As the Brooklyn-based Sesame Flyers International celebrates 40 years next year, Executive Director Curtis Nelson has said Sesame Carnival, the mas band, will be portraying “Tao – The Journey.”
Tao literally means “The Way” in Chinese.
Tao emphasizes living in harmony,” Trinidadian-born Nelson, the band leader, told Caribbean Life in an interview at Sesame Carnival’s show room on Church Avenue in Brooklyn.
“We’re going to the 40th year; we do things different,” added Nelson, who has been with the organization since 1991 and executive director since 2000. “We’re looking to make sure we find a way.
“There’s a most effective way that has the main impact and viability,” he continued. “There are materials you have to get; the DJs, banners, security – it costs something.”
Nelson disclosed that, in view of the skyrocketing costs of participating in the Caribbean Carnival in New York, Sesame Flyers International has invested $100,000 to assist other mas bands.
“It’s a labor of love,” he said. “A lot of mas bands are made up of artistes, designers — people in the entertainment industry. Everybody needs bail out.
“Sesame heard the cry,” Nelson added. “We convinced the bands, and we wrote proposals. Every band is struggling to put costumes on the road.
“Hopefully, we can get that messaging across and get the city to invest in the carnival,” he continued. “That’s the vision of ‘The Journey.’ There’s need to have some entity to get finance on the ground.”
Thus, Nelson said Sesame Carnival has “cut down on the amount of sections (in order) to assist other bands.”
Typically, he said Sesame Carnival comprises about 250 masqueraders.
This year, Nelson said the band will comprise two sections – Yin and Yang, and Destiny, with about 50 masqueraders in each section.
“We’re encouraging other bands to join us to become a section,” Nelson said.
Even so, he said, with discount, registration has increased for the Junior Carnival.
Sesame Carnival won Band of the Year in the West Indian American Day Carnival for 13 years – 12 years in a row. It last won in 2011.
“Then, we stopped competing,” Nelson said. “The only band that beat us was Ramajay. Our role now is guidance and support.”
Sesame Carnival is located at 3510 Church Ave., Brooklyn.
For more information, call (718) 693-0500.