By Gerald V. Paul
In an exclusive interview with The Camera yesterday, Louis Saldenah of Saldenah Mas Camp revealed that his 4,400-plus players will pay tribute to the new Trinidad and Tobago Power Soca Monarch and winner of the Road March, Machel Montano.
Saldenah’s son Ronnie, the third generation involved in Mas, had the idea of paying tribute to Montano, his idol. Montano is one of the opening acts at the Pan Am 2015 Games in Toronto.
“We will be playing different sections to Montano’s hits such as Like ah Boss, Toro Toro, Remedy, Fly so High, Indian Gal, Out of Space, The Vibz, Can’t Done and Powder.”
In Trinidad this week, Toronto’s Nationz Camp leader Marcus Eustace’s creation took second place in the King contest.
While Trinidad and other countries wrapped up celebrating the traditional February Carnival, Saldenah, Canada’s leading Mas man, was stressing that the public must pay to play Mas on the Toronto parade route.
At the Toronto parade, “we have been crying out for years now about the need for a clean mass. No costume, no mass!
“Let’s educate the public. This is not a free-for-all. Respect the culture.” Saldenah is referring to the ongoing problem of large numbers of parade watchers who jump in and join the Toronto parade as it passes, significantly slowing its progress.
With 17 wins and 14 second places under his belt, he said the success is due to teamwork. He encourages more people to play Mas with all the bands – the more the merrier. “Volunteer in a Mas camp and learn the ropes,” Saldenah added.
“We are bringing bands for the culture and getting sued just because some people refuse to officially play Mas – it’s not right. Why are people on the parade route who are not supposed to be there?
“99.9 % of the people who get injured on the parade route are spectators who were not supposed to be there and now they are turning around and suing all the parties concerned. This is not right, since it’s not our fault that these individuals took on their own initiative to get involved on the parade route without officially playing Mas,” Saldenah said.
He pointed to the Gay Pride Parade and the Santa Claus Parade “where there is respect for these entities.
“Show us some respect here at Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival, Toronto parade. For those people who are tempted to take a wine and jump and wave, please register and participate in any Mas band,” Saldenah noted, adding that for the past two years more young people have been registering with his band.
Saldenah will launch his 2015 band on April 17 at 9 p.m. at Chandni’s Banquet Hall in Scarborough. For more information call 416-560-4419.