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MEDITATION ON THE TRADITIONS- CARNIVAL 2015 By Rubadiri Victor

MEDITATION ON THE TRADITIONS- CARNIVAL 2015 By Rubadiri Victor

I'm rather sick of the version of the Festival that is continually put out there- all Mardi Gras bikini and beads, young girls, all-inclusive fetes & foreign celebrities... There are dozens of other Carnivals happening- and in Port of Spain the Canboulay tradition has not yet given up the ghost. The traditional masquerade although dwindling in numbers are as vital and phenomenal in their creativity, surreallity, and transformative Power and Magic as ever. I walk the entire Carnival route on both days- lapping the city and its suburbs- documenting the Carnival, all its pulses, the visible and the invisible- and bear witness to the battle between the Mardi Gras and the Canboulay. I will be writing a report from the battlefield soon. In the meantime here are some images from the frontlines from the Army of the Canboulay Warriors...

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Comment by Kelvin scoon on January 16, 2017 at 4:11am

My grand children play what they call mas.
I couldn't get them to read this lament even if I got down on my knees.
I take a break sometimes from what I am doing on carnival days to look at the TV.
I try to time my viewing to catch Trinidad All Stars on stage.
So the Carnival we knew is now a side show.
And a business, with entrepreneurs, financiers and customer/players.
And 'de autorities' keep devising new plans to modernize, industrialize, monetize, 'touristize' and 'exportize, 'carnival to earn foreign exchange. We not only need the money, we need to justify the expenditure.
It's already "shed it's skin', changed,and taken on a new life Rubadiri.
Every now and then a genius who understands the traditions will surface and adapt his/her presentations to his or her time.
What we used to live is now subject matter for history books, lectures, documentaries, themes for novels and films, government subventions to keep it alive in the country side, reminiscing by old people, and presentations by a few 'die hards'. Even in these remnants there are opportunities to build careers, and make money.
BTW: Rav has some ideas worth looking into to keep 'de mas' in play.

Comment by Ray on January 15, 2017 at 3:18pm

Hi Rubatiri, I know we will agree on several things here if not all. Firstly I want to remind you that Carnival is not in isolation. We as an entire society has gone through and continues to go through several changes, many of them we old timers oppose and some we enjoy and say nothing. The whole change thing is a package, nobody drives 'Austin Cambridge' and Morris Oxford anymore. CARNIVAL PRODUCTION IS A BUSINESS. This is not breaking news. DON'T FORGET IT

That being said, as individuals we still have options I'm going to list a few here. Pick yours. 

1. You can invest your money and bring a band to your liking and maintain the tradition. That is your money you can spend it how you want.

2. You can continue to complain till you BLUE that won't change a thing.

3. You can continue to watch carnival and accept the changes

4. You can stay away and not watch at all, then you won't have to complain and get sick of it.

These are the options as I see it if I left out anything please let me know. I'm sorry

Me I love carnival I'll continue to watch. I love carnival and I'm like you. I'M DISAPPOINTED TOO. However, I'll still watch I would not be intrigued like I used to be in the old days. But it's CARNIVAL.

What d'you say?

We (you and me) CAN'T STOP CARNIVAL because we not happy. The players Play!

Comment by lennox Grant on February 27, 2015 at 11:24am

Never having seen Mardi Gras, I recognise in the T&T Carnival what it has evolved into, helped by large financial and organisational investment, state and private.

It remains the case that people play the mas they want to play, they are moved to play, are inspired or somehow driven to play. Fewer people, on the evidence, are moved, inspired or driven to play any mas at all.

Nothing is being suppressed as a function of "policy". It is obvious that the only takers of Carnival today are the people we see and see again, who never tire of putting on the get-ups we know and try to avert our eyes from.

The image of Charlotte Street (and other streets) more or less answers the question: what else is there?

LG

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