Cayman masquerade “mas” bands have teamed up to form the first Cayman Islands Masquerade Bands Association.
To show their support for Cayman Batabano Carnival, the new association is hosting an “All Ah We” band launch at the Strand on West Bay Road, on Monday, Jan. 23, the Heroes Day holiday.
The block party-style event will showcase costume designs of all the mas bands that will be on the road during Batabano this year and will sign up masqueraders for the parade on May 6.
Costumes will be showcased on stage in the parking lot during a Soca fashion show featuring local and international DJs and hosts. The event includes Whiskey Mist, Lillie’s and the Warehouse on the Strand.
Gates open at 12:01 p.m. and admission is $10 at the gate.
Newly elected as president by mas band leaders, Olujimi “Jimmi” La Pierre said the collective band launch is more economical for the registered mas bands.
“It is the vision of the Batabano Committee and CIMBA, who have always believed in unity for one successful national carnival on Grand Cayman,” said Mr. La Pierre, son of island pan legend Earl La Pierre.
“We’re not in this for ourselves but for the people of Cayman and for those who come to our shores to play mas and experience our culture,” he added.
Batabano chairwoman Donna Myrie-Stephen said, “We are thrilled that these local mas bands united and formed CIMBA, the first of its kind in the 34-year history of Cayman Carnival Batabano. We encourage the public to come out and support the Batabano mas bands at the ‘All Ah We’ band launch … their first unified presentation and launch of their 2017 Batabano costumes.”
“We’re excited about the energy that the Batabano Committee has this year, and we’re looking forward to being part of it,” said Mr. La Pierre, who is also a leader of the FRESH Carnival mas band, which won Batabano’s Band of the Year award in 2016.
“Given the opportunity to serve as the first president for CIMBA, I appreciate the respect and confidence my fellow band leaders have in me,” said Mr. La Pierre. He said growing up in the carnival culture, from Cayman to Trinidad to Toronto, he has enjoyed the energy from the music and masqueraders.
“Like Peter Ram’s tune, ‘All Ah We’ stand united for the love of the music and wanting to see our masqueraders and sponsors enjoy Batabano to the max.”
Ms. Myrie-Stephen will receive the Pioneer in Tourism award on Heroes Day.