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Monday, 30 November 2009

Here are two videos on African art and Masking

An informal talk given at the Ananse's Web African Festival, 1st-4th October 2009, by African art historian Tamsin Barzane, owner and creative director of Second Life's virtual Nigeria on Saminaka.

History survives through dance. For the Indigenous of La Costa Chica— the Amuzgo, the Mixteco, the Zapoteco— society is something to be remembered, revered, and ridiculed. No one is beyond scrutiny, not the dead and certainly not the living. In la Danza de los Vaqueros (the Dance of the Cowboys) the Minga wears a white female mask. As usual, the Minga plays a central comedic role. He is a masked man dressed as a European woman, hiking his skirt up he chases children giggling into the borders of the performance space. When not scaring the young ones away he concentrates on more traditional prey: he chases the African man, the overseer-cowboy behind the black mask. This, laugh the indigenous, reflects the manner in which the European plantation wives persisted in sexually assaulting the Africans who oversaw indigenous field labor. Lined up in work gangs, the indigenous are represented by matching black suits and pink masks. They step in sync with one another within the spaces left open to them by the black cowboy who deftly skirts the plantation owner’s lascivious wife.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Rekindling the Black Sprit :

STUDENTS of Creative Arts department, University of Lagos began their third yearly African-Caribbean Festival last week with a carnival float involving students dressed in the costumes of countries with black people such as Ghana, Jamaica, Peru, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The float started from the school’s main auditorium through the university’s main road, Distant Learning Institute (DSI) and to the Faculty of Social Science, where the train terminated its exciting parade. The festival however, continued with a series of stage plays performed by each group.
As the carnival train moved round the campus, visitors, students, lecturers and staff of the institution were seen peeping through the windows of offices and cars to have a glance at the colourful parade; some even stopped and parked their cars to take pictures of the carnival team.
The costume of each of the team was done to reflect the peculiarity of each country. They were dressed in the colours of the countries, but the Nigerian communities who were dressed in the traditional outfits of the major ethnic groups.
As the team moved round, the students sang and danced to music dished out by the Deejay and to the admiration of passers-by. At some point, each of the bands displayed dance steps peculiar to the country it represents.
The coordinator of the festival and a lecturer in the department, Mr. Onyekaba Cornelius Aka, in a chat revealed that the University of Lagos’ Afric-Caribbean Festival involves a series of celebration, which is often preceded by a carnival. 
He said that the carnival is the first step, before other aspects of the festival that include cultural dances, drama and cooking competition.
“Forget all what Aristotle said about how the Greek invented drama and those stuffs, the truth is that Africa by its nature has always celebrated life. It is only the Africans that have songs and dances for almost everything that they do, from the time they were born to the time they die,” said Cornelius-Aka, who himself had been a notable practising culture journalist before going into the academics.
He added, “there are other things we use to celebrate life. If you ask yourself what was the sustaining spirit for these slaves that were captured and transported to West Indies?; how did they survive the harshness of sea life? You will discover that if not for the African spirit, which is embodied in songs and dances, they won‘t have survived.”
He observed that carnival is an African spirit because Africans love to celebrate, and they celebrate everything. Africans are the only people that celebrate both life and death.
After the carnival team terminated its march round the campus at the new Faculty of Social Sciences, The GuardianLife sampled opinion of one of the students on the carnival:
Omowunmi Dada: “Nothing good comes easy; this whole festival is an outcome of hard work, dedication, discipline and quest for knowledge. Basically, it has been so awesome. It has really tasked us as students because as Nigerians, we have to look into other African countries and other countries where blacks inhibit. The concept is to celebrate black as a colour, to make us understand that all over the world, wherever you find blacks, they are Africans. Fine, slave trade took some of our people to the Caribbean, yet, they remain blacks. They are still Africans and blacks are beautiful, we are one family, though we find so many of us in the Diaspora.”


Thursday, 26 November 2009

Somerset Carnivals self Analysis.

