Review: ẸDÙN ARÁ - bloco de carnaval 2008

stage performance with singers, dancers & drummers
Our theme for this year was the Yoruba Goddess Yemayá (Cuba) or Iemanja (Brazil). In Africa she’s a river Goddess and in Cuba & Brazil she represents the ocean as well as the essence of motherhood and a protector of children.

In Brazilian Candomblé the goddess is known as Yemanjá or Iemanjá (Ketu / Yoruba), Kaitumba (Angola / Bantu) or Janaína in Umbanda religions. Gifts for Iemanjá usually include flowers and objects of female vanity (perfume, jewelry, combs, lipsticks, mirrors).

In Cuban Santería, Yemayá is seen as the mother of all living things as well as the owner of all waters. Her number is 7 (a tie into the 7 seas), her colors are blue and white (representing water), and her favorite offerings include melons, molasses (sugar cane syrup), whole fried fishes and pork rinds.

She has many paths with each one representing different qualities. Her colours include crystal and white and various types of blue including dark blue, indigo, pale blue, teals & turquoises.

In the Kongo religions of Cuba, such as Palo Mayombe, Palo Monte, Kimbisa and Briumba, she is known as Mà Lango, or Madré D’Agua (Mother of Waters).
Children leading the parade
For this year’s Edun Ara – bloco de carnaval project, the design of the dance costume reflected the flow of the sea with two shades of blue and the colour white. Yemaya wears a silver crown (she doesn’t wear gold) and this silver colour was included in the headband worn by the dancers.

Movements in the choreography represented both the calmness and the stormier aspects of the sea.

The drummers wore their customary red shirts and white trousers. This red and white combination represent Chango, the Yoruba God of Thunder. Chango is a warrior king with many aspects including lightning and justice and he is Lord of the drums. His symbol is the double-headed axe and a version in white material is sewn onto the back of the drummers shirts.

The drumming, played on Brazilian carnival percussion instruments, is a fusion of rhythmical elements drawn from Afrocuban and Afrobrazilian traditional music played for Yemaya.

Once again we added songs from the Afrobrazilian tradition of Candomble & the Afrocuban tradition of Santeria. A group of around 10 students formed a chorus with the singing being led by London based percussionist and singer, Vicky Jassey.
Yemaya choreography
Participant numbers increased dramatically from 2007 with 80 drummers and 46 dancers taking part this year. There were lots of regulars and lots more new people attending for the first time.

Everyone gave all their energy for the entire parade and the two static performances. There was quite a distance from the the leading dancers to the final drummers at the back. The bloco kept together really well and was a sight to behold.
stage performance
The stage performance was spectacular with the singers on stage stood on a riser, the dancers on the stage in front of them and the drummers on the ground below.

The three levels of percussion, dance and song created a wonderful image and produced a fantastic sound.

Study Overview:

Rhythms: Groove for Yemaya
Instruments: Surdos, Repiniques, Snares, Timbas, Tamborims, Agogo bells, Chocalho plus Dan on Cuica
Dance: Choreography for the Goddess Yemaya

Preparations have already begun for next year’s project where another Yoruba deity, common to Afrobrazilian and Afrocuban traditions, will be honoured with more creative and colourful percussion and dance offerings from ẸDÙN ARÁ – bloco de carnaval.

Click here to read an overview on the ẸDÙN ARÁ – bloco de carnaval project

Click here to read participants’ comments

From 2008
From 2007
From 2006

Edun Ara – bloco de carnaval 2008
Edun Ara – bloco de carnaval 2007
Edun Ara – bloco de carnaval 2006

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