Category: Caribbean Studies


SAMBA: A BRAZILIAN AND INTERNATIONAL PHENOMENON© 

By Arose N Daghetto

 

Did you know that Samba music and its dance was created by African slaves who migrated to the city of Salvador, Brazil, which is one of if not the largest population of Afro Brazilians?  Samba is of several success story to come out of the African diaspora, for it is a culture that’s taken Brazil and the world by storm.

 

Samba came from humble beginnings, tracing back to the Salvador, Brazil.  The city of Salvador is also known as Bahia (which means, “Bay” and is also called “The Bay of All Saints”,  a place where not only Samba was born, but a place where Orixas and Candomblé religions were born.  These religions are rich in Congolese, Yoruba, Togo, Nigerian, Ghanaian and Benin cultural influences from Africa.  This is also where many of the African Slaves came from and this area of Brazil is one of the first places all African slaves were brought to before being dispersed to different parts of the South, Central and North America.

 

Salvador is also the birthplace of the famous Capoeira, which is a martial arts that combines dance and music. Capoeira was originally a self-defense mechanism the African slaves practiced to use against their slave masters. Capoeira was used by African warriors to prepare for war against rival tribes. Having such captured warriors among the community of slaves, they secretly used these moves to train one another for combat and protection. Capoeira involves kicks, head butting, acrobatics, leg sweeps, slapping, elbowing, punches all incorporated in dance. 

 

Whenever the slave masters questioned their act, they explained it was simple form of dance and celebrating with each other. It didn’t take much to convince their masters how innocent and harmless the dance was. Perhaps to each other, who probably endured a few scrapes and bruises in their “harmless” dance.  

 

Brazil continues to have highest population of African descendants, most of them live in lower middle class communities or Favelas, which is like African Americans who live the inner city, to put in a nice way or ghettos, to put in a not so nice way.  

 

Afro Brazilian singer, Gilberto Gil once said in an interview that Afro Brazilians knew more about their African identity than those of African Americans, because done so well in preserving their cultural and religious identity.  Slavery in Brazil had much more of an upper hand over their slave masters because they outnumbered their oppressors over time and was able to gain control over their freedom better than those African Slaves that populated the south-eastern regions of the United States.  That’s a fascination discussion that I will have to get into further detail on in another blog.

 

Anyway Getting back to Samba music, other cultural influences helped to greatly diversify the Samba identity in Brazil such as the descendants of Portuguese, Spanish Italian and Native American.  Today, there are many sub styles of Samba music, you got Jazz samba, rock samba, Samba R&B Samba, reggae Samba, hip hop Samba.  The music is undeniably a euphoric experience. You can see the joy on the musicians faces as they work up a sweat beating those various percussions and strumming those various sized guitars. The singers are smiling, laughing, hypnotized by the intense rhythms and lyrics.  It’s always a party anytime you hear the Samba.  Even sad sambas makes you want to get up and dance!  Samba is the antidepressant to the most depressed soul and hope to the pessimist. 

 

As time and generations evolve, Samba takes on new and different faces in the music genre.  In the more current decades, many Brazilians express their dislike for Samba music, claiming it’s old and out with the times. Kinda like Americans were with Disco music back in the late 1970’s.  Nevertheless, the number of those who love Samba music is outnumbered in the nation and many artists work hard to keep the beauty of this music genre very much alive.  Samba schools have been established to teach people about Samba music, dance, and culture.

 

Samba has long been enjoyed by not only Brazilian natives, but Americans, French, Caribbeans, Germans and others around the world.  Samba remains to be the Face of Brazil’s attractive and sensuous identity. So whenever you’re feeling sad and can use a little pick-me-up, or if you feel like listening to something culturally invigorating, pull up a Samba or Bossa playlist on your Pandora radio.  Once you listen to it, you will never look at music the same again!

 

Article (not pictures) © Copyright 2012 by Arose N Daghetto for Black Girl Down Publications. All Rights Reserved.

 

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SLINGING IRON ©

                                 Written By: Arose N Daghetto

I’m in a chain gang…

standing in a single file line,

singing the same old love songs

along with all the other

iron slinging women

while pounding on iron hearts

trying to get in

but he won’t let me in.

Back to back to the broke down back

the new man becomes the new enemy…

Status Quo is yelling in my ear

about my biological clock,

torturing me with images

of women in my age range

and younger who been married

or engaged to say the least… 

This line of women slinging iron

is getting thinner and thinner…

I’m wiping the sweat off my brow

noticing I’m doing most of the work

By myself…

My muscles are sore

but I got to keep pounding

and grunting

and singing

much more than complaining

trying to make Status Quo happy

because Status Quo says I don’t get paid

unless I meet it’s expectations,

I don’t eat unless I break through

the very last iron on the crossroads track…

I don’t get revered

unless every train coming and going

comes and goes softly,,,

and smoothly.

Lord, I don’t want to disappoint

Status Quo

I got an ego to find

and reputation to defend…

I’m still working

While seeing my former iron slingers

leaving the tracks for a better life…

They’re being celebrated

for the work they completed

while killing time

on these broken down tracks…

I’m trying to catch up with them

so I can get to where they are…

but I’m losing sight of the goal

and I can’t do that

’cause Status Quo hates

when I take too long

doing the work laid out for me…

Status Quo is watching me like a hawk,

hissing at me everytime my gung goes ho

and my head ’em up goes bottom down

and my grunts turn to groans

and my groans turn to cries

and my cries turn to screams

Lord, why did You create my body

to work slower than everyone else?!

Why did you create my brain

to catch on to things

slower than everyone else?!

Why did you create my features

to fall below the standards of beauty?!

Why did you create me to fail

the paper bag test?!

