I'm the girl in the colorful costume
with the huge headdress. I was born in Trinidad, but now I live
in New York City. I am ten years old. I performed at the West
Indian Carnival in Brooklyn, New York in the Labor Day Parade. I have
been in the parades since I was five years old. We start to prepare
for the parade in June and we work as partners in teams all summer.
My costume was made by a professional designer. It cost a lot, $45,
but it was worth it.
In Trinidad we call these celebrations a mas. Mas is short for masquerading in costumes. The costume I wear is very big but it's not heavy on my back because it is mostly made of feathers. When the breezy wind hits you, you must hold on to it! When I have that costume on I feel so good because I get to express all of my dancing feelings. When I go up on stage for competition I feel excited and nervous. Sometimes when I see all of those people looking at me I feel like I want to faint or run off the stage. But when the music plays I feel happy.
In Trinidad we have our own special musical instrument which we call pan. A pan is a steel drum. You can play any kind of music on it, not just calypso or soca, and it will sound nice and smooth. I play pan myself and my family has our own band. I play the tenor and the bass. My sister plays the tenor, and my father plays the bass and the double tenor. Pans are very expensive. They cost $100 to $1000. My father buys them here and in Trinidad.
Now the steel drum is played
all over the world. Every year in Trinidad there is a special contest
called Panorama. Here in Brooklyn my family will compete to try
to win airplane tickets for our band to go to Panorama. There are hundreds
of bands there and it is a real honor to win it.
My family has been invited to play at our school. We love to perform and we are happy when people can share our culture. If you would like to learn more about it you can visit these web sites.