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Latin America

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Judi Lynn

(161,037 posts)
Thu Nov 6, 2014, 01:49 AM Nov 2014

Camaguey, Cuba comes to the Ordway [View all]

Camaguey, Cuba comes to the Ordway
Carmen Robles

Sven Creutzmann

Enriching, evocative and captivating ...with only conga drums, whistles, sticks and a blend of voices that is the heart and soul of Cuba, where music keeps history alive, the Creole Choir took the Ordway audience into the streets of Camaguey, Cuba.

The images of the island's third largest city flashed across a screen that served as a backdrop enhancing the haunting rhythms of the 10-member Creole Choir of Cuba. Creole is Cuba's second language, a combination of African, French and other dialects. It is the language of a people twice exiled, first from Africa then from Haiti. The Creole Choir of Cuba members are all direct descendents of Haitian migrants who came to Cuba more than 200 years ago to escape enslavement, only to become slaves in the sugar and coffee plantations. The choir's rich voices were echoing the feelings of their ancestors, each song a vignette recanting powerful Haitian history keeping the old ways and tradition alive by the Emmy nominated Creole Choir of Cuba.

The standing room only pre show gathering in the Ordway's elegant foyer was an enlightening prelude to the stunning and cleverly imagined choreography that not only entertained but enriched the audience on the struggles which still exist for Afro-decedents. The African influence was clearly visible in every aspect of the performance including the lively dresses the women wore where the wrapping of head ties is part of the dress, and the equally colorful and elegant "chemizif" (shirts) worn by the men. Every movement seemed to have a specific meaning and every expression of the dancer's hands had great significance in creating that picture. The tempo of the women's hand gestures resembled the Hawaiian dance of elegant hand motion when telling their story. There was also a distinct similarity to the Native Indian Jingle Dance, where the leg comes up and kicks out, the foot pointing as if giving direction, followed by a sort of twerking – further evidence of how our world is connected through music and dance.

The choreographed arrangements in "Camina como Chencha" (walk like a Chencha) were enlightening and entertaining, releasing all the emotions evoked earlier by the haunting tune of "Soufle Van – Mangaje" (bows the wind). The choir, pulling its audience instantly into the stories' pain through the soprano's rich sobs made it difficult for some to choke back tears. The men's deep tenor voices echoed throughout the Ordway Theater. The penetrating tones made one feel the thirst of those who do not have the access to water that others are blessed with.


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You might want to take a look through google images of Camaguey, Cuba:


Very interesting.

(You might remember seeing a photo of the child who was held hostage in Miami by his Miami "exile" drunken great uncle, Lazaro Gonzales, whose name appeared on our newspapers daily, the deeply cute kid Elian Gonazales. In one photo which made it to some newspapers, he was sitting inside this large ball, while his later drowned mother, Elisabet Broton, stood beside him. )

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