Mélange Caribbean Travel & Lifestyle Magazine

Antigua & Barbuda

Band Leader, Alister Thomas

Ali & Associates
Celebrating 40 Years of Mas in 2016

What is it about the mas band Ali & Associates that makes you want to visit the Island of Antigua & Barbuda to play mas? Well, for one, it is the overall winningest band, having won the Band of the Year award for the last seven consecutive years, Band of the Year, People's Choice, Queen & King of the Bands, Prince & Princess, Best Local and Jaycees Caribbean Queen costumes, and winner of all the categories. It is also a band that has been participating in the Island's festivities for the past 40 years, and has perfected the art! When you play mas with Ali & Associates, you are guaranteed to have a great time, filled with unforgettable experiences!

The band leader, Alister Thomas, Information Commissioner of Antigua & Barbuda, African and Black History, and Geo/Political Lecturer and Talk Show Host, started Ali & Associates in 1976. As a young lad, Alister was blown away when he saw the handiwork of Mr. Harold Barriateau. This gentleman, a carnival costume connoisseur was originally from the Caribbean Island of Trinidad and Tobago but chose to reside on the island of Antigua, an occurrence which Alister says was directly responsible for his burgeoning interest in Carnival and later, his persistent fervor for the cultural expression. Alister became his protege and from this liaison, Ali & Associates was born. From intrigue and hesitant, shy admiration to hands-on involvement, Alister has managed to build a carnival band which is now the overall winningest and one of the most popular mas band on the Island.

This popularity most likely stems from the fact that for the past 35 years, Alister has been creating and designing costumes and mas for children at various schools on the island, as well as hosting a few workshops on mas, the carnival art form. From there he recruits players, eager to be a part of this exciting and colourful expression of their history and culture. He adeptly blends the subject matter of his lectures on African and Black History into the band's portrayals, using this avenue to creatively express not only aspects of the Island's heritage but also African blacks' true universal story and history.

Every year, between 200 and 350 people play mas with Ali & Associates. The band consists of between 4 to 10 sections with each section depicting a specific aspect of the band's overall overall artistic theme for that year. Four sections are dedicated to school-aged children, whose involvement is integral to the continuity of this unique cultural expression and art form as the years go by. The Band is located on High Street, St. John's and at Keelings Point. The costumes are designed by Alister Thomas and built and produced by Ali & Associates. The themes are mainly the creation of Alister Thomas, but there have been a few exceptions over the years.

Ali & Associates extends an invitation to people around the world to join them as they celebrate their 40th anniversary of Ali & Associates and antigua's 60th Carnival. Everyone's welcome! To play mas with them on August 1st and 2nd 2016, you can contact Alister Thomas at 1-268-770-9940 or send him an email at richardsm2us@yahoo.com . He'll tell you about the all-inclusive Carnival Package deals he's linedup for players who want to be a part of the 40th anniversary celebrations, which includes complimentary tickets to Carnival Shows and special hotel pricing.

Antigua & Barbuda must be added to your list of Caribbean Islands to visit this summer! With 365 beaches to explore, friendly people, safe Carnival revelry, infectious music, fun and delicious food for every palate, yours will be a most rewarding experience. Guaranteed!