Caribbean Carnival : History, Performance And Resistance

1296 Words Aug 18th, 2015 6 Pages
Sarah Corner
Professor Byam
Caribbean Carnival: History, Performance and Resistance
AFST 3243/ CAST 3001
Summer 2015 INDEPENDENT MAS IN CONTEMPORARY CARNIVAL Over the past several decades there has been a change in masquerade costumes worn during Trinidad’s pre-Lenten Carnival (hereby referred to as Carnival). The growing global popularity of Carnival has left many concerned that the modern costume, consisting of bikinis, beads and feathers will continue to dominate and lead to the disappearance of Carnival’s “traditional” meanings and creativity. The emergence of Independent Mas reflects the growing desire for an alternative to the bikini and beads mas-bands; one such band, Vulgar Fraction, is arguably more “traditional” in their method than any other mas-band through the their focus on community building and commitment to reviving lost art forms such as wire-bending and costume-making. However, in order to understand independent mas in contemporary Carnival one must look to the history of and unpack the conception “traditional” mas in Trinidad. In her article, “The Invention of Traditional Mas and the Politics of Gender”, Pamela R. Franco challenges the notion of “traditional” mas, which is characterized by males performing “authentic” roles such as the Midnight Robber, the Moko Jumbie and the Jab Jab. Franco reveals that this problematic model of authenticity was created by British anthropologist Andrew Pearse and Trinidadian folklorist Andrew Carr. In the 1956,…
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