Vieux Corps is one of the traditional mas that is played in Grenada during the Carnival season.
Vieux Corps bands are commonly found on the western corridor of the island. The parishes of Saint John and Saint Mark are the homes of Vieux Corps bands in Grenada. Children from a young age begin to play Vieux Corps. Both men and women play the mas although it is predominantly played by men and young boys.
Vieux Corps is featured on Carnival Saturday during Kiddies Carnival, and in the street parade in parishes along the western corridor of Grenada on Carnival Tuesday.
Vieux Corps is of French origin. The words “Vieux Corp” means dead body. The French inhabited Grenada in the 1600s and 1700s. Grenada was under French rule for two distinct periods, from 1650 to 1775, and also from 1779 to 1783.
The Vieux Corps have an unique appearance. They are covered from head to toe in cloth. Typical colours used are black, red and purple. The costumes are made from either cotton cloth or crocus or “cukus” bag material. The masqueraders wear a tall, and pointed cap, and their faces are concealed with a wire mesh mask. Their shoes are wooden and make loud noises when the masqueraders stomp their feet throughout the street parade. The wood comes from the wood of the mango tree.
The Vieux Corps gives a very distinctive performance. Their performance during Carnival involves the stomping of the feet, and the chanting of phrases. There is no music played during the performance, and the masqueraders move in a circular fashion, and rhythmic sounds are made using their wooden clogs.
Photo Credit: Pictures of Grenada