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Kanaval

I took advantage of the break to edge my way into the crowd. The carnival bands had completely taken over every meter of the square. As had previously been announced, the most renowned ones from the South East were there. The musicians and dancers seemed to be camped out for the moment amidst their sleeping instruments; different types of drums, bamboo horns, conch shells, rattles, saxophones, flutes, cones, accordiaons. Here adn there, under the trees, while eating and drinking, the Jacmelians began to tell stories.

Hadriana dans tous mes rêves | René Depestre

From an American couple’s blog “On the Goat Path” in Haiti:

But Carnival is actually more than just scary masks, music, and dancing.  There are a number of groups who decorate themselves symbolically in a way that portrays a time in Haiti’s history.  For instance, there are the Chaloska, who “mimic Charles Oscar Etienne, chief of police who in 1915 killed the political prisoners which led to the fall of Vilbrun Guillaume Sam and then to the American occupation.” (Thanks Christina Schutt!)  Their enormous red mouths filled with large protruding teeth make them hard to miss, and they march down the roads acting out the prosecution of said political prisoners.  It’s actually kind of creepy, but incredibly interesting at the same time.

Image by British photographer: Leah Gordon in “Kanaval : vodou, politics and revolution on the streets of Haiti / photography and oral histories”