Mas Fareid Carvalho man rises for a taste of carnival
This will be Fareid Carvalho’s 22nd attempt to win the title of Carnival King. But this year is different from all the others. Although Carvalho wants the title, entering the contest is all about showing support for the government’s A Taste of Carnival.
The highest he has placed in the competition is third.
The playwright, masquerade, actor and producer was shocked by the amount of negative comments and naysayers of the carnival taste.
“Last year we didn’t have carnival and I was in mourning. Carnival is in my blood, it’s in all our blood…
“I’m not politically affiliated at all, I don’t even vote. However, I think being in the position of this government is very difficult because it’s, ‘fuck if you do and fuck if you don’t. don’t,'” he said in an interview at one of his camps in Alfredo Street, Woodbrook.
“Last year you had no carnival, you had nothing, you were upset. Now that they’re trying something – A Taste of Carnival – they’re upset. So you can’t really win.”
For Carvalho, half a loaf is better than nothing.
The government announced this year that the country would host a preview of Carnival which would feature different elements of the annual festival; mas, pan and calypso.
While some people expressed the view that the government should have waited until 2023, Carvalho said that given the ever-changing nature of the virus, anything could happen and there couldn’t be a 2023 carnival either. .
“They are trying now, give them a chance. Also, we can use this as a stepping stone.”
Although the short delay proved difficult, it also fueled Carvalho’s creativity.
“For me, as a creative, the pressure works. Logistically, it’s a bit difficult. Normally, we have four months in advance to prepare a real king’s suit.
“Yes, I am a bit appalled by the last minute announcement but we can and we do it,” he said.
To create his costume in a limited amount of time, Carvalho has four teams in four different locations working 24/7 to build the costume. He also has the various locations to ensure he meets covid19 guidelines and has his 30-member team physically distanced. The team also used technology (video conferencing) to ensure everyone was in sync with each other.
He thanked the government, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell and President of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Bands Association (TTCBA) Rosalind Gabriel for their collective effort in creating a taste of carnival.
For him, the consequences of not organizing an event are disastrous.
He said many other countries and carnival organizers are looking to grab the spot for TT’s carnival.
“Other countries are trying to rain down and hang on to our parade.”
He said that during the week of carnival proposed by TT, Miami plans to host a Caribbean food festival with five or six events. Carvalho said there were talks that there would also be shows and costumes.
He added that these other carnivals also already host TT artists, not only musicians, but also designers and make-up artists.
“You can’t get upset. You don’t get a job here. They have to feed themselves, they have to eat. So if they earn income there, they will go.”
He also believes that many people miss the economic angle of the importance of hosting an event like the Taste of Carnival.
He said people who comment negatively on carnival taste may have stable jobs or regular incomes that many in the creative industry do not have.
Carvalho said that as an artist he had not worked for the past 11 months.
“Do they even stop to think about the little man? What about the folder, the seamstress, the makeup artist, the graphic designer, the performers?”
Carvalho also owns the Carvalho Theater and its dancers and actors were struggling.
While some have said hosting the Carnival should have been done virtually, Carvalho doesn’t think it would have been a success.
He said he tried pay-per-view during the pandemic, but Trinidadians weren’t into it.
Carvalho said some of the negative commentators were hypocritical, pointing out that some of these same people pay a lot of money to visit other carnivals. He said some people he knew went to Miami for Carnival.
A Taste of Carnival is also an opportunity to set the model for how future carnivals can be held during the pandemic and other public crises.
Budgets for the Kings and Queens costume range between $80,000 and $150,000 and while he has managed to keep his budget at $81,000 so far (at the time of writing), many products and services needed to make the costume have increased due to the pandemic.
He said a sheet of plywood that once cost $225 now costs $475.
But for Carvalho, it’s a passion and he “loves to play roulette”. Her family is also into the carnival.
He felt the need to speak out as he saw that other artists were not championing the initiative.
While many countries around the world are easing restrictions completely, Carvalho said he agreed it should only be a taste of carnival and nothing more to ensure TT’s healthcare system can withstand it. and adequately treat new and ongoing cases of covid19.
For him, a taste of carnival is a blessing in disguise
He is also doubly excited about the possibility of a carnival in Tobago in October.
“Normally the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is at the same time. It’s hard to choose. It’s like a catch 22 but it’s an opportunity to create jobs. I think with this Taste of Carnival, it will give tourists and international suppliers a chance to see that we can do something.”
In a few months, that gives people time to book for the Tobago Carnival. He said he was also considering making a costume for it as well.
Coming out of that, he also wants to engage Mitchell on how TT could take its culture even further onto the world stage.
He said his only concern about A Taste of Carnival was that he didn’t know if the public would come out to support the performers.
“I really hope they do. I know people are scared and they have a right to be. We had a first meeting and the organizers are going to follow all the protocols,” he said. .
When a taste of Carnival was confirmed, Carvalho immediately went into work mode and went to Toco for two days. During this weekend, the idea came to him. He conceptualized the idea, did a line drawing, then went to his master bender.
From there he obtained fabric swatches and made a color drawing. He added that because Carnival suppliers didn’t have time to bring in produce, he had to get creative and use alternative materials like chicken wire.
In February, during the Seniors Kings and Queens preliminaries, Carvalho and his costume will be on stage at Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain.
All he asks is that TT support his artists like he stands behind A Taste of Carnival.