Meet the Mas Bands: Elimu Mas Academy

Meet Elimu Mas Academy, a London-based Mas Band who strive to promote the excellence of Mas as an art form.

Meet Elimu Mas Academy! Watch their Notting Hill Carnival 2020: Access All Areas performance, streamed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Elimu (2013)Notting Hill Carnival

The Origins of Elimu Mas Academy

Elimu have been a key component of Notting Hill Carnival since their inception in 1980. Originally named Elimu Carnival Arts, they take their name from the Elimu Community Centre, established in 1977 to help the youths of West London. Elimu is Swahili for knowledge or education.

Elimu (2013)Notting Hill Carnival

In 1979 the young people at the Elimu Community Centre make a film about Notting Hill Carnival called 'High Mas'. The following year in 1980 they participated in Carnival as a mas band and have held an important place in celebrations every year since. 

Elimu Mas Academy Flower ThemeNotting Hill Carnival

The founders of the band were Trinibagonians who came together to replicate the Carnival they knew and loved by recreating everything they remembered about mas. The result is an organisation which is truly diverse and inclusive, and is not afraid to push boundaries and experiment.

Elimu Mas Academy in Shanghai (2016/2016)Notting Hill Carnival

Elimu's Ethos

In 2016 the band rebranded itself as Elimu Mas Academy, with a mission to promote artistic excellence. 

Elimu (2013)Notting Hill Carnival

Their Mission

Elimu Mas Academy form creative partnerships by offering artists and artisans the space to take risks and shape the cultural ecology of ‘Mas’ as a culmination of music, movement, masquerade and mayhem, involving the human body, space and time.

To date, Elimu has worked with over 17 partners and 84 artists. 

Elimu (2013)Notting Hill Carnival

Patron's of Elimu, Past and Present

Some of Elimu's patron's over the years include;

Dame Barrow OBE 
Baroness Howells OBE
Rev Patricia Stephens
Sir Clive Lloyd CBE
Rudolph Walker CBE
Lord Ouseley

Elimu Mas AcademyNotting Hill Carnival

Elimu's Celebrity Members

Elimu has also had some celebrity members, including;

Giselle La Ronde, Miss Universe
Diane Abbot, MP
Councillor Bertha Joseph, former Mayor of Brent
Professor Andrew Ramroop CMG, OBE

Take a look at some of Elimu's costumes over the years and explore some of their featured artists...

Elimu Mas Academy (2019/2019)Notting Hill Carnival

The King's Guards costumes designed by Helen Davenport for Carnival in China in 2019.

Davenport is the Programme Arts Manager for Elimu and is a carnival costume designer, artist and sculptor.

Elimu Mas Academy Moko Jumbie (2019/2019)Notting Hill Carnival

Moko Jumbie

Members of Elimu Carnival Band playing mas, dressing in costume of the traditional mas character Moko Jumbie on stilts. These costumes were designed by Alan Vaughan for Carnival in 2019.

Vaughan is a costume designer and film director with North Tyneside Art Studio.

Elimu Mas Academy - Pretty MasNotting Hill Carnival

Pretty Mas

A group of Elimu mas players partaking in Pretty Mas in costumes created by designer Tiffany Thompson.

Elimu Mas AcademyNotting Hill Carnival

The Butterfly

Designed by Emily Wood, the butterfly is a frequent feature of Elimu Carnival Band's performances and has been seen at a multitude of Carnival's. 

Elimu Mas AcademyNotting Hill Carnival

King Comess

This costume was designed by Meilin Sancho, who has been a residential designer with Elimu for the majority of its 40 year existence. This photo shows the King of Carnival; King Comess. Comess portrays the state of confusion associated with arguments, gossip and mauvais langue.

Elimu Mas AcademyNotting Hill Carnival

The Humming Bird

This beautiful Humming Bird mas was designed by Valerie Noregia, a guest designer from Trinidad and Tobago.

Elimu Mas Academy (2019/2019)Notting Hill Carnival

Afro Spice

The theme of these costumes was Afro Spice for Fandango in 2019, designed by the leader of Genesis Carnival Band, costume and fashion designer Symone Williams

Interview with Helen Davenport for NHC Access All Areas

To keep up to date with the work of Elimu Mas Academy, be sure to follow them on their socials:

Twitter: @ElimuMas

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