How do Somerset carnivals compare on a world scale?

Somerset is the home of Europe's largest illuminated carnival but how do other countries celebrate carnivals?
An event at Bridgwater Arts Centre hopes to find out by discovering how other countries build great processional machines.
'Endless Parade' will also look at technologies and themes which are used.
The evening takes place on 3 December and will look to examine how the 'English Traditional' or 'illuminated carnival' differs from those elsewhere.
"Although lumped together with other carnival manifestations like those derived from Brazil or Trinidad, it has its own special history and form," said a spokesperson for Bridgwater Arts Centre.
"Carnival is an aspect of processional performance, one of the essential modes of outdoor celebration. We need to develop practical tools for outdoor performance in the future and find the technologies that can replace fossil fuel dependencies, pyrotechnics and paraffin.
"The carnival clubs and makers have strong links with steam fairs and enthusiasts, a world of practical and creative making and 'know-how' with a strong sense of history."

Monday, 23 November 2009

Carnival in Colombia

Many of us in Trinidad and Tobago and the English speaking Caribbean not to mention the wider world have a notion that the Caribbean is made up of  that chain of islands that start with Cuba, and end with Trinidad and Tobago.

However some of you might know that the Caribbean is much much larger, and we of the English speaking Caribbean are but a minority in the region, simply because the Caribbean sea is ends at eastern shores of central America and the northern shores of south America, and the populations of these combined countries dwarf those of the English speaking Islands. However the Caribbean Sea is not the only thing we have in common with our mainland neighbours, we also share a common history of European conquest, repopulation, African Slavery, and Carnival.

With that in mind over the next couple of weeks I hope to explore the Carnivals of the Wider Caribbean, and I will share with you whatever video’s and histories I come up with and what other cultural Carnival similarities we share with the Americas, and what about T&T’s Carnival that makes us so unique.

The following videos are taken from two parts of Colombia, Barranquilla, and Cartagena, looking at their Carnival we can without a doubt see the similarities in what seems to be their traditional and contemporary carnival celebrations, also in the Cartagena video, a performance with obvious deep African connections.

Enjoy this peek into a Columbian Carnival.

Barranquilla's Carnaval (Spanish: Carnaval de Barranquilla) is a carnival with traditions that date back to the 19th century. It takes place for four days preceding Ash Wednesday. During the carnival the city of Barranquilla's normal activities are paralyzed because the city gets busy with street dances, musical and masquerade parades. Barranquilla's Carnival is reputed for being second in size to Rio's, but is far less commercialized. The Barranquilla Carnival includes dances like the Spanish paloteo, African congo and indigenous mico y micas. Many styles of Colombian music are also performed, most prominently cumbia, and instruments include drums and wind ensembles.

The Carnival of Barranquilla was proclaimed by UNESCO, in November of 2003, as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, during Olga Lucia Rodriquez carnival queen year.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Best Village queen Sister crowns sister

Outgoing queen Ru-Ann Cabralis had the pleasure of crowning her sister, Rae-Ann Cabralis, of the Malick Folk Performing Company, as the 2009 Miss La Reine Rive Queen on Friday following the competition’s final at the Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s.
Twenty young women from throughout Trinidad and Tobago faced the judges-Thora Best, Sharon Imbert, Dale Enoch, Adrian Raymond, Kamla Rampersad-De Silva and Eric Butler-each in the hope of taking the coveted title back to their respective communities.
Cabralis was a frontrunner throughout the competition, which had several phases including talent, expression, costume and evening gown modules, some of which took place prior to Friday’s grand final, in which the competitors showcased their evening gowns as well as their abilities to promote their communities through detailed yet concise oratorical pieces.
Along with her title, Cabralis won several awards, including Best Self Expression Piece, Most Original Costume and Best Costume Design. She lost out on the Most Original Evening Gown and Best Evening Gown awards to Allison John, of the Cocoyea Community Council, who was also the first runner-up and won the Best Make-up award.
It was a night of multiple joys of the members of the Malick Folk Performing Company as the cultural outfit was also, on Friday, named the Overall Champion of the 2009 Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition, of which the Miss La Reine Rive pageant is a part. Malick also copped several of the competition’s minor titles.

