Continuing the tradition — Mas Icons

Roy Pierre and Cheryl Odeian in front of designs for Brooklyn J’Ouvert 2016 “Havana Nights.”
Keith Getter

Over a span of some forty-plus years, Roy Pierre & Associates has participated, in one way or another, in cultural events and activities related to the West Indian Labor Day Parade. The group’s presentation, “Midnight at the Oasis,” winner of the Band of the Year prize in 1974, was the pinnacle of many creative productions, including “Hiawatha,” a tribute to the Native American, Shangri-La, for which the band’s king won the King of the Bands title, and “Caribbean Potpourri,” a mashup of our own cultural origins.

After a hiatus of some seven years, the band rejoined the celebration of its cultural presence in the borough of Brooklyn through the backdoor (so to speak) of J’ouvert, becoming an integral part of that spontaneous outgrowth. Love of pan was in large part responsible for the band’s return. That participation, presently closing in on a 20-year duration, has rewarded Roy Pierre & Associates with the impressive record of winning the J’ouvert Band of the Year title 16 times. Caribbeat, the magazine of Caribbean Airlines, recently featured the band in an extended, six-page article, written by Alaskan judge Ray Funk, in recognition of work the band has done, and continues to do.

Roy Pierre & Associates, always with an eye to presenting mas that is relevant and thought-provoking, has managed such productions as “Boomerang” — the Australian aborigines, “Cotton and Cane” — the history of slavery in the U.S. and in the Caribbean, “Running of the Bulls” — the famed festival of Pamplona, and on and on. While producing high-quality mas, the organizers always kept the cost of its costumes at affordable levels, partly the reason for its loyal band of followers.

Last Saturday, with an excitingly successful band launch, the band proudly introduced its mas for J’ouvert 2016: “Havana Nights – Cuba in the Fifties,” taking you back to a time when nightclubs in Havana were the playground of notorious American gangsters.

“Come join us in another winning spectacle as we reconnect with that magical island, where music lives on every street,” said Pierre.

The mas camp is located at 204 Parkside Ave., between Flatbush and Ocean Aves., opposite the Q subway station, and is open nightly Aug. 1 to Labor Day, 6 pm to 1 am.

For further information, call 718 282-1229, or 718 462-5164.

Two designs for Brooklyn J’Ouvert 2016 ‘Havana Nights’ presentation by Roy Pierre & Associates.”
Keith Getter

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