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Steelband makes history winning 'Band of the Year'

Steelband makes history winning 'Band of the Year'

Posted by Shanelle Weir on March 07, 2014

Mas and steelband history was made this year in the Band of the Year competition, staged by the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA), when a steelband won the coveted title for the second time since the competition was inaugurated in 1963. 

When the NCBA posted its official results on Wednesday night on its Web site, it revealed that Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars’ presentation titled Sailors Ashore at a Tropical Fiesta topped the competition.

Exactly 50 years ago, another steelband, Junior Pouchet’s Silver Stars teamed up with Russell Charter to produce the winning Gulliver’s Travels. Costumes for that presentation were designed by artist Pat Chu Foon. Gulliver’s Travel’s also copped the Band of the People’s Choice Award. The 1963 runners-up to Charter and Silver Stars were Cito Velasquez (Splendour of the East) and Desperadoes (Land of the Zulus), respectively.

All Stars hit the main stage on Carnival Tuesday with almost 2,000 masqueraders in tow. Accompanying the legendary Duke Street steelband musically were Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille, St James Tripolians, Harlem Syncopators, Tunapuna Rhythm Section and the Road Marching Band Rhythm Section, the latter actually having a live horn section comprising residents of St Mary’s Home.

Ecstatic about his band’s win, All Stars’ manager Beresford “Berry” Hunte said: “We worked very hard for this achievement and it’s a good feeling to win. I am elated though this win doesn’t make up for losing Panorama. It’s two different things. They just cannot leave All Stars out of Carnival. We have been in Carnival for many, many years, and if we have to go to the Socadrome to be recognised that we’ll also do.” 

All Stars, playing Shirlaine Hendrickson’s Excitement, was edged out of first place in this year’s National Panorama final by Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove, by a mere point. This result unearthed much controversy and debate in steelband circles, especially amongst All Stars’ loyal fans.

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