With Saldenah Mas Band opening for registration today, I have been receiving lots of messages asking me what is really going on with Saldenah and their participation in Toronto Carnival.  Will they be competing?  Should I register for a costume and then what happens if they don’t get to participate? So here’s what we know: Between March 1st and March 5th Machel Montano announced on IG and at Return Fete that he and Epic Mas Band will be bringing a section in Saldenah Mas Band for Toronto Carnival 2015.  None of this is a secret, it’s all over Epic Mas Band’s social media pages and Machel Montano’s Instagram. Let’s look at some quotes: “@epicmasband will be presenting the "Like Ah Boss" section designed by @anyaayoungchee and hosted by @machelmontano for Caribana 2015 in the Louis Saldenah Mas Band! After Hollywood .... We heading to TDot!?? #epicmasband #monkmonté #carnival” Enjoy this Instagram photo again letting us know who will be bringing the section: epic announcement post Here is the video announcement at Return Fete in Toronto:
  Between Feb and March 2015 Trinidad Express and Loop.tt wrote articles about Epic Mas Band.  In it they let us know that Epic Mas Band is not a Canadian entity and that Epic Mas Band would be bringing a section in Saldenah Mas Band. Let’s look at an excerpt:  “Even as they are set to expand, the Epic Mas Band team have already set their sights beyond LA, committing to participate in Saldenah’s Mas Band presentation “The Chronicles of Machel Montano” at Toronto’s Caribana festival in August 2015. The section will be titled “Like Ah Boss”.” You can see the full articles here: http://looptt.com/2015/03/16/registration-opens-hollywoods-epic-mas-band/ http://www.trinidadexpress.com/featured-news/The-Epic-of-Monk-Monte-294309311.html I did not do an exhaustive search but you get the idea.  Epic Mas Band announced their intent to bring a section in Saldenah Mas Band.  Epic Mas Band is not Canadian.   April 16th, 2015 Epic Mas Band introduces us to the Epic Mas Band Toronto logo and signage Epic Toronto Logo post April 17th Saldenah Mas Band Launches, including "Like Ah Boss" section.  Anya was on site. April 18th, 2015 Epic Mas Band lets us know that we can register on their own website: www.epicmasband.com to play in their section “Like Ah Boss” in Saldenah Mas Band Let’s look at a quote: “TORONTO Look trouble now! @epicmasband hosted by @machelmontano presents the #LikeAhBoss section in @teamsaldenah for #scotiabankcaribana on Saturday August 1st ?????? (Save the date!) This modern militant black and gold costume was designed by @anyaayoungchee. The designs are created in keeping with EPIC MAS's core theme where masqueraders can re-use their costume whether they are heading to the club, beach or a casual event after carnival. The MM and ANYA AYOUNG CHEE branded accessories; hats, visors, and a magnificent sheer black and gold cape is a fashion statement for everything BOSS! MAS CAMP REGISTRATION will soon be announced within the next few days! So stay tuned in for when you can register ONLINE REGISTRATION will be opened to the public via www.epicmasband.com after we have opened our Mas Camp Registration! For more info: email - info@epicmasband.com”  epic registration post   April 19th, 2015 Here a photo of one of the "Like Ah Boss" costumes with the Epic Mas Band signage. Epic signage post And here's the same costume at Saldenah Band Launch epic from karabana     April 20th, 2015 Lime.tt clumsily posted a rumour on their Instagram page.  The rumour said that Saldenah Mas Band was suspended by the “Caribana Board” for bringing a section led by Machel Montano.  It further stated that because of government funding requirements, having foreign entities in a band breaches the rules. Now let’s ignore the fact that they use “Caribana Board” when in fact they were referring to the Toronto Mas Bands Association and then the “Annual Caribana Parade” when they meant the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto.  This rumour had been floating around for some time.  Most of us bloggers had had it whispered in our ears but no one from any official Toronto Carnival organising entity wanted to go on record.  Lime.tt took this post down shortly after it went up.  Here’s the post: Limett   April 24th The Toronto Mas Bands Association sent out an email subject: Official Toronto Mas Bands Association (TMBA) band list 2015.  