By Stephen Weir
Sunday morning at the Grand Deluxe Ballroom in North Toronto and sunrise only three hours away. It was very late even for a mas’ band costume launch, when Tribal Carnival founder Dexter Seusahai and daughter, Celena Seusahai, wearing the showstopping costume, lowered the music and told the wildly clapping fans where their family-run band is heading.
“We have been up. We have been down. Now the sky is the limit!” yelled Dexter. He told the 500 strong audience that Tribal Carnival will compete for the first time in three years in the large band class (1,000 plus) for this year’s August 4th Toronto Caribbean Carnival (Caribana) Parade.
Established in 2007, Tribal has emerged as one of the festival’s most successful mas’ bands. Tribal has not only competed successfully in the Toronto carnival but is also a driving force in the annual Cayman Islands’ May 5th Batabano Carnival
This past weekend’s costume launch was the third this spring. Tribal’s fete followed the trend set by the first two launches — EPIC Carnival, and Venom Mas’ with large excited crowds, inventive costumes, intriguing themes and unfortunately, very late starts
.every subsequent year.
Tribal Carnival’s costume show got underway after 1 a.m. on Sunday and ended two hours later. It was a high energy show, starring some 80 beautiful well rehearsed models and energetic outgoing male performers.
The section names say it all. From Mad Tea, to Jabberwocky and The White Witch, the nine sections took their name and inspiration from
Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Celenai, the driving force for the weekend costume launch, wore the “showstopper” costume based on the theme of Through the Looking Galls.
Despite the tardiness at the start, Tribal Carnival put on a slick, well paced show. Two reasons for this. Tribal Carnival is very much a mom and pop and daughter operation. Dexter, Gail Chelsea and Celena do the heavy lifting by handling marketing, costume design, logistics, section leaders and even model costumes. As well, this is the second launch of the year for Tribal. So they have had practice. They had a hugely successful costume launch in the Caymans early this year.
The response to this weekend’s launch was almost instantaneous. Tribal was inundated with costume requests from wanna be revellers.
“ Our mas’ camp address is 3401 McNicoll Ave Unit 8. It is set to open April 12th and we will be open from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.,” said Celena. “We are currently planning an event at a North York nightclub but that fete is not set in stone yet. And we will be heading to Cayman in two weeks to distribute costumes and get ready for the parade.”
Doing the “Jabberwocky”. Section Two. Tribal Carnival, costume launch. Costumes based on the Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland books. “Jabberwocky” was a nonsense poem about the killing of a creature named “the Jabberwock”.in Alice Through the Looking-Glass.
Absolem, the Blue Caterpillar in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. On stage wears blue and white frontline costume.
“Now the sky is the limit!” yelled Dexter Seusahai (left) on stage at the end of the costume launch, to his left is his daughter Celena Seusahai wearing the “show stopping” costume of the night. To her lright is MC Sheldon Francis (aka SKF)
DEXTER ON STAGE WITH HIS DAUGHTER Dexter Seusahai (left) on stage at the end of the costume launch, to his left is his daughter Celena Seusahai wearing the “show stopping” costume of the night. To her right is MC Sheldon Francis (aka SKF)
Doing the Jabberwocky – “Jabberwocky” – Section Two. Tribal Carnival, costume launch. Catwalk.Fashion show. Costume launch. Late night early morning show. Toronto. Costumes for summer Caribana Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade, August 2018
Dancer from the Jabberwocky Section performs on stage
Great Shot Of Woman Mas Model smiles and takes a pose for the media photographers
Face to Face – White Queen Section. Double exposure by sweir
Showstopper -Celena Seusahai wearing the “show stopping” costume of the night. Through the Looking Glass section
Dancer Good in Focus – Celena Seusahai wearing the “show stopping” costume of the night. Through the Looking Glass section
Line of Dancers – It is 3 am the costume launch is over and the models come on stage for one last dance
GREAT WOMAN – it was a blur on stage but the dancer’s face is in focus
Early Morning Pas De Deux – Two dancers/mas models have a pas de deux at the end of the catwalk. Tribal Carnival costume launch 3 in the morning. Today. North Toronto. Mas camp showing off what they will be wearing on the parade route – Caribana Saturday August 4, 2018.