Oh! What a night!! Last night.
Oh! What a night, last night was! 😀
For the last couple months, we’ve been anticipating the World Premiere of the local Performance: Jab Molassie… and last night, we got the opportunity to attend, at the Little Carib Theatre… and oh what a beautiful performance! what an amazing nine-person orchestra and voices and dances and talent! We loved it!
Now, Trinidad and Tobago, like throughout the world, have their own folklore and folk tales, history, myths and traditions. Part of these include the traditional Carnival Characters that are especially portrayed during “Jouvert” [Carnival Monday morning mas] or in Ole Mas Bands. One of the main Carnival characters is the Jab Molassie. According to the Trinidad and Tobago National Library website, http://www.nalis.gov.tt/, the traditional Jab Molassie is described as:
The Jab Molassie is one of several varieties of devil mas played in Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. [Jab is the French patois for Diable (Devil), and Molassie is the French patois for Mélasse (Molasses)] The costume consists of short pants or pants cut off at the knee, and a mask and horns. The Jab Molassie would carry chains, and wear locks and keys around his waist, and carry a pitch fork. He may smear his body with grease, tar, mud or coloured dyes (red, green or blue). The Jab Molassie “wines” or gyrates to a rhythmic beat that is played on tins or pans by his imps. While some of his imps supply the music, others hold his chain, seemingly restraining him as he pulls against them in his wild dance. The differences among the various forms of devil mas were once distinct, but have become blurred over time.
You can find out more about the Traditional Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Characters here.
This Calabash Foundation for the Arts performance of the Jab Molassie, is a local version of the famous Igor Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale”. According to the information provided on their official website, the synopsis is as follows:
Set in the windy hills of Laventille, two school Security Guards, a man and woman, narrate the tale of Starboy, a gifted musician with a bright future who unwittingly sells his soul, represented by his music, to Jab Molassie, also played by male and female performers. Imagining that in exchange for his instrument he will gain all the riches promised to him by Jab, Starboy cannot predict the heavy price he will pay for this exchange. Nor does he imagine that he will be lost forever… or will he be?
This productions stared the amazing sounds of a nine piece orchestra, which included a double second steel pan, a violin, a saxophone and a trombone, among others instruments, and the beautiful talents of Gyazette’s Nickolai Salcedo, 3Canals’s Wendell Manwarren and Roger Roberts and sopranos Natalia Dopwell and Germaine Wilson, with the graceful dancer, Dominique Doyle.
With great company on hand, the music, voices and talents captivated us to the point of wanting more… and more we did want, as our only complaint was that our time in the theatre went so fast. The performance was an hour long, and we wished that it could go on for at least another hour…
Thank-you for the opportunity to enjoy our local arts and culture.
If you got the opportunity to attend this production, let us know what you thought!
If you didn’t get the opportunity to attend, I hope you do in the near future.
For more pictures and information about the production, you can check out the following links:
Photographs by Maria Nunes
Official Website: http://www.jabmolassie.com/