Veteran carnival bandleader Louis Saldenah, popularly known as Sally, has won the “band of the year” award no fewer than 18 times in his illustrious mas’ producing career in Toronto which started in 1977.
This year he is presenting Wonders of Spring, a band with 17 sections with names such as Sunblast, The Awakening, Butterfly Rose, Cherry Blossom and Morning Glory.
” I have always wanted to play Spring because Spring is new life. But how do we portray the season? Then one day I was driving along the road and the concept came to me – Wonders of Spring. And there and then I said ‘that’s what we got to go with,'” Saldenah said.
Mas’ aficonados who have seen the costumes say he could be another ” band of the year” winner.
But Saldenah ,points out that at this stage in his career, he is ” not unduly concerned about winning.
“We are going to have fun and we want to ensure that the masqueraders with us are having a great time. That is the most important thing for me.”
Last year there were 4,500 players in his band.
“But this year we expect to have more people in Wonders of Spring. Perhaps about 4,750,” he said.
“Some sections are already sold out,” he noted.
Louis Saldenah established his band with his father, the late Harold Saldenah, a leading carnival bandleader in Trinidad who had been credited with dividing bands into sections and who won several “band of the year” awards.
Carnival bandleaders Marcus Eustace and Bryce Aguiton, the dynamic team from Carnival Nationz, say they are getting ready “to spread the L.O.V.E.” for the Toronto Caribbean carnival 2018,
And as they explain, L.O.V.E. is their acronym for the four sections of the band – Let Your Voices Erupt, Love Our Valuable Earth, Love Overcomes Virtually Everything and Live Our Values Everyday.
As one longtime mas’ man put it, these are “important messages for day-to-day living. It’s mas’ with inspirational messages.”
Carnival Nationz which produced its first band, “Dis Is Paradise,” in 2005, was the only band ever to capture the “band of the year” award in its inaugural year.
So far it has won the title eight times.
And it has won the queen competition seven times in a row.
Marcus Eustace, the widely known mas’ designer, has copped the “Carnival King of Trinidad & Tobago” title nine times.
His partner, Bryce Aguiton (aka “Island Boyz”) is an innovative entertainment promoter in Toronto’s Caribbean community.
Caribbean Nationz had 3,200 players last year.
Eustace said they are expecting to have “about the same number on the road this year.”