"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Miss Obleas: Dancing

Dancing Morenada @ Dance Around the world, London
The origin of the morenada goes back to the use of black [African] slaves
who were bought by miners to replace the indigenous mitayos who died
by the millions in the mineshafts of colonial Potosí. But hunger, thirst, the 
cold, high blood pressure, insufficient oxygen, the rigor of the whip and of
forced marches were portents of a sure death… The richness displayed on
[morenada] outfits seems to contradict such expressions of suffering, but
the riches did not belong to those who carried the loads but rather to those
who owned them.
[They are] exotic outfits, highly ornamented, trimmed in
gold and silver, with precious stones and material brought from Milan, like
a show of the wealth with which the slaves were purchased.

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Roots of Colombian Music

Colombia has one of the most dynamic musical environments in Latin America,
due to its location between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and the diversity of its
regions; these conditions have nourished a tri-cultural hybridism in music. As an
example, the indigenous population contributed with flutes and rattles; the Africans
added choral techniques, polyrhythm and dance structures. Both Africans and natives
attributed ceremonial significance to their instruments, music and dances. The Spaniards,
brought the song structure, renaissance harmonic theories, and western instruments: most
notably the guitar. (Morales, 2003).

Colombian Musical Genres
Colombia is divided into six distinctive regions: Atlantic, Pacific, Andean, Plains,
Amazon and Insular. Each region has unique musical genres based on the cultural fusion
among its Spanish, indigenous, and African inhabitants.

The Atlantic region is the most representative of the tri-cultural blending; the
Cumbia is one of its most famous genres. The Pacific region has preserved
the African culture almost intact, which was slightly influenced by indigenous cultures;
the Currulao is one of its most known genres. The Andean region is
influenced mostly by the Spanish culture, with influences of African rhythm patterns and
indigenous melodic elements; Bambuco is its salient genre.

Link to other types of dance :)

 Roots of the Currulao
The Pacific coast was inhabited by indigenous tribes who exchanged goods in
local markets, i.e. emeralds, gold, fish. Spaniards, aware of the potential of exploiting this
region, sent soldiers to subdue those communities. Natives died due to the excessive
work demanded in the mines and were replaced by African slaves. In 1533, a shipwreck
gave a group of slaves the opportunity to escape. They arrived to a village of natives and
took control, developing a mix zambo community of Africans and natives, which
prevented the Spaniards of enslaving them again. This was possible because of the
Spanish’s interest in building routes to the coast, and to continue the exploitation of
emerald mines. (Cardenas, 1995).

The Currulao is a dance developed in the pacific coast by runaways and African
slaves working on mines, landed property and plantations, i.e. sugarcane and tobacco.
These isolated communities, show authentic reminiscences of Africa; displaying
joyful and explosive attitudes, satire and deep sadness, transferred into the Currulao
genre, a magic sacramental rite that offered them ancestral strength. (Ministerio de
educacion nacional –6, 2009).

Currulao Song : Mi buenaventura :

Caporales from Bolivia

Dancing Caporales at a Latin American Festival in Wales ( Costume from Grupo Los Andes-London)
Caporales is a traditional Bolivian dance originating in La Paz Bolivia; it was created and presented to the public for the first time in 1969 by the Estrada brothers, who were inspired in the Afro-Bolivian Saya character of the Caporal, a dance that belongs to the region of the Yungas, Bolivia. The dance, however, has a prominent religious aspect. One supposedly dances for TheVirgen Del Sovabon (patroness of miners),and promises to dance for three years of one's life.
A male caporal dress depicts an old Spanish military guard. Wearing heeled boots bearing large bells known as "cascabeles", a male dancer carries a hat in his left hand and a whip in his right(sometimes). Even some girls will dance in a male role; some may refer to them as "chinas" or "machas". A female caporal dress consists of a minidress with matching panties, skin-color pantyhose, fancy high-heeled shoes, and a round top hat pinned to her hair. The style and colours of the dress are maintained the same for both the men and women of a certain group, but can vary drastically between groups. Men and women usually dance separately in a progressive march style dance. Caporales is a dance where you jump a lot and is very active in this way.

 The dance is often mistaken for the Afro-Bolivian Saya, a confusion partly due to popular Caporales song texts like the ones composed by the popular Bolivian group "Los Kjarkas"; this group makes many Bolivian songs. Also this is due to an international ballet version of Saya Caporal being danced as "Modern Saya"

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