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Mas Bands

Manchester Caribbean Carnival - Mas Bands

Mas Bands
Calypso music was developed in Trinidad in the 17th century from the West African Kaiso and Canboulay music brought by African slaves imported to that Caribbean Island to work on sugar plantations. The slaves were stripped of all connections to their homeland and family, and not allowed to talk to each other. They used Calypso music to mock the slave masters and to communicate with each other.

The Mas tradition started in the late 18th century with French plantation owners organizing masquerades (Mas) and balls before enduring the fasting of Lent. The slaves, who could not take part in Carnival, formed their own, parallel celebration called "Canboulay". Canboulay (from the French Cannes Brulées, meaning burnt cane). The slaves would mimic and ridicule the masters, copying the elaborate gowns worn at their celebration balls and combining them with many African traditions of their former cultures. Combining Calypso music with the elaborate gowns worn by their slave masters created the very first Carnivals..
Manchester Caribbean Carnival - Mas Bands
Manchester Caribbean Carnival - Mas Bands
As with other Carnivals, the participants of Manchester Caribbean Carnival wear elaborate Mas costumes, often decorated with feathers and sequins. Carnival bands are organized groups made up of participants who pay for costumes fashioned by a designer and assembled by teams of volunteers. The costumed participants dance through the streets to the sounds of a Steel Band, a Soca Band or a DJ. This is called 'Playing Mas'.

A unique feature of our parade is that locals and the public alike, participate in the parade of Mas Bands & Carnival Troupes. Each band is led by a King and Queen, who wear extremely large costumes, often requiring extensions and wheels to assist the Masquerader to carry it through the streets. After the parade, a competition is held in Alexandra Park to award the King and Queen of Carnival title to two of these Masqueraders. The competition is fiercely contested, but in a very friendly, community spirited way. The judges are experienced & independent of all troupes to ensure fairness. The public play a very big part in this too, as part of the judging criterion is how popular the Mas Bands, Kings & Queens are, so your participation is crucial.

Manchester Caribbean Carnival - Mas Bands - Carnival Troupes