Muhammad Abu Bakr Speaks on Mas

Doing the Sailor Dance
Doing the Sailor Dance

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I never see an alien Sailor

Staff Article
Interview Recorded: April 24, 2005
Posted: April 30, 2005

I read some articles where certain people were saying that Trinidad Carnival is so much like Vegas. Then it means that those people do not need to come here to see Carnival. Trinidad Carnival is not like Vegas. People come here because we have something so original and authentic that the people come to see what we have. Our Mas is not like Vegas, they are trying to carrying it that way and we have to stop that. We have to go back to the culture with roots. This thing has reached so far that I believe they were planning to bring down the Chip and Dale dancers. These people are crazy. I think they stopped it though.

I met some people from New York last year for Emancipation, and they told me that they do not come for Carnival anymore they come for Emancipation Day now because they have more fun. That is how serious it is. We have to go back to the roots and you see the kids, we have to teach them. The nice bands like Sailor bands, I always stress on them because I grew up loving Sailor Mas. Although they talk about the cigar and health bill, long time you will know when is Carnival. When you smell that cigar and you see the Sailors coming, you know is Carnival because everybody had their cigars coming down the road. What I would like to do is get the kids to go back to the Sailor Mas because so much has been lost from it. Everything now is a kind of kaleidoscopic look and alien Sailors. We do not know anything about alien Sailor, I never see an alien Sailor, I just find it is so stupid. Sailors with fruits and flowers I could appreciate because that was nice Mas. You do not see a nice Sailor band with the children for Carnival. Another thing we do in Miami is we give the children certificates of participation. That is something encouraging for them. I do not like prize giving here.

As far as Carnival is concerned, we are the best in the world; but when Carnival comes, you would see ah man running in here to hand me a little thing that says prize giving is this evening. All the bands that participate, should receive a certificate of participation. Sometimes bands would not make it to the first three, but they had good Mas. If a person comes from Miami or Boston and looking for somebody and a man could show his history and he has a certificate of participation, he might not win, but one would be able to see the culture and that allows you to go somewhere.

Imagine sometimes when it has prize giving, some bandleaders do not even get invited. That is really bad. I find if you have sixty bands, sixty bandleaders, you invite sixty bandleaders, and if twenty have to get something give the twenty, and the rest a certificate of participation. It could be aired more too, so that contacts could be made to the players, designers and so on. Sometimes bandleaders do not even know other bandleaders, or Masmen do not know other Masmen. I personally find the associations do not meet enough. Right now there is a break away fraction. I do not agree with that because if we have differences here and have something to settle, it is by election. Forming another body is not going to make it right. If they form another body, ten of them could form another body, then another ten could form another body and they could continue on that stream. I support NCBA one hundred percent, but they should have more functions, we should be meeting.


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