels' dare to tread, WE only trying to belittle and downplay that which was done.
Mr. COREA, just do like Dalton and follow through with something on Harold Saldenah. I would applaude you when you are through.
When will we ever learn.
Long like Mancrab,Sacred and Profane,Tan Tan
All these guys were great producers and visionaries in their own right, therefore it is
not really productive to compare them; however George Bailey must be included along
with Saldenah, Minshall & others.
Recent governments seem to lack imagination or ideas, they are simply 'crisis managers'
I nowhere in my Little piece denigrated Minshall or anyother mas creator. I just tried to balance the board because we do suffer from generational amnesia. 1)George (Bailey) was a fave of mine since his days as Invaders mas designer but he only had 3 great bands.Back to Africa, Relics of Egypt and Ye Saga of Merry England. (Relics was probably the best band ever) and he died pretty young. MacWilliams another fave of mine stayed virtually in one category with some very nice bands. Stephen Le Hung cut his teeth and honed his skills in Saldys 6D Chinette Alley mas camp, and sooo many others. Comparison NO NO NO just juxtaposing thats all. Mr Narine's WORK does exactly what I am proposing, OPEN IT UP. I will certainly get a copy of his work. I dont see people taking the time to write about Wilfred Strasser, Errol Payne, Valmond Jones, Bobby Ammon, the mighty Wayne Berkley (the winningest band leader) I to, think Peter Minshall REVOLUTIONIZED not only Mas per se but mas making as a skill and art. His concepts were superior from a technical and architectual stand point and his stage presentations were theatrical in nature. I would never belittle his place in the mas pantheon. Any how I did something relevant here. I started the conversation on Mas and Band leaders in its entirety. That is necessary and productive. Todays mas men stand on the shoulders of those gone by (just like in the pan world) our generation didnt start (invent) it It started a few generations ago and we MUST NEVER forget those who cut the road on which we now prance and dance. Paddy Corea
Glenroy: Thanks for posting this important information. I am hopeful that this initiative would avail Mr. Narine the
financial backing to document the works of other "Mas Personalities"....now that a huge source has been identified.
Where can I acquire these DVDs??