Banboche Mas goes to ‘Wonderland’

Shaun Duntin of Moruga, Trinidad and Tobago, strikesa pose while portraying “Labadie.”
Photo by Nelson A. King

The predominantly Haitian band Bancoche Mas is going to “Wonderland” this Labor Day Carnival.

“This theme was chosen to highlight one of Haiti’s premiere destinations (Labadie) and other majestic destinations around the world,” said band leader Haitian American Alexander Bernadin in a Caribbean Life interview.

He said about 125 masqueraders — from all nationalities, including Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago — will play in five sections: Labadie (Haiti), Danxia (China), Iceland, Kawagoe (Japan) and Nirvana.

“Responsible for providing great music on the road are DJ Stakz, DJ Pretty Nyce and DJ Hard Hitting Harry,” said Bernadin, who founded

Banboche Mas last year with Haitian Americans Charles Vieux and Stanley Bordeaux, and Trinidadian-born Jason Charles.

“Growing up in Brooklyn, each (co-) founder had a history of participating in the Labor Day Parade,” Bernadin added. “They felt Haiti lacked the representation, and decided to contribute by becoming the first Haitian mas band to deliver the total carnival experience.

“Masqueraders are equipped with everything — from beautiful costumes to great music,” he continued, stating that the word “Banboche” is “the Haitian Creole equivalent to Trinidad and Tobago’s dialect word ‘Ramajay.’”

“Banboche means to enjoy one self, to be free-spirited,” Bernadin said. “Our foremost mission is to present ourselves as an example of the beauty that is Haitian culture. We hope to share this on the forefront, and curate a dialogue new and exciting.”

Therefore, he said, “Banboche Mas is delighted to compete as a small band in this year’s Caribbean-American Parade.”

You can call Bernadin at (917) 740-4490; Instagram @BanbocheMas; or visit the band’s website at www.banbochemas.com.

In addition, you can visit the mas camp at 1214 Nostrand Ave., between Hawthorne and Winthrop streets in Brooklyn.

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