Traditional Mas Carnival 2017, Port of spain, trinidad

After the Canboulay reenactment as the sun rises there is a traditional Mas (masquerade) on Piccadilly Street in Port of Spain. It's a good opportunity to see traditional Mas characters and musicians like the tamboo-bamboo band shown above.

After a ban on drumming imposed by colonizers, field workers created musical instruments from bamboo. There were three different sizes made producing different pitched sounds. Some were stamped on the ground and others were struck against each other or with sticks.

After being used in many carnivals over the years tamboo-bamboo instruments were eventually replaced by steel pans.
Many of the traditional Mas characters were invented to satirize the ruling class. The Dame Lorraine character on the left parodied the wives of the rich planters.
This Baby Doll character represents a young mother with an illegitimate child, here twins. She can be seen accusing male onlookers of fathering the child until they give her money.
Midnight Robber or Burrokeet? Maybe a little of both?
Jab Molassie are characters dressed as devils. Traditionally covered with molasses, a common byproduct from the local sugar canes, they are also green, red or blue, as seen here. They can usually be seen blowing whistles, screaming loudly and otherwise harassing spectators until they put money in their baskets.
Here a traditional Jab Molassie spinning fire to the hypnotic rhythm of the biscuit tins behind him ...
... while others spit fire! Best to stay out of their way.
As the sun comes up and the last pan band passes, people make their way home for a short rest before the afternoon events begin.


All photos © 2017 Bob Williams.

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