Trinidad: Penal Launches 2011 Carnival

Penal, a region in Trinidad largely considered to be dominated by East Indian descendants, launched the 2011 Carnival celebrations with masqueraders taking over the streets with colorful displays of traditional mas last Saturday.  The event was organized by the Siparia Women Association in collaboration with the Regional Carnival Committee. Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar and Art and Multiculturalisms Minister Winston “Gypsy” Peters took part in the festivities. Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:

The celebrations incorporated most of the elements of the long time mas, among them: The Biche Red Guarahoons, Dame Lorraines, moko jumbies, burrokeets, fancy Indians and a group of minstrels led by Tobago Development Minster, Vernella Alleyne Toppin. Spectators chipped alongside the mas, with four music trucks and some heavy jamming from the Hard Bargain Rhythm Section. The ground held a covered stage, which had a lighting system similar to that of a big concert.

Big concert indeed, because poor ground work did not seem to faze the audience as Shurwayne Winchester and his band, You, took the stage in what was deemed by the crowd as an ecstatic performance. Dressed in a grey hooded T shirt and a pair of sunglasses, Winchester created a frenzy as he brought back old hits such as “Make Me Yours” and “Don’t Stop.” Five times Chutney Soca Monarch, Rikki Jai, entered the scene and belted his hit tune from 2010, “Barman.” People, with hands in the air, gyrated like it was the final day of the season. Performances by Brian London and others were also well received by the crowd.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad received a warm welcome by the crowd. She too was in a festive mood, as she appeared on stage donned with a black and white feathered head piece. She told the crowd that for 14 years they have been celebrating Carnival in the district, but this year with the People’s Partnership in power, promised that Carnival was going to be bigger, stronger and better. The Arts and Multiculturalism Minister urged supporters to have a clean and safe Carnival. “Carnival had become an integrated part of our economic landscape, 2011 celebrations will be the best ever,” Peters said.

For full article, see http://guardian.co.tt/entertainment/2011/02/10/penal-launches-2011-carnival

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