It went out to the TMBA members, the Festival Management Committee, other stakeholders and the big media including The Star, CP24, Toronto Sun etc…. Saldenah Mas Band was not on the list. Trinidad Carnivals reached out to TMBA for comment and this is what we received “Saldenah is not on the list, as his band was suspended by TMBA.” No further comment was provided by the TMBA. tmba email Over on the Save Toronto Carnival Page, Louis Saldenah posted the following: “All the Bands has broken the rules for the past four year, and all of a sudden T.M.B.A want to wave the rules in front of me four month prior to the parade.But the cream always rise to the top. (**the post has since been removed**) saldenah comments to post We reached out to Saldenah for a comment and were told that one would be released at 6pm.  Here is their statement: Saldenah statement All it says is that they will be participating in the parade.  It does not address the suspension of the band by the TMBA, nor does it alert the public to whether they will be competing or not. April 29, 2015 Saldenah Mas Camp is due to open today. Epic Mas Band alerts Instagram follower that prices for “Like ah Boss- A Section in Saldenah Mas Band” will be released soon. (**looks like that post got removed from IG but here’s the screen capture**) Lsaldenah EPIC april29th   Later in the day-------  Louis Saldenah posts on the Saldenah FB group, distancing the band from Epic Mas Band.  The post does say Epic Mas Band Toronto, but there is no separate entity as Epic Mas Band Toronto. It's all part of Epic Mas Band but it looks like they brand it with the names of the cities in which they will be bringing a band/section. It follows the same convention they have used before such as "Epic Mas Hollywood". Let’s look at a quote: “It has been brought to my attention that Epic Mas Toronto is a section with Louis Saldenah Mas-K Club 2015. There is no such association or section with Louis Saldenah Mas-K Club. The ads and/or notices posted on social media, yesterday and this morning were not authorized or sent out by the leadership of the Mas-k Club. Louis Saldenah" L Saldenah distances self from Epic FB   Some things to consider:
  • Please note that there have been tweets and FB comments from various members of the Saldenah camp saying that they will be competing in Toronto Carnival 2015 and not to worry, something about Che Kothari being the section leader.  All this is good and wonderful but neither Saldenah Mas band nor Saldenah supporters run the parade.  The FMC runs that parade.  The TMBA receives transfer payments from the FMC.  So unless that FMC or TMBA confirms that Saldenah will be competing and will be on the road then I suggest we all sit tight.
  • Just because Saldenah has been suspended, it does not mean they cannot be on the parade route.  Politicians have been the parade with their supports and music trucks.  There are also guest bands that participate.  The FMC makes that the final decision about who is allowed on the parade route or not and right now all we have is radio silence from Denise Herrera-Jackson and Chris Alexander who run Toronto Carnival.
  • Louis Saldenah pointed to other bands breaking the rules over the past 4 years.  This is concerning as the TMBA is funded by the City via transfer payments from the FMC.  So if bands are getting tax payer money and breaking the rules then that is a problem.  A BIG BIG PROBLEM.  What is the FMC, TMBA and the bands doing with my money?  If bands are breaking the rules, does the Councillor Mihevc know?  Does the FMC know and are simply turning a blind eye?  I pay taxes…. You can’t spend my money any which way you want…..  So which band is getting tax payer dollars that they are not entitled to!  I call on the City and the FMC to investigate further to determine if there is any substance to the allegations made by Louis Saldenah and if so, they need to take action now.  This is tax payer money we are talking about.  Louis Saldenah is the Vice President of the TMBA, when someone at that level makes an accusation of tax payer money being diverted and used inappropriately the City must get involved.  You can bring your concerns directly to Councillor Mihevc who is the City Liason to Toronto Caribbean Carnival.. His email: councillor_mihevc@toronto.ca
  • Recall, that we have many foreign designers who design for Toronto Carnival. Also, Toronto Revellers had Ronnie and Caro in their band a few years back.  Now, I do not know if Ronnie and Caro were simply designers or if it was their own section.  But there may be some double standards that were hinted at by Louis Saldenah in his now deleted post.
In closing, I will say this.  For those who want to play in the section “Like ah Boss” from Epic Mas Band hosted by Machel Montano in Saldenah Mas Band, you may want wait a few days and see what happens….. I hope all this is resolved very soon and in a fair and transparent way.  FMC, TMBA we call on you to make a statement because all this confusion is not good for Toronto Carnival.