In 2001 Egbe Onisin Eledumare entered the Carnival arena in Republic Trinidad & Tobago with the hope of re-sanctifying Trinidad & Tobago Carnival.
Many thought us out of place then, but today Nalis, and others have presented public statements and enactments crediting Yoruba masquerade performance AND OTHER AFRICAN nations as contributors and active participants in Trinidad and Tobago Carnival.
Particulary in the area called Wild Indian/Black Indian several of the more well known performers and presenters of this particular masquerade were and are orisa devotees. Among some of the presenters who were either orisa drummers or orisa devotees and practioners of African sacred science traditions were Agba Andrew Biddeau,Agba Emmanuel Pierre,Agba Shaba, Chief Aniseere Sango – Agba Jeffery Biddeau ,the Bonparte brothers, and many more.
Currently in North Trinidad Agba Narie Apro and Agba Darlington ‘Boysie’ Henry and Oluwo Ogunmuyiwa – Anderson Patrick have been struggling to keep this tradition alive.
This year Egbe Onisin Eledumare joined with the Warriors of Hurracan to keep this aspect of our Carnival alive.
This efffort though needs to be supported by those who manage and stage the competitions and particulary those who insist that there members must pass certain judging points if they are to be compensated.
The envirionment is non conducive to Traditional Masquerade particularly those depent on oral and vocal presentations.
Many of the judging points show no consideration for the structure and presentation of these traditional masquerade performances.
Loud music in front, loud music behind.At some judging points the attendants respond reluctantly for the call for microphones ,and there is usually only one microphone to accomadate more than ten performers.
Some judging points insist in categorising some of the performers as individuals and though they have an individual portrayal the presentation calls for collaboration with their team of performers since some of the songs and chants are rendered in a call and response fashion.
Other judging points are so inconsiderate they play recorded inappropiate music for the traditional performer to cross the judging area.At least if the want to supply electronic music then be considerate and supply appropiate music.
No other festival performer in this country will be treated like that.
So, be serious treat the traditional masquerade performer with respect.
Brian McFarlane complained about the difficulties that the big bands experience. Can you imagine the difficulties that thirty – forty member bands experience.
May these challenges that Traditional Masquerade Performers face be addressed in time for 2011 Carnival.