BitDepth#925 - February 25

Leslie-Ann Boiselle, BC Pires, Dean Ackin, David Rudder and Kenwyn Murray all have a stake and interest in Carnival. These are their thoughts on how Carnival might be improved.
How I would fix Carnival
Leslie-Ann Boisselle parades as A Musical Ensemble - Pan and Brass in the Queen of Carnival Finals at Dimanche Gras in 2009. Photograph by Mark Lyndersay.

I have a lot to say about the errors that Carnival’s leadership, but this week I wanted to hear from people whose work I enjoy and who also have both opinions on and skin in the festival.
Leslie-Ann Boisselle is a ten-time queen of Carnival contestant and suggested that calypso should be taken out of Dimanche Gras.

“Leave the kings and queens for Dimanche Gras because tourists don't understand the calypso but the visual medium of the mas resonates with them.”
She believes that both shows, a calypso final and a costume based Dimanche Gras could be “tight, well coordinated productions, professionally produced.” “Make it something that could be filmed and marketed for sale, something that could be run on international tv as a two-hour special.”

BC Pires, Guardian columnist and noted J’Ouvert mudsquerader wants to return Carnival to a level playing field.
“I'd axe out VIP sections of anything, including declaring all-inclusive mas bands illegal.”
“On Carnival Tuesday, buy a firetrucking beer from a youth hustling cold ones from a bucket or drink hot rum from your own wineskin.”

“If we keep turning what used to be something that brought us all together into the main device for separating us, it will end in bloodshed on the streets, and not the one or two choppings or stabbings we have now.”
“There will be an eruption of violence that will make the steelband clashes of old look like primary school recess lock neck. We will all be playing casualty.”

“No, put that change as two. The first firetrucking thing I'd do is force music systems and bands to keep their volumes to a healthy level.”
“NOTHING is ruining Carnival now more than the earsplitting volume of the music, it's like being beaten up.”

Calypsonian David Rudder wants to see more sense in the distribution of bands on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. He’s a fan of the Carnival Monday presentations of the Blue Devils in Paramin and traditional Carnival in Carapichaima but would like to see more modern mas in full costume again on Monday.

“I'd wish that maybe one-third of the mas bands appear on stage, fully costumed on Monday. The rest on Tuesday. This will probably free up the congestion.”
“This will probably also be met with resistance.”

Dean Ackin, the bandleader of Tribe and Bliss is already making one of his wishes come true with the Socadrome, but he’d like to see more done on the route itself.
“There is a need to implement more crowd control so that the masqueraders can move more freely on the roads. There should be spectator areas set up complete with bleachers to make things more comfortable for both viewer and player.”

Kenwyn Murray, part-time lecturer at the University of the West Indies Carnival Studies Unit, sees a need for more training in the Carnival arts.
“What we admire about the mas of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s is what we forget about it. They came out of yards, where there was informal training going on.”

“The event has moved out of ritualistic expression to a larger commercial activity. There has been unchecked growth and people have been participating in an ad hoc way, based on what they know and what they can rely on.”
“Training in the industry needs to be looked at deliberately. This will be the first year that UWI is introducing a Practitioners Certificate in the Carnival Arts.”

We also need to expand the catalogue of mas, people don’t have a sense of what mas looked like beyond what appears in popular media today.”
As for me? I paraphrase Shadow on this.
“I come from the House of Photo. A man come in my house to beat me. A man come in my house to fight me. So I doh want to sink that Socadrome.”

Mas Colloqium Talk: One. Then five to fifteen.
Video: Carnival Stakeholder Conversations
BitDepth#929: A Carnival Coda
BitDepth#927: Lessons from the Socadrome
Guardian Editorial for March 10: More transparency in Carnival
PhotoBlog: Why I have nothing to say about your Facebook Carnival gallery
BitDepth#926: Carnival's stuttering progress
Guardian Editorial for March 02: The Geography of Carnival
Guardian Editorial for February 26: Elitism or Entrepreneurship?
BitDepth#924: Carnival Copyright Redux
Suggestions to the NCC for accreditation improvements.
Narend Sooknarine's experience with the NCC accreditation team.
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