I first became aware of the existence of K2K Alliance and Partners when I heard that there was yet another new carnival band entering the arena for Trinidad Carnival 2012. By the time they launched in September, I had already decided where I was playing mas. As a result, my interest in K2K was more out of curiosity than anything else. So I sat back in my pajamas and waited for the photos from the band launch at Sauté Trinbago.
Well, when I saw the costumes from K2K, I regressed to the stage in every toddler’s growth where all you hear is “Mine, mine, mine!!!!” I wanted everything:
Red Sea? I want dat!!!
Saraswati River? Yes, please!!!
And don’t talk about Sea of Galilee! Ah love it bad, bad, bad!!!
The costumes moved me in a way that I have never been moved before. Forget curiosity. I just HAD to talk to these artists about their presentation for Trinidad Carnival 2012. And lucky for me, I caught them in a chatty mood.
K2K Alliance and Partners’ presentation for Trinidad Carnival 2012 is entitled “The Waters – Seas of Consciousness”. At the most basic level it tells the ‘Story of Man’ as he goes through various stages of life to eventually discover or rediscover himself. Kathy and Karen Norman have created a visual representation of an experience that is universal. “The Waters” takes us from birth and naivety, to growth and transformation, onto conflict, rage and ruin and finally to redemption and self-discovery. “The Waters” tells my story. It tells your story. It tells their story.
So what is their story? Well, Kathy and Karen are no strangers to the mas. At the age of 4, their Mom had them in carnival costumes on the big Savannah stage for Kiddies Carnival. Then as young adults they played mas with the best of them in the big band Poison. Who say bikini and beads!?! And the 4 year olds who Mom had to drag across the stage were gone. In their place were 2 enthusiastic masqueraders who loved nothing more than to enjoy all that is mas, especially the stage!
When the twins were offered scholarships to pursue their studies at Howard University, it was their intention to enroll in art courses to further their studies in this area. However, life got in the way like it sometimes does, and Kathy and Karen ended up studying business. This helped them to secure jobs on Wall Street in the highly competitive area of investment banking. And that could have been were the story ended. But like Kathy and Karen said “Carnival was always their calling”. So, even though life was leading them in one direction they never turned their backs on art and the mas.
Now, let me say that I am so pleased that they never gave up their creativity and their love of the Carnival. They have managed to take their experiences (loss, self discovery, uncertainly, rage) and have channeled it into the presentation that is ““The Waters – Seas of Consciousness”.
Kathy and Karen are definitely women with a vision. They want to “bring back some of the creativity that has been lost on the island”. They want to take mas to the world. Put it back on the international stage. The twins are genuinely saddened by the fact that so many of our mas pioneers are passing on and they question who is going to carry the torch? So, instead of entering the mas with bikini and beads which they could certainly execute, they decided to do something different. Kathy and Karen recognize that there is a place for the bikini and beads mas but there is also a place for K2K.
Their goal is not to imitate what has been done before, but to imbue the mas with a truth and creativity that is sometimes not apparent when you see the more popular bands on the road.
In their own words, “Carnival has always been about the art.” They have found a way to take their love of Carnival and their affinity for art and turn it into a collection of Carnival costumes which have been described as “Alexander McQueen meets Mas”. The twins have no intention of copying the great masters like Minshall and Barkley but hope to build from the contribution of these creative minds and take Trinidad Carnival to a new level.
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*These images which were photographed by Sancho Francisco were digitally edited by Jaime from Home Studio and she collaborated with K2K as Creative Director.
Maria Lopez is a complex woman who swears she is the sexiest thing on the planet. She splits her time between following band launches online, harassing the rest of the Trinidad Carnivals crew via e-mail, fulfilling her duties as Chief Editor-at-large for Trinidad Carnivals, and her day job as a health care professional. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.