Jaylene and Kayliss | French Dancehall Twins in Montreal Canada
Bamboula, Fort de France, Martinique, 1902. Yolande Behazin-Joseph-Noël writes,
The bamboula, a very lively dance that is danced in couples, is also of Bantu origin. As Father Labat pointed out, the word bamboula doubtless derives from the African bamboo drum which originally accompanied the dance…
Some of these bamboulas were semiprivate rituals conducted by associations called sociétés in Guadeloupe and convois in Martinique. These closed societies combined ethnic, religious, and economic functions. In their role as mutual aid cooperatives, they generated common funds for funerals, purchasing freedom of members, or for sponsoring community performance rituals (such as processions and dances on festival days). These organizations appear to have grown out of groups of African nations in the Lesser Antilles. In Martinique closed societies had a hierarchical organization led by a queen or king and court…
While there is little written documentation to illuminate the participants’ understanding of the bamboulas of closed societies, it is likely that many of the dances had specific religious implications, particularly when connected to particular nations. In Martinique the covert rituals of some closed societies may have been the context most associated with the pugilistic arts, which…was ‘the most secret dance’; only those initiated into the closed societies knew the martial art form and noninitiates knew it only by its distinctive rhythms. Some of these societies, like the Old Time Religion societies of North America, provided resources for counterhegemonic activity, such as the society that a bondswoman led in Guadeloupe in 1845 and that was dedicated to helping bondsmen escape slavery.
Bluethroat Productions explains the importance of its film and video project, “A Cultural Odyssey: from New Orleans to Santiago de Cuba:
This project reveals the rich, rhythmic African Diasporic heritage that connects New Orleans and Santiago de Cuba, two unique, yet strikingly similar cities. This project is a journey of ecstatic collective street celebrations that transcend time, place and politics. These celebrations are known as Second line parades in New Orleans and Conga parades in Santiago de Cuba and literally move thousands of participants to shared altered states of mind and affect the very fabric of art and society in both cities.
Over our 20 years of participating and documenting New Orleans Second Line parades and Congas parades in Santiago de Cuba, we realized that most New Orleanians and Santiagueros have no idea that their unique parade traditions are shared across the Caribbean sea…
What is a “Second Line” and what is a “Conga”?
So, you might be asking yourself—what is a Second Line? What’s a Conga? Next time you are in the fair city of New Orleans, you must check out the Second Line parades! Traditionally, the “Second Line” is known to have West African roots. It represents the group of people who dance and follow the “Main Line” of brass band musicians. Second Lines typically roll every Sunday afternoon and represent a communal gathering of residents around the city to engage in street cultural performance. “Congas” from Santiago de Cuba are street dances as well, not so different from the New Orleans Second Line. The hypnotic melody of the Chinese cornet coupled with different drums and various other instruments create the rhythmic backdrop to this Cuban street procession.
which is why it’s totally appropriate to consider New Orleans the northernmost point of the Caribbean…….
Muhammad Omni, Voguing: Voguing and The House Ballroom Scene of New York City 1989-92 (via blackqueerdo)