Brooklyn-based Cocoritehouse Jabjab Produktion wins crown at T&T carnival

Brooklyn-based Junior Elias Andrews, bandleader of Cocoritehouse Jabjab Produktion performing on stage at the Queens Park Savannah during a limited presentation of the 2022 Trinidad & Tobago Carnival. He copped second and fourth place prizes in the Individual Category.
Brian James

Award-winning costume designer, Junior Elias Andrews, whose band Cocoritehouse Jabjab Produktion, for the last years has won titles from 2015-2019 still, holding the championship to date, has copped second and fourth place in the male individual category at the 2022 Trinidad & Tobago carnival.

The Trinidad-born reveler, who splits his creative talents between Brooklyn and the twin-island, told Caribbean Life that Carnival 2022 was “medication to my soul.”

“The opportunity to be part of history in the COVID pandemic, to express myself on stage, “the Big Yard” Savannah was everything to me. But to come home and see my family and friends, was something I have been longing for, a rebirth, after two years of no carnival. The taste was excellent. We at Cocoritehouse Jabjab Produktion are thankful to the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

“COVID-19 affected and tested my creativity to the limit in so many ways. From my mental health to the feeling of hopelessness, wondering what will be the new normal.”

However, the pandemic shutdown also gave him hope, and new ways of looking at the cultural heritage of the West Indian footprint in the time of uncertainty of carnival, and “our history our destiny.”

“Mas man, carnival artistry is now more than ever the expressions of our journey,” said Andrews, recalling his exciting performance on the Savannah stage, at the Feb. 20 limited presentation, where he competed under the theme: African Individual of the Year.

Brooklyn-based, costume designer Junior Elias Andrews, of Cocoritehouse Jabjab Produktion. Brian James

The concept this year was “The Spirit of Carnival African Spirituality.” He explained that it came about when “I started thinking of the “trauma” of not being able to go home for carnival, and what that means to me and all the people that love our culture and identity.”

Cocoritehouse Jabjab Produktion, created almost twelve years ago, blends his Trinidad and Tobago and Grenadian roots, and has been massing, both in the twin-Island and Brooklyn, with much success.

“Our focus is on traditional and conventional individual mas, kids’ band and adult band categories,” said the band leader, who recapped how enjoyable and exciting this year’s Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago has been, adding, “it was excellent in 2022.”

Luckily for Andrews who was born in Cocorite Terrace West of Port of Spain, after being alerted, just a month before that the low-key carnival presentation would be held at the Queens Park Savannah, pulled out a costume he had designed in 2016, ready to play mas for the judges.

“I designed the costume in 2016, but it was not until this year it came to life,” he said, describing his winning outfit as a full-length gown and cape. The creation was outfitted with wire and cut from dazzling fabric with an arched-stitch patent for comfort and movement on stage.

The bandleader now awaits information on when he will be presented with his prize-winning trophy. Albeit he hopes that he will once again get the opportunity to showcase his award-winning design, at a limited masquerade presentation on Labor Day in Brooklyn.

Andrews said Cocoritehouse Jabjab Produktion was ahead to 2023, with great anticipation to mas in Trinidad and Tobago and Brooklyn coming back bigger, and better. He thanked the public for making his band stand tall.

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