Showing posts from April, 2019

A record! 2,800 attended Toronto Mas launch Saturday night

THE BIGGEST SO FAR THIS COSTUME LAUNCH SEASON SALDENAH CARNIVAL   IS ALL HEART AND SOCA! By Stephen Weir The Saldenah family pulled it off.  There was too much at stake. Louis Saldenah was able to get a record number of people – 2,800 people into the Scarborough Cinnamon Banquet Hall,  He had 120 fancy dressed models on and off  the stage before the bar closed at 2 am and didn’t have a heart attack getting the job done! Saldenah Carnival, the largest and most winning Canadian band in the annual Toronto Caribbean Carnival Grand Parade is taking it all to heart in 2019.   Note that their theme is the Heart Beat: the Thrill of Life. And to keep the whole thing beating a record 17 sections were needed to show all the costumes they will have on the road this year. “ We expect to be making 6,000 costumes this season,” said  Hayden Harbin. “ There will be five trucks on the road with special guest stars on the floats (Caribbean Camera hears that Trinidadian singer Nadia Batson

Caribbean Connection returns with the sweet sounds of Soca

Jai Ojha-Maharaj is back playing sweet Caribbean music to the World! B y Stephen Weir The Dean of Soca Music on the Toronto airwaves is back! Two weeks ago Sunday morning radio host JaiOjah-Maharaj once again got behind the microphone and started playing the sweet sounds of Soca and Calypso Music. The Caribbean Connection Radio Show with Jai is not being heard on Toronto’s CHIN radio station, his home for 30-years, but on the MyCarribeanRadio -- the Trinidadian Super Soca online radio station. “The actual show is originating out of a private studio in Toronto’s west-end” Ojah told me in a recent phone interview. “We are going to video stream at a later date, so in the short-term it will be just radio. To hear me listeners (anywhere in the world) must log on Sundays 10am to 2 pm beginning Sunday.” Jai Ojha-Haharaj    was the host and producer of the original Caribbean Connection Radio Show that for 30 years was the mainstay of weekend pr

Costumes for artists and misfits and many other Persona

Epic Carnival’s costume launch last Saturday has Freudian influenced sections for every revellers' inner dreams Story by Stephen Weir Photos By Gilbert Medina If Sigmund Freud had attended Saturday night’s Epic Carnival costume launch he’d probably would have said that it was an event that reached out not to his Ego, but to his Id.  The Id is that part of the  mind’s psyche, where innate instinctive impulses reside!  Epic’s moniker was Persona and the 500 people who attended were asked to choose the costumes they liked based on their own impulses! “We asked people to think about what their Persona is,” explained Epic’s Jerrol (Stretch), Augustine. What they saw on stage was our EPIC Carnival models portraying many different concepts of Persona. We wanted unique themes that captured the energy, passion, imagination and culture of our masqueraders. This year's focal point is image and self-expression. “ EPIC put a list together of possible persona and matched them wi


Virgilia Griffith Unguarded in  the Tarragon’s Guarded Girls By Stephen Weir In a city where there are scads more actors and actresses than there are roles to perform in, there is one person on stage who is very very different.    The standout star is Toronto’s Virgilia Griffith, a young woman who has been constantly employed – plays, dance performances, and TV roles – since graduating from Ryerson’s Theatre Program some eight years ago.   In the last year the Caribbean Camera has    strongly praised her work in three different plays    - Soulpepper’s Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Tarragon’s Harlem Duet,    and Obsidian’s Other Side Of The Game. Now she winning standing O’s in Tarragon’s Extra Space co-starring in Guarded Girls, an all-women 90-minute play about the horrors of prison. It is a brand new work by Governor General’s Literary Award nominee Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman.  It stars Griffith, Columpa Bobb, Vivien Endicott-Douglas and Michaela Washburn. Set on a stage

Mas Band Saturday Night Mash Up

Two Different Approaches For The Saturday night Battle of the Bands By Stephen Weir  Photographs by Stephen Weir  Jully Black from reggae singer to Soca sailor Two Mas Men went head-to-head on Saturday night and both came out winners, each in their own way.   A pair of Caribbean Carnival Band launches were held on the same night – one in North Toronto and the other in Malvern.    The two band leaders   - Raptor celeb Jamaal Magloire (Toronto Revellers) and Will Morton (Fantazia) took two different approaches to showing off the costumes that their bands will be wearing on the road this summer. In the business of Mas, the winners and losers of a Battle of the Bands, is ultimately not determined by the number of people that attended (in which case Jamaal won hands down) but rather by the number of costume buyers who decide to sign on the bottom line as a result of the fashion show.   The Revellers won at the gate, and Fantazia had the most social media cameras beamin