Zain Carnival is ready for the road, according to administrative lead of the band Vanessa Boyce.
Speaking with Newsday on Friday, Boyce said all the costumes are finished and distribution takes place this weekend at the band's camp at Store Bay Local Road, Bon Accord.
Conceptualised in 2018, she said Zain Carnival was crafted out of a desire to elevate the mas experience for Tobago masqueraders by introducing the first ultra-premium mas band.
“Zain Carnival prides itself by being first and foremost, customer centric and service oriented, by offering our ‘ZAINITES’ a safe and hassle-free environment; from registration to the road, with all-inclusive packages, beautifully themed costumes and Monday wear, all while being affordable,” she said.
In 2019, the concept of Zain Carnival was brought to life with the collaborative efforts of the team with the presentation Birds of Paradise, highlighting birds found in Trinidad and Tobago in three sections: Peacock, Macaw and Scarlet Ibis. The band participated in both Monday night and Tuesday mas, placing fourth in the former.
This year, the band’s presentation is titled À MA MÉRE, which means "to my mother" in Swahili.
Boyce said, “It pays homage to the motherland Africa, with each section representing a tribe from the continent.
The band, which consists of three sections – Zulu, Samburu and Ndebele – will again be on the road on Monday night and Tuesday in Scarborough.
The Zulu section depicts the largest ethnic group of South Africa. Also known as Amazulu, the Zulu people are known for their colourful neck pieces, which are depicted in the presentation.
The Samburu section depicts the friendliest tribe in Kenya. The traditional dress of the Samburu tribe is always adorned with colourful, beaded earrings, bracelets, anklets and necklaces. Their head pieces are also adorned with chains around the eyes. These aspects are incorporated into our presentation.
The Ndebele all-female section depicts an ethic group of Zimbabwe. The Ndebele tribe is known for their neck rings, which is used to "lengthen" the neck. These rings are incorporated into Zain Carnival's presentation in the form of a gold, ringed necklace.
These costumes, she said are designed by J’Fab Body.
“They have done a lot of work for Carnivals throughout the Caribbean and Zain Carnival is happy to have them on-board,” Boyce said.
With a limit of 38 players this year, Boyce said the band already has 35 registered masqueraders “and will only be able to accept three more."
She noted that as of Carnival Friday, there were three pieces available in the Samburu section, while the band has already received numerous calls from people interested, “so we expect to be sold out by first day of distribution.”
The administrative lead said registration was done mainly via Zain’s website, as most of the masqueraders from Trinidad and abroad chose that medium to register, “as it also offered a portal to make online payments.”
“Additionally, masqueraders were able to register at our band house. We launched virtually on Emancipation Day 2019 and although there was not a rush in the beginning, there was keen interest from those outside of Tobago, with our first set of registered persons being from Trinidad and abroad. Over the last month we received a heavy increase in interest from persons in Tobago,” she said.
The prices, she said range from $1,700 to $3,900.
“We offer backline, frontline and premium frontline costumes. Masqueraders can also customise their costumes to cater to their desired cut and addition.”
Zain Carnival competed in the female individual category of the Kings and Queens competition with Goddess Nkai of the Samburu Tribe placing second, while A Tribute to Princess Mkabayi was unplaced.