Mas’ in Baltimore

By Hollis Lashley

No fewer than 18 bands took to the streets of Baltimore  under sunny skies on Saturday for the Baltimore-Washington Caribbean Carnival 2017.

In the large band category, ” Infusion,” led by designer Jackie Cumberbatch, was one of the outstanding mas’ presentations, full of colour and creativity.

Another favourite with the crowds of spectators was Kenley ” Shortmus” John’s ” large band” presentation, ” “Amazonomachy,” which explored  the legend of the Amazon and its characters. It too was a riot of colour and workmanship.

The women, not to be outdone, were represented by bandleader Shelly Tindale-Brown, who presented ‘Flight and Flutter’, a winged fantasy blending color and movement to challenge the imagination in the carnival tradition.

Among the other colorful presentations in the large band category were  “What lies beneath”, “Ocean Treasures”, and “Enter the Serengeti.”

In the spirit of carnival, the medium and small bands focused on having a good time and providing entertainment to both players and onlookers.  The Baltimore Camo Posse organized ” We Far From Finished.” Dressed in their camouflage outfits, they were ready ” to bring peace to what is associated with war.” East Coast Limers’ had their costumes along with the casual outfits of T-shirts, hats and head bands in varying colors, giving new meaning to ‘Liming’.

Also on the parade route were “Bring back the Vibes” in tribute to Jamaica, “The story Of Tambu” by the Richards group, The DC Jab posse with “De Reunion”, Horizon Sound Steelband, Panquility Steelband, and of course the perennial crowd pleaser, DC Mud Mas, led by Andy and Cindy, and stimulating  the musical senses with Andy’s mix of soca jams. They were disciplined ‘Mud Rejects’.

At times, the bands with their amplified trucks of music, moved slowly and left gaps in the parade to the frustration of the judges and onlookers but to the delight of the vendors and masqueraders who did not wish to move from the street and the partying.

The Police deserve commendation for exercising  sensitive restraint under unusual circumstances.

Overall, the visual impact was breathtaking, the colors were stunning and the crowd was large. Baltimore-Washington Carnival 2017 has been rated as yet another great success.