With its focus on the Roman Empire’s relationship with “certain gemstones,” the Brooklyn-based Messiah International Mas Band will be “Bejeweled” in this year’s Labor Day production.
“This year, we are portraying traditional historical mas,” said co-band leader Trinidadian Chevon Messiah, also known as DJ Twist, in a Caribbean Life interview. “Roman themes have traditionally dominated traditional Trinidad and Tobago carnival. Throughout history, gems have always held special meanings and had special powers.”
Messiah, who is also a soca artiste, said his sister, Lucericia Messiah, is the other band leader, adding that the band is dedicated to “the preservation of Trinidad and Tobago mas and culture.
“We are devoted to the revitalization of old time carnival mas and the promotion of the arts associated with the carnival tradition,” he said.
Messiah said “Bejeweled” comprises two sections: “Sapphire” and “Ruby.”
He noted that sapphires did not come into use until the Roman Empire.
“Since ancient times, the Blue Sapphire represented a promise of honesty, loyalty, purity and trust,” Messiah said. “It was also purported to protect one from dishonesty, fraud, terror, poverty, and even stupidity and ill temper.
“The ancients also believed that sapphires could help them predict the future,” he added. “This year, we wanted a new beginning with trust and loyalty, and the sapphire represents our continuing vision.”
Messiah said rubies did not come into use until the Roman Empire emerged around 300 BC (Before Christ).
“Ruby represents love, passion, courage and emotion,” he said. “This gem is the king of all gems. It was believed that wearing a fine red Ruby bestowed good fortune on its owner.
“Rubies have been the prized possession of emperors and kings throughout the ages,” Messiah said. “Rubies often ignite passion, as it helps people move in life. This year, we wanted energy and vitality in our band, and rubies help get things moving.”
Messiah also said that the Queen — Black Diamond is “the hardest gemstone and one of the most valued.
“The black diamond represents strength and courage,” he said. “The diamond is said to increase the power of other gems. Thus, it enhances the ruby and sapphire.”
Messiah said “Bejeweled” comprises 50 masqueraders in each mixed section (male and female).
With masqueraders of “all nationalities,” he said: “We hope to do well in the small band category.
“We have performed well since 2013,” he said, adding, “we always enter into the small band competition.
“Masqueraders can expect a lively band that showcases culture and also promotes a safe enjoyable atmosphere,” he continued. “We try to personalize the carnival experience.
“Preparations are going well,” he said. “We are producing the costumes and organizing the entertainment for the parade.”
Besides being co-band leader, Messiah said he is “the official road DJ,” with “years of DJ experience.”
He said he will perform some of his hit songs on the Parkway, disclosing that he has participated in the Soca Monarch competition in Trinidad and Tobago.
Messiah said his hit song for 2017 is “Goodoye.”
“We aim to bring back the live band feel to the parade,” he said.
Messiah International Mas Band is located at 266 East 39th St. in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Messiah can be reached at messi