I have lived in China for 5 years now, so you can bet I jumped at the chance to play mass in Shanghai! On Saturday 14th September 2013, led by Trinidadian–born Band Leader, Ansel Wong, the Tsingtac Mas Band, performed for the fifth year in China promoting Carnival; and for the first time this year the band was joined by Steel Pan on the streets of Shanghai performing to a live street audience as well as a TV audience, all together over 200 million Chinese viewers.
The Shanghai Tourism Festival, with a collage of flamboyant color, echoing sounds and a mix of competition and celebration, is an event like no other! Though similar in essence to the carnivals of both Port-of-Spain and London, the organization and scale of the event was fascinating, a beautiful a night-time spectacle! The most discernible difference was the entourage of over 30 large competing and mesmerizing mobile floats beautifully illuminated and adorned with hundreds of halogen bulbs. They depicted cultures within China and around the world, with native scenes and characters such as giant moving crabs (fake, not curried)!
My costume was the dress used for “Unraveled-The Other Half” performance piece, with some modifications for the ease of mobility. The best part of the whole experience was the interaction with the folks from London and reconnecting with the carnival spirit. Thanks to my dear friend and costume designer Khisha Clarke for making these connections possible and for my fabulous head dress!
Mas and Pan in China was a success. Dr Shen Shanzhou, Vice Chairman of The Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration praised the band for its performances and presented it with an award of commendation. In return, the Band presented the officials of the City Administration with bottles of Angostura 1824, Mount Gay Extra Old and copies of the T&T Gold Book.
It was my pleasure to have participated in this grand spectacle, and I look forward to similar performances in the future.