As Guyana this year celebrates its 50th year of political independence from Great Britain, the Guyanese mas band One Destiny is going “Primal” for Labor Day.
“We, as Proud Guyanese, want to represent Guyana tremendously,” said One Destiny Mas’ founder and band leader Zeelema Verwayne in a Caribbean Life interview. “We are taking you back to an early stage in evolutionary development of the wild, with our costume presentations.
“This year’s presentation is called ‘Primal’ — release your inner beast,” added Verwayne, whose band has been participating in the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade on Eastern Parkway for the past three years. “This year, One Destiny Mas wants everyone to be able to be free and express themselves, as they take closer looks into the wild sides.”
Verwayne said One Destiny Mas comprises six mixed — male and female — sections, with 25-30 masqueraders in each section.
“In our entire band, we look forward to having about 300 masqueraders this year,” she said, identifying the sections as Purple Onca, Queen of the Jungle, Medusa’s Paradise, Wild Things, Passion and Primal Goddess.
“We are a Guyanese band, but we do have a few other nationalities that are a part of our band,” Verwayne said. “All are welcome.
“This year, we hope to be one of the best,” she added. “We plan to have a performance especially for the judges. Our costumes speak for themselves, with the vibrant colors and work detail.”
Verwayne said her band has “grown tremendously” over the years, starting out with just 50 masqueraders in the initial year to almost 300 now.
This year, she said masqueraders can expect to have “lots of safe fun.”
“They can expect to see different cultures and enjoy lots of music,” she said, adding that, so far this year, with several other designers, “we are in great standing with all of our preparation.
“We are fundraising by keeping events weekly at our mas camp to help in raising funds for our band,” Verwayne continued. “We are still looking for sponsors, if anyone is interested in working with us.”
She said masqueraders will sway to a “remarkable sound system that will lead us down the road with some of Guyana’s top DJs.” She did not identify them.
Verwayne also said that One Destiny Mas is not only a mas band but a non-profit organization “that receives no governmental funding.”
She said the group aids “all school age children living back in Guyana — the educational material, resources and support to low income community and general public, relating to many different vocational educational training.
“[These] will ‘further their hands’ in education to become successful adults,” she said, disclosing that One Destiny Mas is also “working towards opening a recreational center to further our mission.”
The mas camp is located at 381 East, 52nd St., between Church and Snyder Avenues, in Brooklyn.
One can reach One Destiny Mas by visiting its website at onede
“One Destiny Mas just wants to wish Guyana a Happy Independence [Anniversary],” Verwayne said.