Tuesday, January 8, 2008

WE COVER STORY: Mac Farlane’s Carnival 2008 - Earth: Cries of Despair, Wings of Hope

By Marie Fleming

Brian Mac Farlane (photo by Mariamma Kambon)

My recent interview with mas maker Brian Mac Farlane, left me with great respect and interest in what he does. Starting off doing voluntary work with big-mas man Raoul Garib from 15 years old, Brian managed to perfect his talents by working with a handful of different mas makers, learning all he could before heading out on his own. It was the year 2004, when one of his role models (Peter Minshall) decided not to stage a presentation; this was the turning point for Brian. As he sat at home watching the parade on TV, he could not help but notice how much Trinidad Carnival was losing grasp of its true meaning. His passion started to boil inside him and in February 2005, MacFarlane Carnival was born and hit the streets for the first time. Brian had his heart set on making a difference and doing something that would open people’s eyes to where we as Trinidadians have come from, and where we are going. In his inaugural year no one was surprised that he won and each year he continues to achieve a handful of accolades.

Mac Farlane Carnival 2008 will bring to the stage Earth: Cries of Despair, Wings of Hope and without a doubt this will be sure to touch the hearts of each and every onlooker. This portrayal depicts destruction in the world today, which we human beings are responsible for. “It displays the reaction to the actions that has been done globally,” said Brian. With sections such as Fires of Rage, Radiation, Famine, Ultra Violet Rays, Demise of the Oceans, and Oil Spill, they all make up chapters in the story of the social and economic crisis that is taking place all over the world. With this year’s theme, Brian wants to send a message to everyone; he wants people to know that we have to stop and look at what we’re doing to this world that we live in. “We must realise that there is hope and making a difference will be possible with the youth of today,” said Brian. The story of Earth is concluded by joining with 5 sections of #1 Kiddies band, Rosalind Gabriel and it is here that we will see the ‘Wings of Hope’. It will be a sense of paradise being reborn as our innocent children will parade through the streets full of colour and life representing the deterioration Earth being saved from destruction.

The choreography of the presentation has always been and will be remarkable in 2008. Rehearsals begin this month as they hire dance groups and individual performers to set the streets on fire. While masqueraders are not restricted in any way to follow routine, it touches Brian’s heart to see them get deeply involved in what they as a band represent so much that they themselves start practicing their own little routines in preparation for the judges. In keeping up with the significance of Earth, Brian’s mas is being built using as many natural materials as possible. The intricate detail seen on every costume is all hand crafted and much creativity is shown by recycling materials such as coins and corks which are being crushed and used as various decorative pieces. They achieve much of their colour by grinding sand and soil, representative of the core story being told. Some of Brian’s much loved sections are Oil Spill (this is derived from the traditional Oil Devils, yet done in a modern contemporary style) and Beings of Trepidation (meaning ‘fear’, instead of masqueraders carrying forks, we will see them carrying the modern day machine guns as we humans have been reduced to killing each other, creating war).

Brian Mac Farlane intends to do whatever he can to preserve the culture of mas as with each winning year he brings a statement to the stage. It is our culture that we need to hold on to as it makes us who we are. This year’s presentation will continue to bring to the street the sense of theatre with elaborate representations as he has for the past three years. With role models such as Wayne Berkeley and Peter Minshall, one can only imagine the ingenuity and creativity being set forth by Brian.

Mac Farlane is a band you will not want to miss for Carnival. The band offers a semi-inclusive bar which will provide the basic alcoholic beverages such as rum, beer etc. and an additional $500 will give you access to premium drinks on both days. Even though some of the sections are sold out, there are still quite a few sections with availability. Because of the nature of the band, Brian says they normally don’t sell out until the week before carnival. And while Brian still looks for another band to give him a run for his money he does hope that others recognise the value he brings to the streets each and every year. Costumes prices range from $3000-$3800 TTD and for those who find this a bit pricey, have the option to be part of this captivating portrayal by opting to play traditional Mud mas with them on Monday only for $600TTD. Being part of such a fascinating presentation makes all the difference. His band continues to grow in numbers and in popularity among the young and old, male and female. They now sit at roughly 1500 masqueraders (who Brian refers to as his ‘family’), all passionate about showing the rest of the country who they are and the difference we as a people can make in our country.

2008 Mas Section (photo by Mariamma Kambon)

Mac Farlane Carnival’s Accomplishments:

2007 – 'India - The Story of Boyie'
*George Bailey Award (Large Band of the Year) - 1st place
*Lil Hart Award (Large Band of the Year) - 1st place
*Downtown Large Band of the Year - 1st place

2006 – 'Threads of Joy'
*George Bailey Large Band of the Year - 2nd place
*Harold Saldenah Large Band of the Year - 2nd place
*Lil Harts Large Band of the Year - 2nd place
*Downtown Large Band of The Year - 1st place

2005 – ‘D' Washing by Fire by Water’
*George Bailey Award - Medium Band of The Year - 1st place
*Harold Saldenah Award - Medium Band of The Year - 1st place
*Lil Hart Award - Medium Band of The Year - 1st place
*Downtown Band of the Year - 2nd place
*King of the Band: “Prince of Deliverance”, portrayed by Fareid Carvalho - 3rd place

Earth: Cries of Despair, Wings of Hope Sections:
1. Party of Hypocrisy
2. Winds of Horror
3. Floods of Terror
4. Fires of Rage
5. Army of Fear and Destruction
6. Pestilence
7. Radiation
8. Invading Sands
9. Famine
10. Ultra Violet Rays
11. Demise of the Oceans
12. Oil Spill
13. Beings of Trepidation
14. New Dawn (Kiddies)
15. Passion of Humanity (Kiddies)
16. Oceans of Rejuvenation (Kiddies)
17. Abundant Grace (Kiddies)
18. Paradise Reborn (Kiddies)

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