Bamboula: “Dancing for Freedom, Dancing for Identity”

chantdancer

On a visit to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands the author (identified as Beetraveler) interviewed Afro-Caribbean Bamboula dancers, who are keeping their nearly lost tradition alive on the islands. She interviews MaryAnn Golden Christopher, who demonstrated the traditional dance and explained the cultural importance behind preserving it. She writes:

These Afri-Caribbean Bamboula Dancers are keeping a once nearly lost tradition alive on the US Virgin Islands. As it was Black History Month, and I was very curious about the story behind this dance and its importance to the islands, I arranged an interview to find out more. They not only demonstrated the dance but also explained the importance of the dance to their history and identity as US Virgin Islanders and Americans.

This interview was filmed at the waterfront directly in front of the St. Thomas Legislature Building in the capital city of Charlotte Amalie. In fact, one of the drummers is a government worker, but was able to take a break to participate in the interview and performance.

In this interview, MaryAnn Golden Christopher (from St. Thomas) mentions St. Croix, one of the other islands. St. Croix is a place close to her heart for two reasons. In 1848, when still under Danish rule, St. Croix slaves revolted and won emancipation (decades before Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in the Unites States). Emancipation Day is now celebrated on July 3 every year. That also happens to be MaryAnn’s birthday. So, she celebrates life, culture and freedom on July 3 every year.

See original article and video at http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-934943

For photo above and more information on Bamboula (by Ellen Laloba), see http://virginvoices.vi/Dancing_the_bamboula

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