“BAJE INTERNATIONAL!!” is the infamous phrase from one of our favourite local entertainers, Rupee.
This phrase rang out through last Saturday’s creative display at Baje International’s 2018 launch dubbed ‘Odyssey.’ This year, the band is proudly celebrating twenty years of playing mas as a group. From humble beginnings as a party promotion endeavour back in 1996, Baje certainly has come a long way in establishing its dominance on the local Crop Over scene. It is with this experience and respect earned over the last two decades that Baje has decided this year to pay tribute to the previous years in which they were ‘heavy’ on the carnival scene.
Odyssey comprises the following eight sections: Baje xx, Odyssey, Flashing lights, Animaniacs, Kohinoor, Collage of time, F.L.Y. and Mega Monday.
Each section’s name was specifically chosen to pay tribute to their most cherished Crop Over seasons since the band’s inception.
Baje’s 2018 presentation was a unique one because it is one of the few launches so far, where I cannot safely say which section is my favourite. The reason being that all the sections had their unique flavour and flare to each of the reveals of the night. It is clear from the launch, how much Baje has learned throughout its tenure.
Mega Monday, named as a nod to Sanctuary’s soca song that dominated 2015, had a pseudo beach theme with its green, red and white feathered backpack complementing the simple yet chic monokini.
If I were forced to choose a favourite, I would have to say the feather and colour arrangement in the Odyssey section certainly grabbed my attention in the brief time it was on stage. One of the front line costumes, modelled by former Miss Universe Barbados, Shannon Harris, had the right balance of colour, intricate design and personality to suit the experienced model. As ‘bajans’ would say ‘de ting was on point!’
This year’s queen costume is from the Flashing Lights section and was worn by the current Miss Universe Barbados, Lesley Chapman-Andrews. What can we say about this outfit? Beads and feathers! If this costume had more feathers, I would not have been surprised if Lesley would have flown straight off the stage. In the same way that flashing lights grab our attention in our daily lives, the arrangement of colour commanded a well-deserved presence on the stage.
Collage of Time had a futuristic flavour to its design, reminiscent of the 2005 cult classic Tron: Legacy. With its neon yellow accented feathers and its avant garde styled eye wear, it will certainly be a standout on carnival Monday.
Richard Haynes and Val Bridgeman were on hand at the end to thank the crowd for its many showers of support over the band’s long running existence.
2018 is a big year for Baje International; it’s been around for a long time and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. It is apparent that Baje is here to play serious mas this year.