Laverne Martinez is our first Kulture Warrior of the year. I was searching through images of Boston’s Trinidad style carnival 2011, when I came across Laverne’s image. The perfect image for the magazine cover ad after getting in touch with her through the mudd band, I was impressed with her and taught she fit the bill for our Kulture Warrior award.
– Here is what she told us “I am from Trinidad, lived in the United States for the past 15 years. Played mas literally all my life, which is every year since I was 5 never missed a year yet. I’m Harvard educated and work for the Grants Management Department here at Harvard as a Financial Analyst. This is my second year playing with the mudd band, last year being my first. My favorite music is soca and calypso and frankly it is all I listen too. I love the vibe and togetherness at carnival time and hope to enjoy it for many more years to come.” Laverne Martinez at work
Ja Liah Zayas:
Kulture Warriors we define as an individual that embraces their culture with a passion that displays itself with out much of an effort in doing so. - A love of culture with passion and grace.
Ja Liah Zayas, when I first photographed her several years ago playing with Branches Steelband she stood on a stool, too short then to barely see the notes on the instrument. But there she was playing the steelpan, invented on the island of Trinidad in the 1930.
Now 10 years old, she attends Blackstone Elementry school in the south End. Her 4th grade teacher Molly Sangaland said “From the beginning of the year, I could tell that Ja Liah was a hard working student who was going to do well. However, what I have seen from her throughout the year has far exceeded my early expectations. Ja Liah is a self-motivated student who sets high expectations for herself and works hard to achieve her goals. Not only does she complete all her work but also she takes the time to be thoughtful and show the depth of her understanding. “
Not only is Ja Liah a wonderful student, but she finds time on weekend to play with Branches Steel Band, attends Berklee School of Music and pratice Karate. She is truly an inspitation for young children and many adults. I am, She is our Kulture Warrior of the month. - This image of Ja Liah will be featured in our upcoming photograpy exhibition, Steelpan University
Aubrey Patrick Rudder: (Cousin of world famous Soca artist David Michael Rudder)
Aubrey Patrick Rudder (1942 -2011) was born on the sunny island of Trinidad and Tobago to his parents Oscar and Elaine Rudder. He was full of energy and excitement for life, he loved Las Vegas and spending time with his grandchildren and taking them to parties and soccer games. Aubrey had a great passion for his culture; he was an active member of the Trinidad and Tobago Social Club and loved carnival and playing Mas. From the time his grandchildren started to walk Aubrey already had a costume with their names on it. Aubrey loved life and lived it to its fullest.
Those who knew Aubrey personally had only great things to say about him. Sandra Kennedy, Executive Director of Bowdoin Geneve Main Streets, who knew him as a little girl said “He was a big brother” and describes him as “a very giving person if he felt what he was doing was right he would do it” Cynthia and Stephen Coker of Dynasty Production also said “He was a vey quiet decent and pleasant person and always kept to himself”. Stephen Cummins, President of Cumm Cross Productions - “He was a fierce competitor dedicated to the culture and craft that is Mas” Fabian DePeiza of the Budd Band - “He is always involved and loyal to his culture and supportive of the local football team the Revolutions. His presence will be missed but his memory will live on.” Maureen –Mudd Band - “Oh yes, he was indeed a great Warrior, always pleasant, and most of all, a great smile.
Maureen Garrison is one of those people who exemplify the Kulture warrior sprit. She migrated to Boston from Trinidad in 1968, and probably played with more bands across North America than any other.
When one photographs a subject or events such as Boston Carnival it is always a good thing when a subject such a Maureen is discovered. The image last a very long time.
This month’s Culture Warrior has played Mas with Hawks in New York, Miami, Canada and several bands in Boston such as Mass Woman and Women, Trinidad and Tobago Social club, Unity and currently plays with the Mudd band. Morvant Trinidad is where she grew up and I am sure her community back home and across the world are very proud of her. Stop by Boston Carnival Village blog and congratulate Maureen, She is a Kulture Warrior we should be all very proud of and aspire to emulate.- mcs