Muhammad Abu Bakr Speaks on Mas

A swimsuit made by Mr. Bakr
A swimsuit made by Mr. Bakr

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Around here was Carnival

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

Trinidad is a nice place and a lot can be done. For example, we have either August, September and even Republic Day. Republic Day we could have another Carnival. Now if for Republic Day, lets say you are Angostura and you come to me and tell me about a trade fair or a Carnival event in the Savannah, where you have all the little booths with the sponsors. Now I could produce for you. So right there, things are opening up to the Caribbean and to the world. What I do for you, you have that advertisement to use till the next year, plus I do not have to look anywhere for a sponsor, because I am working hand in hand with you. Anything you have, I am working culturally for you. Any functions you have I am doing the interior for you. Even after the event in the Savannah you could have a nice award show. So much can be done here, plus it will keep the youths and them occupied, but again, people do not understand that. There is so much we could do here, and it will keep the youths and them occupied.

You can get a lot of interest from the youths and them. If you could pull them in to work, you must be able to deal with them right, because it ends up to dollars and cents, and if you are unable to produce that for them, they would not stay around. For example, if you make a hundred costumes or a thousand costumes, you have to get your masqueraders to play it. I run a nice camp with youths, and we have a very nice relationship. I am teaching them to do everything. I could build costumes in any form and in any fashion, because ideas come to me fast. But with the big costumes, I haven't ventured into the big masterpieces as yet, but I know that anything that I touch I could do it. The first gown I ever designed it won, and the girl ended up as a professional model in Miami. The first challenge I got, I knew I could have done it. The same is with the Mas. I brought out my first band Clowns several years ago when Chambers was in power, then I did Parakeet, then Home Base, and when I came back I did Bacca and Associates. My name is Muhammad Abu Bakr, but the Bacca I use here, I use it as bacchanal, in terms of festival.

My father, Ken Morris and Harold Saldenah were very close. I heard he used to do little Mas like Zapata. He used to help with ideas and they would sit down from Ash Wednesday and discuss what they were going to do next. If you remember 'Controversy At Times', one of the greatest bands that ever passed through Trinidad, it was like a dragon Mas. That was the year when everybody ran out of the Grand Stands in the Savannah to see Saldenah passing on the side. Because of a controversy happening at the time, he did not go through the Savannah, just like the year they boycott Panorama. I remember most of his Mas; Fantasy In Jewels, Cult of The Leopard, El Dorado, City of Gold; he had real nice Mas. Long time a lot of men used to play Mas, because if he is playing Barbarian, when he put on his costume, he used to look like a Barbarian with his boots well built. Today it is tights and sneakers. There was a guy by the name of Earl who used to build all of Saldenah's Mas boots. Back then Saldenah was in the Dry River right here in Chennet alley where you could have seen all his costumes, then you had Samaroos right down the road as well. Around here was Carnival.


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