A LOOK BACK AT THE TRANSFORMATION IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO CARNIVAL

EBUN LATI JUBA OLOPA ESU

TRIBUTE TO ESU MAS PRESENTATION BY EGBE ONISIN ELEDUMARE 2008

2001 was a significant year in Trinidad & Tobago Carnival. An Orisa organization located in the North western sector of Trinidad, got together and after consultations with Orisa decided to actively participate overtly in the Trinidad & Tobago Carnival experience of that year. A young priest with several of his members some of whom had never before played mas, weighed their social options and responsibilities and agreed to take the sanction of the Orisa and enter into the cArnival arena.

This was not the first time that the Orisa community was about to enter the Carnival arena. Neither was it the first time that a priest was about  ” to play mas”. Prior to this revolutionary move about to be engaged  by Oloye Orawale Oranfe ati EGBE ONISIN ELEDUMARE,  English Catholic ( Anglican) priest  Clifford Hendey shocked the Trinidad & Tobago public with the admission that he played “mas”.

However Clifford Harvey  was not the only ” mas playing priest”  in our country.

In an article by Peter Ray Blood  published January 14th. 2011 Peter named several priests that have played  “mas” in Republic Trinidad & Tobago. These include : Fr. Winston Joseph, Fr.John Sewell, Fr.Ed Waldron, Fr. Adrian Chadfield and FR.Brian Jemmott. Peter Blood also makes mention of  a Catholic mas band that  originated in the South western sector of Trinidad.

So that in 2001 when messages were received by some Orisa devotees that the Carnival should be RESANCTIFIED it was no new paradigm of experience that was unleashed on our population.

Many objections came from within the Orisa community particularly from Elders and devotees who were themselves “mas players”

Oyeko Meji Queen of the band 401 meets 2001

Oyeku Meji played by Abbi Blackman 2001

When the message arrived Iyalorisa /Iyalode Sangowunmi also heard the call. However when the final hour came it was  EGBE ONISIN ELEDUMARE that went into the arena ALONE. Some Elders fanned by younger devotees or supporters, since some of those encouraging the Elders to oppose were not even initiated devotees took to a media war against EGBE ONISIN ELEDUMARE and it’s leadership.

The entire population was shocked. EGBE ONISIN ELEDUMARE set up Mas Camp at 100 Piccadily Street and began it’s task of RE – SANCTIFYING THE CARNIVAL.

The Queen of the Band  representing the Sacred Odu : OYEKU MEJI, entered the Queens of the Bands preliminaries. What a feat for a group of persons many who had not played mas before and who had been indoctrinated with the Judaeo Christain interpretation that this was something devilish.

The challenges moved from Media attacks to attempts to physically disrupt the functionings of the Mas Camp. However EGBE ONISIN ELEDUMARE and it’s members were able to peacefully diffuse all such attempts.

The provocation now included psychic and spiritual intimidation, but again the oogun applied by Egbe Onisin Eledumare prevailed.

Following our debut into the Carnival arena other Orisa organizations followed with less or no controversy into the Carnival arena. Among the organizations that engaged the arena steadily for a few  years was Ile Osun Obatala of Petit Valley led by Iyanifa Ifakorede Osunyemi Somorin which among it’s presentations brought “ OYA – WINDS OF CHANGE ” in 2007.Among the supporters / participants were former members of EGBE ONISIN ELEDUMARE who had made that first plunge in 2001.

Today there seems to be more acceptance of the African spiritual input into Trinidad & Tobago Carnival and it is now customary to have a re-enactment of Camboulay/Kambule staged by EMANCIPATION SUPPORT COMMITTE twice a year recounting the role of African spirituality in the striggle for Emancipation and the right to make  ” mas” portrayals by the working class African community.

In conclusion we would like to urge visitors to this site who can support this years KAMBULE  re-enactment coordinated by Agba Pearl Eintou Springer to go out and support on ” The Greens” Piccadily Street, Port – of – Spain.

 

 

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