RADIANT: Newly-crowned Miss La Reine Rive Queen 2009, Rae-Ann Cabralis, displays her evening gown entitled "Dougla-D Journey of Two Culture" during the finals of the Best Village competition at Queen's Hall, St Ann's, on Friday night. -Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

Wayne Bowman

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Carnival Event Comes to Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – (Business Wire) Las Vegas Carnival, Inc – a USA / Trinidad based operation – announced today that it will host an annual carnival event in Las Vegas in late spring of 2010. The inaugural Las Vegas Carnival will be entitled “a Celebration of Life” and the official dates of the event will be released in the coming weeks.
Unlike the typical amusement park association with the word ‘carnival,’ the Las Vegas Carnival event is based on the global phenomenon of carnival, a pageant of costumed masqueraders, and is traditionally centered on the Calypso and Soca genres of music or Samba as is the case in Rio, Brazil. Carnival is an amalgamation of colors, transformed into costumes, dance supported by music and an array of different ethnic foods and art.
Carnival in Las Vegas shall expand on the traditional carnivals and include a more eclectic mix of Calypso, Soca, Samba, Hip Hop, Pop, Latin and Reggae. This experience is being designed to appeal to a worldwide audience and will start with a spectacular concert and music festival the day prior to the carnival celebration with an impressive lineup of well-known performers.
The purchase of costumes and travel packages will soon be available to the public via the Las Vegas Carnival website, but for more information about the carnival, including select travel and hotel partners, visit: Those wishing to experience the spectacle and grandeur of carnival can participate by purchasing costumes from a variety of themed carnival bands and also partake in a multitude of carnival parties (fêtes), concerts and shows.
Unlike Rio’s carnival experience, advanced Samba rehearsals will not be necessary and the carnival celebration shall be fashioned similar to that of the Trinidad experience which is more party-centric as masqueraders and their bands compete for the prestigious “Band of the Year” title and awards. The King and Queen costumes of each carnival band shall be worn by major Hollywood stars and the winnings donated to a charity of their choice. Las Vegas Carnival shall be broadcast and available to be viewed globally to a live audience with an online simulcast component.
More information about the Las Vegas Carnival in 2010 will be revealed in the coming weeks as Las Vegas prepares for its inaugural carnival event. Members of the media may contact:
Las Vegas Carnival, Inc

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Another Mas Jumbies Section: L'Echo des Marchandes

They were once a familiar sight in Port-of-Spain in the late 19th and early 20th century. These vendors who exclusively were women would be seen and heard peddling their various array of goods from door to door.  They dressed in the fashion of a la Martiniquaise and carried trays above their heads with the different array of goods, usually sweets and sweet meats.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Lady Gaga - Bad Romance

Now I'm no great Lady Gaga fan, as far as I'm concerned the girl fell out from nowhere, her music is cool I like it...I wont buy it but it's catchy, but her costumes rock EVERY TIME!
And that more than anything else right now is what I like about Lady Gaga her style, her costumes are Out There, the minds behind the Image Gaga has have maximised the use of imagination and have put a nice piece of work together.

Here is the video Bad Romance.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Echo du Village Section

Echo du Village is priced at TT$350.00 all inclusive. Registration begins in 2 weeks for Loyalty Masqueraders only. MAS Jumbies Road DJ will again be

Echo du Village draws its inspiration from the Juve Masque that once populated the rural and surbubs of POS. Masqueraders will have the option of white paint. The all inclusive package includes security, alcoholic & non-alcoholic bar, breakfast (ham & hops; salt fish & bake) and Irish Coffee as a starter.
Loyalty Masqueraders will continue to receive their Discount and may also register friends using the same discount (one time usage).
L'Echo is comprised of 6 sections.



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