Trinidad and Tobago: Repoussé is the Tuesday Topic by CIRC
Trinidad and Tobago: Repoussé is the Tuesday Topic by CIRC

Trinidad and Tobago: The Carnival Institute and Regional Carnival (CIRC) has shared topic for Tuesday and Music Monday.

The post by the Carnival institute informed that hey folks! Welcome to another Topic Tuesday. Today we take a brief look at Repoussé, one of the metalworking techniques used in crafting Carnival costumes. Repoussé is a long-established and universally used technique (often called embossing) of producing relief decoration on a metal plate by punching and hammering thin metal from the reverse in order to raise the design on the front. This technique is done using hand punches, and hammers, or sometimes by mechanical means by the use of metal or stone dies (called ‘embossing dies’).

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One could not mention repoussé without mentioning the late artist and bandleader Ken Morris (1924-1992), who was an expert in this technique. He was well known for his elevated level of expertise in using copper and bronze in Carnival costumes. He was a graduate of Goldsmith College, England. He introduced metal repoussé into Carnival costumes in 1954. The likes of Carnival bandleaders George Bailey, Harold Saldenha, Bobby Amon, and Peter Minshall patronized his skills, and he went on to become a household name. This splendid use of copper would continue for over two decades before cheaper alternatives like plastics and aluminium were introduced. We feature two examples of his work.

Earlier, on January 23, 2023, on Music Monday, we feature Sanelle Dempster, who was born in January 1973 in Trinidad. Sanelle was a lead singer with one of the nation’s popular brass bands, Blue Ventures. She was the second female to ever win the Road March title in 1999 with her rendition of “the River.” The Carnival Road March is the tune that is frequently heard at the official “judging points” along the parade route during the annual Trinidad and Tobago Carnival.

Rose McCartha Sandy–Lewis (Calypso Rose) was the first female to win the Trinidad and Tobago Road March competition in the year 1977 with her song “Give Me More Tempo” and again in 1978 with “Come Leh We Jam”. Sanelle has exhibited the unwavering spirit of a true Trinbagonian female, her irresistible ingenuity, vision and ability to outshine the opposite sex in an era where men still tend to dominate the soca arena shows that feminine strength remains relative today as women continue to conquer and claim their rightful space in the soca music industry. Listen to Queen Sanelle Dempster with her rendition of the song “River.”