Mashramani 2015 launched with pomp and ceremony

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Dr. Frank Anthony (centre), dons a festive headwear by designer Carol Fraser, as he poses with models displaying 2015 Mashramani costumes. Far left in photo is veteran designer, Olympia Small-Sonoram

WITH great pomp and ceremony, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport in association with the Mashramani Secretariat officially launched Mash 2015 “open-air-style” on Main Street, Georgetown, Friday evening last.

Launched under the theme, “One People, One Culture, One Celebration,” the event began with spectacular renditions by the National Steel Orchestra, as MC Kirk “Chow Pow” Jardine created an atmosphere that was truly festive in keeping with the Mashramani celebrations.
Then masquerade dancers from around the country brought colour and much “cheery prancing” to the event as they executed some of the energetic routines associated with this dance genre.

Part of the large audience that turned up to witness the launch of Mashramani 2015
Part of the large audience that turned up to witness the launch of Mashramani 2015

Things escalated to soaring heights when Carib Soca Monarch Kwasi “Ace” Edmondson and Heatwave Band’s Calvin Burnette took to the stage, belting out some of the hottest soca hits around, that instantly brought the large crowd to their feet in dancing abandon.
As the two talented artistes performed, dashing models took to the stage showcasing Mashramani costume pieces provided by local designers, Maxi Williams, Neilson Nurse, and Olympia Small-Sonoram. The audience cheered as the models gyrated to pulsating beats, giving them an enticing “sneak peek” of what the designers would be bringing to the forum next year.
Williams’s costumes were dubbed “Bassidy,” while Nurse submitted under the name, “Jubilee.”
The Mash theme for 2015 was also officially unveiled at the event; it was submitted by Miss Xarielle Gittens of Linden, whose winning entry was selected when the contest for next year’s

Part of the large audience that turned up to witness the launch of Mashramani 2015
Part of the large audience that turned up to witness the launch of Mashramani 2015

theme was staged earlier this year.
Delivering the main address, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony, said that Guyana possesses a unique fusion of diverse cultures which unifies us, ensuring that social cohesion works for us. He added that the very culture allows for the showcasing of great creativity, especially at Mashramani.
The minister noted that in the month of February dedicated to Mash festivities, over 100 songs are created by Guyanese, speaking volumes for our local talent. Next year’s Mash celebrations will feature the customary steel pan contests, parades and intellectual competitions, according to the minister, with wider scope being made for art exhibitions at Castellani House. A prestigious lecture series dubbed, “The Republic of Guyana,” would be staged at the National Library. These lectures will of course be based on various aspects of our Guyanese culture.
The minister expressed hope that there will be some 45 bands on the road for the upcoming festivities, even as he urged designers to showcase more diversity in their costumes.
Dr. Anthony called on corporate entities to become more involved in the Mashramani festivities, since the Culture Ministry and the Mash Secretariat cannot carry the mantle alone. He stressed that there is much- needed collaboration of businesses across Guyana to make the celebrations bigger and better.
The minister pointed out that businesses could benefit greatly from their involvement, since they could use this forum to advertise their services and products both locally and internationally, because the festivities are also given international coverage.
2015 will mark the 45th year that Guyana will celebrate republican status.