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Ronnie & Caro have won Band of the Year titles as medium and large band, in competitions in the Queen’s Park Savannah and Downtown Port-of- Spain at least a dozen times. While bandleader Ronnie Mc Intosh is easily recognised as a frontline vocalist for some top music bands as a past Soca Monarch but not many people know the silent force behind Mc Intosh, not just as an entertainer but as a success mas band leader and winning Band of the Year figure.
T&T Guardian Features/ Arts & Entertainment Editor Peter Ray Blood located Mc Intosh’s wife, Caroline, designer of the mas presentations of Ronnie & Caro, the band everyone wants to beat in mas for Carnival 2018, and asked her the following ten questions.
How long have you been designing costumes / clothing? Who was your inspiration?
I have been designing costumes / clothing around the same time; since I was eight.
My mother was my inspiration. She was such a fashionable woman.
Did you do art at school? If so, what school did you attend?
I attended Providence Girls. No, I did not do art at school. I enjoyed making dolls clothing though.
What do you think of Carnival today, compared to yesteryear? What do you think of the portrayals of today?
Yesteryear masqueraders drove around in trucks with rope all around their bands for their safety. Now masqueraders parade on the streets with rope around their= bands, still for their safety. Same but different; portrayals. To my mind designers then and now have the same ambition, “that is to create costumes that their masqueraders are happy and comfortable with.” Some like a lot of fabric others don’t so I design for both.
Do you think the Government should invest more into culture, ie Carnival, ie mas, calypso, pan, chutney soca, stickfighting etc?
Absolutely. Trinidad Carnival, named ‘The greatest show on Earth,” is a great tourist attraction this assists with revenue that comes into the country, and enriches the state. Pre-Carnival activities calypso, pan chutney soca, stick fighting etc create jobs, showcases our talent and provides employment.
How do you combine being a mother, wife, designer, mas band leader?
Ronnie and I, we have a good relationship. We take turns in doing stuff. He cooks, I clean and so on; that takes care of being a wife and mother.
While I enjoy designing and buying for the band, Ronnie does the PRO and handles the road.|
If you were not designing for Ronnie & Caro, which mas designer / band would you want to play mas with? Why?
That’s a tough one. Lol. I will pass on that one.
How have your parents inspired / motivated you into becoming a designer / bandleader?
My mother loved carnival. I remember coming home from school and seeing the house full with macrame costumes for Peter Minshall’s band Dance Macabre.
I played my first big people mas when I was eight. I started showing mummy my ideas. It’s in my blood.
Do you think we are losing the traditional way of making mas, bending wire etc?
Not really. Wire bending is a skill. Wire bras are in demand. There aren’t enough wire benders to supply. Most of our shoulder pieces/ headpieces are done by wire benders.
Do you think that we are losing our creativity in mas?
Absolutely not. So many more people are designing and creating different aspects of the mas. There is change in every thing we do.
What have you designed for C2K18? What is your goal for C2K18? What are your future plans in mas / design?
The name of our C2K18 presentation is Life’s Checkered Board. My goal is to create the best band ever. My future plan for mas/ design is to rock the carnival scene in 2019.