The band which merges fashion and art has once again won the Medium Band of the Year title. A third year in a row.
For the twins, Karen and Kathy Norman, who initially found it difficult to receive sponsorship for the band, their success thus far is humbling according to Kathy. The band’s presentation of At The Helm brought home the hat-trick with a score of 1277 points.
That success is shared in part with its sponsors Media and Editorial Projects (MEP) and Cher Mere who came on board, when according to Kathy, no one else did.
In an interview with Newsday, Norman said the team owed its biggest gratitude to its masqueraders who returned year after year and who also brought friends along with them to share the experience.
Although the band and the brand have become one easily recognised among top bands in Trinidad, the designers intend to stay as a medium band but ultimately the goal is go beyond just a mas band to become an easily identified brand in TT and beyond.
“We feel very blessed and very relieved. The management team put a lot of work into the 2017 production… the majority of the costumes having large extended backpacks and for us… we just say thanks to God and we feel very blessed and honoured to have won Medium Band of the Year three years in a row,” Norman said.
The band first came into national consciousness in 2012 with its presentation Waters-Sea of Consciousness.
That year it placed fourth in the Medium Band of the Year category.
However, it was three years after that the band won its first title in 2015 with Millennium 3. It won again in 2016 with Searching for Shangri-La. At The Helm, delivered the hat-trick this year.
Each win is ably supported by their mother, Althea Norman. Althea defined herself, in a phone interview, as the band’s “support system.” For Althea, the unconditional love that she has for her daughters fuels the work she does with them and the K2K brand. In fact, she said she is their biggest critique as well. But it is a critique done out of wanting her daughters to be their best. On their achievement, Althea said, “We are very humbled by the decision.
It is the masqueraders who have gotten us this far so without them we could not do it.” Initially, the first year was “traumatic” for Althea. “It was like a baptism of fire.” But looking on at the band’s and the girls’ evolution and growth has brought her nothing but pride and joy.
While every year, she said, there are new challenges, the group faces it together and tries to move on.
At the Helm spoke to life’s ups and downs and those challenges faced and how to manage one’s own ship on life’s rough seas, Althea said.
“It is just like something you have to do to get them there and you just do what you have to do. It is hard. It is like raising a child, it does not come with a handbook so you just have to do what it takes to get them there,” she said with a big laugh.
Althea said while at the camp her eyes her closing down but seeing the band and its presentation reminds her of why it is all worth it.
The band has already begun its work on its 2018 presentation, a sure recipe for its continued success.
Norman (K) said the 2018 presentation involves a lot more costuming “When I think of K2K we don’t really see it as a band per se, we see it as a brand and we think there is a distinctive difference between bands and brands…where we would like to see K2K eventually is moving beyond the realm of Carnival. At the end of the day what the brand does is full costuming.
“Though how we are going to get there and when we are going to get there is something Karen and I are kind of managing with. Ultimately we want to see the brand go beyond Carnival,” Norman said.
The brand has already begun to carve a niche for itself out of the Carnival sphere having a philanthropic effort called the Colour of Courage.
The first event, a black tie/gala dinner was held on October 17, 2015 and featured an address by internationally acclaimed wedding designer, Amsale Aberra.
The effort was designed, Norman said, to empower professionals to overcome entrepreneurial challenges.
Although it was not held in 2016, plans are already in train for the event to be held this year, sometime between August and September.
However, the branches of brand K2K grows, it is clear the brand and its band will resonate for a long time.