Before I proceed with my review for The Lost Tribe Carnival 2017 I would like to set the record straight on my thoughts about our Carnival fashion. I want to reiterate that Trinidad Carnival remains a haven for “creatives”. This means there is always room for more design aesthetics, creativity, new directions and new concepts that resonate with or even challenge the traditional ideals. Of course our Carnival fashion is embedded in our history and we owe all of this that we have today; our creativity, our skills, our talents to the foundation that gave the present day mas’ men and mas’ women their jump off into the Carnival scene. There are so many niches in the present and there is still room for more. As “creatives” we are entitled to critically examine art forms but we must not judge and bash each other for being too traditional or too modern because this is Trinidad Carnival. All the different facets of Trinidad Carnival encompass our Carnival fashion landscape and neither is wrong for bringing to fruition their contribution to Trinidad Carnival fashion.
The Lost Tribe Carnival had its debut in 2016. The Creative Director Valmiki Maharaj and Co – Creative Director Anya Ayoung Chee sought to expound upon a mas that was missing from the Carnival. They felt it was time to deliver the people from the lack of theatre, drama and storytelling on the Carnival road. They intended to bridge a gap between traditional mas and modern day. The Lost Tribe Carnival brands itself as an alternative concept band.This year their presentation awakens the creatives in dance, music and theatre yet again as they bring forth “The Riddim.” The cast of designers include Shawn Dhanraj, JP Richardson, Keegan Simon, Nadya Shah, Shari Cumberbatch, Simon White, Jeri-Lee Alexander & Lauren Baccus and Aaron Schneider. “The Riddim” in my words would describe the sound of Trinidad Carnival.
The Areito Section
Areito is a traditional, Amerindian based prayer ceremony. The female costume includes head piece, bra and bottom piece, full-body chain and backpack. The male costume includes head piece, chest piece, sharwani pants and backpack.
The Bamboo Section
This section was inspired by the sound of the tamboo bamboo musical instrument and was designed to produce the sound off the moving Bamboo Cathedral. The female costume features head piece, bra and bottom piece, cropped top, hip chain, leggings and backpack. The male costume includes head piece, sleeves, long pants, satchel and backpack.
The Cutta Section
The Cutta Drum from The Laventille Rhythm Section heavily influences this section of The Riddim. The female costume features hoodie, bra and bottom piece, leggings, bracelets, foot pieces and necklace. The male costume includes turban, dhoti pants, Indian Drum and backpack
Photo Credit: Laura Ferreira
The Djun Section
This costume is described as being an inspiration from the “Djun – Djun” drum from the Laventille Rhythm Section. This drum also fits into the category of traditional war drums. The female costume consists of headpiece, whole piece, cuffs, neck piece, necklace, cape and backpack. The male costume consists of headpiece, arm pieces, pants, neck piece, backpack and Djembe Drum.
The Dudup Section
This section bears influence from the Dudup pan or as The Lost Tribe considers it; the forefather of the steel pan. The female costume includes head piece, monokini, bangles, neck piece, cape and standards. The male costume includes neck piece, belt, pants, backpack and standard.
The Iron Section
This theme has connotations of the first strike, heartbeat and soul of The Laventille Rhythm Section. The female costume entails tiara, bra, monokini, cuffs, collar and backpack. The male costume includes head band, collar, khaki pants, leg pieces and backpack.
The Jab Section
The Lost Tribe Carnival defines The Jab as a spirit. They believe The Jab is a profoundly dark and inspiring story rooted at the core of local culture. The Jab costume is inspired by the sounds, visualization and movement of the J’Ouvert experience. The female costumes highlight headphone head piece, bra, monokini, Obi belt, bangles and backpack. The male costume showcases headphone head piece, neck piece, joggers, Crix tin, whistle and backpack.
After previewing these costumes I understand and appreciate The Lost Tribe Carnival’s contribution for 2017. I am fully aware that the creative process was carefully planned and executed. The costumes are synchronized with their “behind the scenes” meanings and relate to the design production. This is a revolution in Trinidad Carnival fashion and it is coherent. Their efforts to introduce theatre, drama, and storytelling are on point. There is zero mismatching of concept to creation. The cast of designers under the stewardship of the creative directors has managed to capture their stories in the essence of the costume design. However, this does not stop here as this group used the modern day facilities and technologies to make their impact and etch their brand identity in the hearts and minds of all who are interested in being part of their tribe. You can contact The Lost Tribe Carnival at 2017.losttribecarnival.com or you can take my Carnival Fashion tour which will be offered this Saturday 11th February 2017 to learn more.
In closing my words of advice for the creative community and the spectators of Carnival Fashion are, “Embrace who we are and the bigger picture of what we are and the direction for Trinidad Carnival rather the greater vision for Trinidad Carnival, respect each others work, focus on the task at hand, at “getting it done” and to consistently and continuously work together because united we will stand and divided we will fall.”