Toronto mas band joining Batabano

| 05/04/2017
CNS Local Life

Batabano costumes by Carnival Nationz Cayman

(CNS Local Life): Canadian masquerade (mas) band, Carnival Nationz, will be participating for the first time at Cayman Carnival Batabano, set for 4-6 May 2017. The group has won the “Band of the Year” award at Toronto’s Caribana festival multiple times. In addition to providing a new carnival experience for local Batabano masqueraders, the band is offering an all-inclusive five-day travel package to Cayman.

“Offering visitors the ease and comfort to play mas in Batabano is essential, and making the booking and registration process smooth is key to our end goal of attracting this segment of masqueraders to the Cayman Islands,” said Carnival Nationz bandleader Bryce Aguiton. “So we are targeting not only locals to join the band, but also Canadians who may, or may never have, considered Batabano before.”

Cayman Islands Director of Tourism Rosa Harris added, “As a national event, I am pleased to see that Batabano continues to explore partnerships that will increase visitation to the Cayman Islands. It is very exciting to have such seasoned veterans join us for our vibrant carnival. We look forward to welcoming the band to our shores.”

Headquartered in Toronto, Carnival Nationz, which has established a local subsidiary, Carnival Nationz Cayman, has won eight of the last 12 Caribana Band of the Year titles, including a hat trick from 2014-2016.

Aquiton explained why his band chose to participate in Batabano. “Carnival Nationz is always looking for opportunities to expand its brand, especially in valued and growing carnival markets, and we have witnessed Cayman Carnival Batabano evolve over the years to become an emerging force among Caribbean carnivals,” he said, adding that an opportunity arose for his band to team with Caymanians to help them “represent the festival properly. So the timing was just right for us to finally venture overseas and join Batabano in 2017”.

As a salute to Cayman, the band’s inaugural theme for Batabano is “Natiwe” which focuses on the beauty of Cayman’s indigenous plants and animals, including the blue iguana, wild banana orchid (national flower), Cayman parrot (national bird), spiny lobster and fire coral.

“’Natiwe’ is a play on the word ‘native’ as pronounced by the locals in Cayman,” Aguiton explained. “We thought – what better way to pay homage to the islands than to showcase key natural beauties and aspects that are present in Cayman. We have also adopted an environmental aspect to the theme by donating a portion of the monies collected through the blue iguana section, to the local conservationist movement to protect this endangered species. We want people to embrace the beauty of these islands.”

With a month remaining before carnival, most of the group’s costume sections are already sold out.

Aguition spoke of what he’s looking forward to most about being in Batabano this year: “Seeing the band come to life for the first time and creating a new ultra-experience for masqueraders, from costume design to road vibes.”

Batabano chairperson Donna Myrie-Stephen echoed the tourism director’s enthusiasm about the participation of the Toronto band. “The Batabano committee is thrilled to welcome the first masquerade band from Canada to register for our national carnival Batabano, and we’re very excited to see their beautiful Cayman-themed costumes on the road this year.”

To register with Carnival Nationz Cayman, email the band or go to its website 

To learn more about Batabano go to the Cayman Carnival website 

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Category: Events

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Let’s see which other countries we can give away our local carnival to, Calling Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados and Miami…We desperate, come make some money for Batabano Ltd.