When Small is big
He may be Small by name but when it comes to playing mas’ in Barbados, band leader and designer Kevin Small proved this year that he definitely does not fit this description in terms of the impact he is making.
During Crop Over 2016, Small and his band, Fifth Element, made a big impression at both the Junior and Grand Kadooment parades, copping top prizes in each category.
In the juniors, he took the prize for Best Junior Band. In Grand Kadooment, he was adjudged the second best overall designer while his band, with 121 revellers, placed second as Small Band of the Year.
Small told Bajan Vibes it feels amazing to see his hard work paying off, especially since “it would have been twice as hard for the team because we were doing two bands [and] everything would have been twice as hard and hectic.”
“ . . . Coming out on top with the juniors was definitely a great victory for us,” he said, adding that placing second in Grand Kadooment in their first year of participation was even more fulfilling.
“I think it’s an amazing achievement and it goes to show that we did put in a lot of hard work. We brought over a lot of skills from the juniors and put them into practice,” Small pointed out whilst thanking his team for helping to bring his vision to life this Crop Over.
“For the two bands, we started the work heavily in December last year. The team is not a huge team; about 15 to 20 of us, if so much. Every one of the costumes, swimsuits, everything is locally made,” Small explained.
He went on: “I am pretty hands on with everything. All the sewing is done under my direction and so on. A huge thank you to my team members and my family and all those that would have made donations. I could not have done this without you.”
While he has been around with his own band for only three years, Small has been a designer for ten years altogether. He told Bajan Vibes that while he loved helping out other band leaders, it was always his dream to have his own band.
“This year we decided to really take it on. I did designing for three other bands in the past and I was also one of the NCF designers with the school bands for a while,” he explained.
Encouraged by his recent success, Small is telling fans to look out for even bigger things in the future as he plans to be around for a long time.
“ . . . We are actually looking to see how best we can develop the art of masquerading in Barbados and really take it to an international [level] and enhance the actual parade as we present every year. Plans are definitely underway for 2017 so look out for us,” he said.
Small’s plans for the future also includes taking his design and other masquerade band skills beyond Barbados when the time is right.
“Eventually we are looking to step into other markets. But for now, as it’s just been two years in juniors and the first year in Grand Kadooment, we just need to make sure our Grand Kadooment product is optimum. Then we can also look forward to moving into other carnival markets across the Caribbean,” Small said.