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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Thoughts on Tribe's Wings of Desire

Firstly, I am no fan of Tribe so note that there will be biases in this post.  For instance, I had a smh moment when I saw that their promo video for the band launch featured no soca. Really Tribe? Sometimes I wonder how much are these bands and their cult following concerned with promoting and preserving Trinidad Carnival, but again, that's my bias speaking. They are not.  I also don't like that you have to get past a gatekeeper to register withTribe, but I don't blame the band for that, I blame these soul-less masqueraders.  Now if you think I'm being too harsh here, try observing a Triber or a wannabe Triber around registration time...the devil makes a mint off of them...

Anyways, I am not completely anti-Tribe, but will give them credit where it's due. According to costume guru, Saucy, Tribe does literal interpretations well for the bikini and beads crowd.  If you remember Ole time Something Come back Again (which was my absolute favorite), Birds of a Feather, Butterflies, Beasts, and Bacchanal, and Tribe 10, these were all fabulous overall presentations.  For this reason I thought 2015 's Wings of Desire, which was supposed to be inspired by the Victoria Secrets' angels, would be brilliant.

Overall, Wings of Desire is simply, boring.  I expected more of the Victoria Secrets-esque wings with more vibrant and new color combinations.  I do not agree with the tired arguments that the designs are not original, they look too Brazilian, they are too skimpy...blah blah blah.  These critics need to remember that Tribe's model is not based on being cutting edge or producing Minshall type costumes.  They are satisfying their market, the same way that Poison did several years ago.  And while I'm on the Minshall and MacFarlane type costumes, a lot of them weren't original interpretations.

My main criticism of Wings of Desire, is that overall, the presentation is boring, but if you look closely, there are lots to applaud.  I think it's superficial to say that all the costumes "look the same". If you are of this opinion, I urge you to look closely at Solange Govia's designs. Vice's body wear where the sleeve and the illusion panty are remarkable concepts.  Although I'm not a fan of the color combo on Crave, she got the wings right and the details on the bra and necklace cannot be ignored.

Another costume where the body wear stood out is Raw. Oh em gee, do you see that bikini cut???

My overall favorite costume is Anya Ayoung-Chee's Luxe.  She captures the Victoria Secrets' wings and her signature fabric cape is the ish.

Source: Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Costume Photos

But these specific details on some of the designs do not help with the overall look of the band. More importantly, these are Frontline costumes and they make up a minority on the road.  Furthermore, at this point we have no idea what the backline will look like, but I predict they will all be lackluster and a poor scaled down version of the Frontline.  Over the years, Tribe's basic backlines have deteriorated and look like little or no effort went into them.  And for the males, just accept that board shorts and armbands will forever be your destiny in Tribe....

Finally, I would just like to point out to people, especially those outside of Trinidad and Tobago, that Tribe is not the be all and end all of the Trinidad Carnival experience although it is represented as such.  There are lots of other bands that do not require so much effort to get in and offer more for their backlines. If you are not into the bikini and beads, there are other bands that offer more creative representations.  If you don't want to play mas with 5000-6000 people, there are smaller bands.  If you want a more elaborate male costume, there are bands for you.  If you want to pay less, you can.  The Trinidad Carnival is not as insular as it may seem to be...

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