‘Ah Journey Thru De Caribbean’

Najah Jackson portraying “Parakeet.”
Photo by Nelson A. King

The newly-formed Evolution Mas is taking “Ah Journey Thru De Caribbean,” as it looks to “do something different” for Labor Day.

“Evolution’s goal is for our masqueraders to enjoy themselves and to create long-lasting memories,” said band leader and president Shakikki Craig, of Trinidadian parentage, in a Caribbean Life interview.

“Our objective is to obtain the attention of the community, so they would see there are promoters that care and are willing to give you your money’s worth, while being sincere,” she added.

Craig said the small band, which was only formed in February, comprises five sections in its portrayal: Tropical Sunset, Caribbean Paradise, Parakeet, Chutney Bacchanal and Waterfall.

She said “Ah Journey Thru De Caribbean” “accommodates” between 80 and 100 male and female masqueraders, with “mixed” nationalities: Haitian, Trinidadian, Jamaican, Hispanic and American.

“The portrayal is based on our experience traveling throughout the Caribbean,” said Craig, who is assisted by Trinidadian “business partner” and vice president Kurn Dick.

“Both masqueraders and the public can look forward to seeing glitz and glamour, beautiful handmade artwork and music from New York’s best DJ’s,” she added, disclosing that music will be supplied by Brooklyn’s Music First Productions, with DJs Freeze International and Platinum Sounds.

“Our chances at placing high are just like any other bands,” continued Craig, stating that she grew up in a mas camp in Brooklyn watching her father, Sly Sylvester, make mas for major bands, such as Hawks International, Sesame Flyers, Xstacy and Blackfoot. Sylvester currently makes mas for J’ouvert, and beats pan.

Alexis Nanton portraying “Chutney Bacchanal.”

Photo by Nelson A. King

“We do our best, and however the judges see fit is what will be the outcome,” she said, stating that competing is “a harsh word.

“I do not compete. I partake because I enjoy playing mas, as well as making mas,” she added. “If I win, I win; but Evolution is not in the parade for that reason.”

Since Evolution’s formation, Craig said it has “progressed the way we envisioned.

“Me and my partner each came from an organization that we believed did well,” she said, stating that she and Dick were even planners for the Brooklyn groups, Q-Plex and De Dutty Crew, respectively.

“However, we felt, as a team, we would exceed our goal, so we conjoined,” she added. “We have not received any awards as yet, but we do receive positive feedback from our work/ events.”

Evolution Mas camp is located at 3 Raleigh Place in Flatbush, Brooklyn, between Church Avenue and Martense Street.

For more information, call Craig at (347) 280-2356, (347) 362-1868, or (917) 345-8699.

Shakoby Beckles portraying “Waterfall.”
Photo by Nelson A. King

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