Category Archives: Trinidad Carnival History
National Carnival Bands Association Remembers
Story Created: Sep 28, 2012 at 11:47 PM ECT
Story Updated: Sep 28, 2012 at 11:47 PM ECT
Geraldo Vieira Sr Carnival costume designer, costume technologist, entrepreneur, innovator, masquerader, husband, father, friend, executive board member of the National Carnival Bands Association, are just a few of the descriptions used to describe a warm and talented individual. From 1953 when Vieira played mas for the very first time, right up until his death on September 21, he was all things Carnival with a true love of the art form pervading his life.
In 1959, Vieira presented his first band Flowers and Fruits along with Cito Velasquez, and from 1970, he started producing costumes for Kings of Carnival, the first king being Albert Moore. Vieira racked up an impressive list of wins in Carnival competitions which included 9 Kings of Carnival (some of which are: 1971: “La Reyme Rei”; 1978: “Demon Mantis”; 1981: “First Quarter Of The Moon”; 1995: “Mystic Dawn”; 1996: “Rainfest”; 1999: “Let There be light”; 2006: “The Might Of Rome”; to name a few); 9 second places in King of Carnival competitions; 1 Queen of Carnival (1994: “Light of the World”; 1 Carnival Queen of the World (1994: “Light Of The World”) (Collaboration with Follette Eustace); 3 Junior Queens of Carnival (consecutively 1981: “Dancing Jellyfish”; 1982: “Bird of Paradise”; 1983: “Swimming Angels”); 2 Junior Individuals Of The Year and his winning ways were not limited to Trinidad and Tobago, but spread all over the carnival diaspora, in the caribbean—St Maarten, St Thomas, Barbados and St Lucia; In Canada, The United States, England and South Africa. Geraldo’s costumes created history with the use of pyrotechnics such as fireworks, robotics and special lighting effects which won Vieira many titles for his phenomenal and spectacular presentations. Audiences looked forward to his costumes with much anticipation and excitement.
His expertise in the area of creating intricate vacuum form plastic mouldings was exceptional and extended beyond mas-making to businesses in Trinidad and Tobago and abroad. He founded Advance Plastic Products, a company which manufactures disposable cutlery for the fast food industry, molded plastic signs and skylights.
In 1996, Vieira created history when his son at age 19, on his first appearance, became the country’s youngest king portraying “Rainfest” a costume he designed in 2006. Vieira again created history when at 67 years old, on his first appearance as a king of carnival, he became Trinidad’s oldest king portraying “The Might of Rome”.
Vieira did not limit his skills and knowledge to carnival only. From 1969 he was very involved with the Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition for the Barataria Community Council, copping the special Prime Minister’s Trophy for the best handicraft display in that year. From 1974, he produced the gowns and costumes for the La Reine Rive entrants from Barataria and his queens won the La Reine Rive titles in 1975, 1976 and 1978. The first car ever given as a prize in the best village competition was received by the Barataria queen Marlene Mack with her portrayal “Queen Bee And Her Workers” in 1975. Geraldo won many awards and trophies for his participation which ended in 1982 with his queen Edith Atwell portraying “Obeah Woman”. He was also asked to judge on several occasions.
Vieira was considered to be by those who knew him well, a very down-to-earth individual who was never too busy to stop and listen, and to give advice, especially as it related to Carnival and mas making. His dedication to the NCBA was exemplary and he attended all executive board meetings religiously, always making valuable contributions for the betterment of the association.
The executive and membership of the National Carnival Bands Association and by extension the entire mas fraternity is saddened by the passing of a loving personality in the person of Geraldo Vieira Sr. May he rest in peace.
While the achievements of masman Geraldo Vieira were being extolled inside St Theresa’s Roman Catholic Church, Malick, Barataria, yesterday, on the outside several of his lifelong friends were sharing stories of the man who they say loved life, his family, Carnival and having a good time.
And although tears flowed for the former nine-time King of Carnival there was a lot of laughter as his colleagues remembered how he made them laugh back in their youth.