It’s Carnaval time in Trinidad and Port of Spain, Trinidad’s capital, is abuzz with steel band music, costumes and competitions. Among the most popular events are the parades of the Mas Bands. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.
“The Mas Bands are costumed groups of Carnaval revelers who parade through the streets. They can be up to four or five thousand strong. Some of the costumes can reach thirty, forty feet high, they may have wheels behind them, and they’re meant to move and shake and shimmer, to be spectacles in and of themselves.”
Gage Averill is an associate professor in the Department of Music at New York University.
“There’s a lot of prestige to belonging to a winning Mas Band, and there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had. They go out in the morning on Monday before Ash Wednesday, and parade all day in most of the costume. And then Tuesday is the very formal day, and you may march twelve hours during that day, chipping and wining all the way. Now, chipping is the way people walk in Carnaval. It saves your energy — little shuffle foot movements, for the most part. Wining is the characteristic Carnaval hip movement. It’s kind of a figure-eight play of the hips, from the word winding, winding the hips, or wining. People will chip and wine all day long in costumes under the sun, and as they move through certain parts of the town, they’re judged by the judges and they will eventually move across the stage for the final day of Carnaval.”
The celebrations and competitions in Trinidad last until Tuesday night, and then Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, and the end of Carnaval season. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I’m Jim Metzner.
THE MUSIC HEARD IN THE BACKGROUND OF THIS PROGRAM IS THE GROUP “DESPERADOS STEEL ORCHESTRA” PLAYING “MOLIENDO CAFE” ON THE CD “THE JAMMER.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT DELOS INTERNATIONAL,INC. HOLLYWOOD AND VINE PLAZA,1645 NORTH VINE ST., SUITE 340, HOLLYWOOD, CA, 90028. TEL #800-364-0645