\Years ago I asked a question.
Where did all the brass bands go?
I didn’t see as many on the road Carnival Monday & Tuesday.
I didn’t see many in fetes for the season.
I was baffled.
People had all kinds of excuses/explanations; none of which added up to me.
“Dem Brass Bands too expensive”
“People only want DJ on the road”.
“Brass bands doh have no stamina for Carnival Monday and Tuesday”
Organizers/Bandleaders/Promoters saw live brass bands as an expense and not as a necessary element of Carnival. MORE profits/less overheads became the focus and the live music industry suffered.
There are significantly less fetes booking live brass bands in the season, and fewer mas bands booking them for the road.
The live music industry in carnival has steadily decayed gradually over the last 15-20 years.
Many organizers opt for the scenario where the Artiste sings accompanied by a backing track played by a DJ. essentially Karaoke.
My Mom always says if you have a problem with something DO SOMETHING!
My idea was simple, put a live brass band on the road for carnival and show people that it’s still a powerful and necessary force in Carnival culture and beyond.
I had the inital idea in 2011, and kept it quiet. Years of musical preparation followed.
I transcribed close to 100 soca and calypso recordings so we’d have fresh charts to play.
Fast forward to 2016, this idea was ready to be put to the test. Next thing I needed was a Band. A few calls later, Leston Paul, David Rudder, Lima Calbio, Keet Styla, Dean Williams, Tony Paul, Shaka Charles, KJ Marcelle, Robin Foster and more were on board!
We secured a truck. A concrete plan formalized and crew formed in 2016. I announced my first carnival band in January 2017, The response with support was immense. With a full organizational team in place including Monlo Music Ltd (family), Paul Charles (co-conspirator), Peter Samuel (mas guru), Aunty Marguerite (who offered us a mas camp and loads of support) and more, we set up the band and sold out in less than a month!
We hit the road with vigour and power.
The rest is history.
2017 WE THE PEOPLE
2018 STREET PARTY
2019 LONG TIME BAND
Use what you have.
Do what you can.
Be the change.
Dream as big as you can, then work/hustle your tail off to see it through.
Thanks to God for another safe Carnival Monday on the ROAD in my band.
Thanks to our masqueraders for coming and playing yourseves with such vigour! It was great to see so many friends who are famalay!! Thanks to the band! David Rudder, Leston Paul, Anthony Woodroffe, Shaka Charles, Dean Williams, Rodney Alexander, Kj Marcelle, Kayode Charles, Pascual Landeau, Tamba Gwindi Lima Calbio, Keet Styla Roger George (aka Pastelle Thief LOL), Marcus Anthony Sammy and Robin Foster. I must also extend HUGE gratitude to the Etienne and Friends Brass Mas committee (Mom, Dad, Aunty Mars, Uncle Kwame, Aunty Marguerite, Peter Samuel, Paul Charles, Maria, Adele, Linda, Eustace and more!) who organized registration, logistics and costume distribution. Thanks to the security, drivers and medics who kept our masqueraders safe. To the bands Brimblers, Pelham Goddard & Roots as well as DEN for entertaining our masqueraders!
IT TAKES A VILLAGE!!!!
We doh roll alone.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Congratulations on the nostalgia and keep up the good work, many more will follow.
Just great, way back times...Luv it!!!
Hats off to you for making it happen! Next time i'm in T&T for Carnival I'll be in it!
Nothing like a live brass band.
Oh gosh! Nice to see! Wasn't home for the carnival but experienced it through live stream.