Traditional Mas



The Shortknee wears a wire screen mask over a powder-whitened face; In the old days, the Shortknees made their “false faces” (masks) from such as dry banana leaves and calabash gourds . The Shortknee character is very well covered from head to toe. His head is covered by a white bath towel, which is held in place to give the masquerade a hooded look. Women’s stockings cover the Shortknee’s wear women's stockings and white tennis shoes. He carries talcum powder which is thrown liberally on passers by.

Shortknee players sing in the familiar call and response style and their songs attend to heap scorn to their enemies or proclaim the fighting prowess of the singers. Typically, a “Shortknee song” consists of two lines, a call line and a choric line. For example: Call lines: Mama doh bawl, doh bawl mama doh bawl choric line: Tell Chantimelle (a rival village) is one for the jail and on for the cemetery.


Vieux Corps

The mas of disguise: dark, ghostly, silent. The Vieux Corps mas dates as far back as the pre-emancipation era and is indigenous to Grenada. Vieux Corps are French words which literally mean “dead body”. The name of the mas is indicative of Grenada’s strong French ancestry, having been a French slave colony from colony from 1650 to 1775 and 1779 to 1783.


The masquerade is dark and ghostly and his identity is concealed by a mask made to wire mesh. This disguise signifies the loss of identity and status and the complete invisibility endured by the slaves brought to Grenada from West Africa during slavery.


It is believed that the Vieux Corps mas originated in the Western part of Grenada specifically Victoria, St. Mark. Along the mask, the Vieuc Corps costume comprises a tall conical, hooded hat and a long flowing gown with matching collar. Traditionally, the gown was made of crocus bag material or black cotton fabric, with menacing images hand painted at the front. In more recent times, the colours of the costumes and the paintings at the front tend to be dependent on the portrayed of the band. Heavy clogs made from the wood of the mango tree, sometimes with a horse shoe at the bottom, are worn on the feet. The masquerade carries with him objects such as: pieces of metal, plastic bottles, posies and basins attached to a chain.


Because the identity is entirely concealed, the mas are silent except for the music made by stumping of the clogs in a rhythmic fashion with accompaniment by the objects dragged along with the ground with the chain.


The masquerading bands rehearse for weeks leading up to the Carnival. Merging the sounds of the stumping clogs and the noisy objects with intricate formations, patterns and oftentimes silent dramatizations, the Vieux Corps presents an impressive spectacle.