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August 13, 2012
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September 7, 2012

Get ready for Notting Hill Carnival with Bacchanalia Mas


by Kelly Rajpaulsingh

I’m from Trinidad, where carnival season is a fever that grips you the minute you land. The air is electric with excitement and the entire country and its 1.2m population is in a state of revelry. Although it’s not comparable to the carnival in the UK by any means, being here in London however gives us access to a wider pool of artists and creative ideas, a bigger platform and the ability to integrate and include other cultures. And there is nothing more special than that!
 
Although carnival stems from Europe, it is also embedded in our origins and in the legacies left to us by our ancestors. We have now taken it, revolutionised it and brought it back full circle. It is a showcase of some incredible artwork, produced by a number of ‘mas bands’ in London. The design, materials, sculptures and floats all contribute to what is famously known as the ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’! 
Notting Hill Carnival is still by some perceived as something exclusively West Indian or Brazilian. This is not true. There are numerous mas camps and workshops that people can join in and be a part of throughout the year.  The most special thing for me, is that it brings communities together and allows us to build a network of strong bonds – friendships and family – these relationships often extend far beyond the actual carnival.
 
Preparations
This year I am looking forward to a better year – one that is better organised and presented.  We ourselves usually start preparing from right after carnival has finished for the following year; it is the culmination of a years’ worth of work and preparation, as opposed to the 2 or 3 months people perceive it to be.  I always look forward to the colour, the creativity, the sunshine, the crowds, the food, the atmosphere, the revelry with your friends old and new, the music and sounds – it’s a truly amazing feeling to be a part of it!
 
This year’s carnival tunes
There are quite a few tunes that have us jumping this year and they are a mix between tempo and groovy the favourites are:
• Bacchanalist by Kerwin Dubois
• Come Play Ah Mas by Kes and the Band
• Drop On The Ground and Roll by Fay Ann Lyons
• Revelling by Machel Montano 
– well everything Machel produced for this year was good!!!
 
 Costumes
As for the costumes they are usually made to a theme – and that can be anything the carnival group wants to portray. The older folks prefer their costumes with slightly more body coverage, the younger folks less so.  Another important thing is durability: although the costumes are made with the lightest materials and so the wearer can move around freely, they are not as fragile as they appear. With the kind of revelry seen on the streets its good if most, if not all, can remain fairly intact by the end of the day.   
Our theme this year is ‘Fall from Grace’ – the story of the angels that fell from heaven so lots of wings, sparkle and fabric are used to tell the story. We welcome new people to our base in Dartford to try on and see the costumes up close if they wish and that’s where they realise how light the pieces are.
 
 Bacchanalia Mas 
We are a family that has been growing over the years. We have opened our arms to people of all backgrounds and cultures and we are very proud of the friendships and community spirit.  We host numerous events throughout the year so that people can join in and meet friends old and new. 
On the road, Bacchanalia is a premium band offering an all-inclusive package – which means your sexy hand-made costume, drinks, goodie bag and even stewards to keep non band members away from the music truck –  simply everything you could possibly need for a fantastic carnival is included in the price.
 
Wotless!?!
Our Carnival Sunday is aptly titled Bacchanalia Wotless.  Wotless is a Trini term meaning bad/naughty behaviour. Carnival is a time for release, we see it as 2 days to forget your woes and sorrows and lose yourself in what is one of the Greatest Shows on Earth and definitely the best street party in Europe!! This year we are using the traditional theme of JAB-JAB and covering ourselves in red and blue paint – it’s the most fun you will ever have in your adult life – if you don’t believe us, try it and you will see for yourself!
 
More information under: www.baccmas.com

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