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Sunday 18 August 2019
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Marcellin’s mix of design and music

Burt Marcellin
Burt Marcellin

Burt Marcellin, graphic artist by day and music bandleader by night, literally takes night to make day and vice versa.

The owner of Marcellin Creations and Media Works, Marcellin says that part of his life is his eight-to-eight business, after which he turns musician with his band Brass 2 The World.

So how does he marry this business with his music life?

Marcellin, son of the famed brass player Mano Marcellin, who also led his own band, responded: “It’s just crazy! It’s just in the genes right now. Last week when we were doing the set and the emancipation decor at the Diplomatic Centre, a lot of our infrastructure was in the Carifesta village, so we used stage roofing and draped it with chandeliers to give it a ballroom effect. We also created a set on stage, a whole VIP lounge on the outside to create that outdoor feel. It was like taking two weeks' work into five days!”

Marcellin had to do double duty on the day, since his band also performed at the event.

He said his work means long hours. “Whatever we put on paper is what we produce. It is never a fake,” added Marcellin.

Before he left TT on Wednesday night his company was decorating booths for the trade ministry and ExporTT at the Carifesta village. “We have technology so via FaceTime I could manage it.”

Marcellin said his company transforms spaces. Apart from just the normal decor, they build a lot of sets and props. They’ve done the Tobago Heritage Festival set for five years till 2017. As well, they’ve done a lot of events for the government and private sectors. And for the last five years, they were responsible for all the decor for the opening ceremony of the TIC (Trade and Investment Conference), as well as booths for Tobago and ExporTT.

Marcellin took pride in also doing the stage set for Mr Killer’s production, used during his winning Soca Monarch performance earlier this year. He said Grenadian ministers and Carnival officials who were in TT for the performance contacted him, after which he met with them in Grenada.

Marcellin has subsequently designed Grenada’s Carnival 2019 logo, taking the shapes of all the island's spices, like clove and nutmeg, and created a moko jumbie character. His company also did all their T-shirts, flags, poles, advertising banners and other promotional items.

Marcellin began his graphic designing at a local newspaper, then continued it at an ad agency, Media Fantasy Ltd, owned by the WGM Group. He also did hands-on training with Peter Charles, one of TT’s most renowned graphic artists, and others.

Although that kind of old-school graphics appears almost defunct, , Marcellin said, he has held on to it, and has incorporated the wirebending and carvings into the new technology – and that. he said. is the wow factor.

“We’ve revolutionised the business and have been doing things out in Atlanta and Miami, USA. People are seeing things here and asking us to come out there to do things.”

Already on the cards for next year is the set for Grenada Day in Montreal.

Brass 2 the World

On the musical side, Marcellin said Brass 2 The World had a very successful Carnival this year. One of the ambitions of the band is to reintroduce and continue live brass music on the streets for Carnival which it has been doing, along with others.

He said of the Monday mas band: “We produced Blow Mano Blow, which was a huge success. We treated revellers to a different type of experience. We started it with a brunch at Lions, then when we hit the streets of PoS there was total revelry. Having the brass off the truck, intermingling with masqueraders caused a really different type of experience, with players requesting us to bring it back for next year’s Carnival.”

For the band launch on November 1, they are working out the details of the portrayal Yuh Looking For Horn, in keeping with their musical theme. Marcellin said the traction is already there, with local and foreign enquiries. But he doesn’t want his Monday mas band to be bigger than 600 people, because it may become unmanageable.

“Since Carnival we have been trying to carry the band to a different level, giving people a real party band to party with, complete with live horns. This upcoming season, our frontline will be enhanced by one of the most effective female vocalists and stage performers, Sanell Dempster, who returns to the band. She will line up with Snakey, Keisha Stewart and Metro, a young addition,” said Marcellin, who added that the new frontliners have already started performing with the band.

This Saturday, they will perform in Montreal, and on August 22, 24 and 25, Snakey and Sanell will represent the band at Boston Carnival.

The band’s first live performance back home will be at Pan on the Avenue on Independence night, which will also kick off their 2020 season. The band will be on a 40-foot trailer on Ariapita Avenue between the small and large steelbands, along with some Blow Mano Blow masqueraders.

Marcellin said: “We have a full repertoire planned for a real fun evening.”

Between that gig and the launch of the 2020 Monday mas band on November 1 at Kaiso Blues Café, the band has a number of private engagements, then more leading up to Coco Reef’s Old Year’s Night dance in Tobago, and TUCO’s Start the Carnival on January 1.

As for Carnival 2020, among the usual masqueraders, others are expected from Miami, Canada, California and Grenada, as well as a contingent from Point Fortin.

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