Why did you create my name

to be associated with words like

least deficient, most imbalanced, truly unfit,

definitely unqualified, a little “off”

and a bit “out there”?!

Lord, why am I still slinging iron

while the rest of the women

are sitting on pedestals

in the finest gowns

sipping champagne

throwing their heads back

giving one of those Miss America laughs

and thanking God they’re not where I am

anymore…

I make up my own song

since I have no one to choose one

by starting off the first verse

and everyone else follows suit…

I sing through my tears

sing through my aching muscles

sing through my worn out bones

sing through my lust

sing through my loneliness

sing because I got an ego to find

a reputation to defend

and a very impatient Status Quo

to satisfy.

Poem (not pictures) © Copyright 2008, 2011 by Arose N Daghetto for Quiet Storm Enterprise. All Rights Reserved.

NECESSITIES OF MANHOOD©
         ~Written by Arose N Daghetto
        Former Dancehall King turned Satellite Installer, Prince “Debo” Marley IV was a man in his late thirties who finally decided to settle down and live a more righteous life. His enormous music career gave him everything he ever dreamed of accomplishing fast cars, huge homes, and obliging groupies. His dream career also gave him everything he didn’t want such as backstabbing friends, crooked business deals, numerous baby mammas and more missed bullets than he could count. Quitting the music business to settle down in a low-key lifestyle was his saving grace.
         Prince stood at the altar waiting for his bride- a woman was with him when he was a minimum wage fisherman working on the shores of Ocho Rios, Jamaica- to be escorted down the aisle. Dressed in a tuxedo with his long dreadlocks pulled back neatly, his cocoa skin smooth and soft under the church lights, he indeed made a handsome groom. He didn’t believe in marrying in the church, but in respect of his girlfriend’s strict Seventh Day Adventist family, he was willing to honor their wishes.
       Prince struggled with committment during his wait.  He didn’t feel at peace with his decision to be a one woman man. His past life of heavy partying and reggae to the dawn kept him divided.
       Prince’s quiet fidgeting. An old heart to heart conversation Prince shared with his dearly departed Uncle quieted his fidgeting. His rigid posture softened as he reflected on the conversation his uncle shared with him a long time ago. The playback of his uncle’s heart to heart conversation sounded like he was in the sanctuary, still speaking life lessons over his twitching shoulder. The words penetrating Prince’s ears instantly took him back to his adolescent years in Ocho Rios.
       Although he strayed from his Uncle’s sharp cutting words of discretion, Prince never ceased to share his Uncle’s words of wisdom to several of his estranged sons, nephews and cousins during their rites of passage over the years. He would speak to the boys with the same spirit of his uncle.
       Prince’s eyes settled on the lavishly decorated altar. The chestnut table was the old load dock where he and his uncle shared many Sunday afternoons fishing on. The glare coming from the well polished golden cross blinded him at first. His eyes later adjusted as he saw the silhouette of his uncle standing on the dock.
        He could see his uncle raising his hand, bringing an index finger to the back of his ear. For the first time in decades, he heard his uncle’s words…
Look bwoy, he say
Come dung, sidung…
You waan be a man?
First you gotta establish a reputation
The more fresh fish yuh bring in
The more credit is added to yuh name,
But not to yuh pocket
 You waan prove you tough?
Then yuh gotta hab a stomach fuh booze
and da lungs fuh ganja.

Yuh muss prove you got di stamina fuh di ladies,
Be har winji or swatti, nedda dehya-
If you never got one dem yet, den act like yuh did.
Ooman like har man tan pon it lang,
So make she proud an’ har girls dem jealous
By acting like yuh pack di wood dat make dem good babies
even if yuh neva father one a day in yuh life.
These rules were muh bread in muh days of yuut.

Look bwoy, he say
Coo yah!
You waan win an ooman’s heart?
You muss learn how ta show yuh love to she
without weakenin’ di knees.
Keep har in check
When she begin ta tink she da boss!
Dat shows har you in charge.
Nuh make dem see yuh wutless, bwoy!
Always be two steps ahead of da sistren…
Ovastan, be nuh easy
Cah mi naa waan find yuh ass a chi chi.

Ooman, she cleva ya kno’…
She baan baby in di world…
Your bredda be da one ta cock it up,
But all di while baby callin’ you daddy!
Ya mon, Yuh nuh see it?
Kill mi dread, mi nuh lie!
Di gal dem give yuh sweet agony when she wanna
but she wicked as da ‘gator when she naa get har way
Ooman caan bruk a brudda
That’s why yuh muss hab plenty of ready on di side

But behold young soldier,
Set standards in life
Lay down the fuckery an’ follow Jah
Always give thanks fuh all tings Jah blessed
‘Cause Jah kyarri yuh closer dan yuh mudda o brudda.
There be no I an’ I when it come to Jah.
‘im naa lead yuh stray, bwoy
Jah know, mi tell di trut,
dey nuh odda way!

Hear me, bwoy,
I’m gwan put di fiya in yuh…
Yuh muss never forget who you are
fuh you are an example!
Always give utmost reespek ta yuh elders
for they paved da way
and make you the person yuh oughtta be.
Be nuh saap fuh nuh wan
Or let sum skettle’s punaani put di Obeah pon ya
an’ shame me to da grave!
Be nuh eaz haad to di lessons I tell yuh
I-diate on wat I taught you
Follow every principle to a T
Fuh dem i-tal necessities to yuh manhood.

      Prince felt the warm of tension as everyone’s eyes set heavily upon him as the altar faded back into view, this time with the Pastor standing in front of it.  His eyes swept the sanctuary to see horrific expressions of concern and gaped open mouths.

      The room was so silent he could hear a pin drop. He realized that the Pastor just asked him the same question a third time. His eyes rested on those of his beautiful yet worried bride. Prince flashed his signature lady-killer smile, gave a firm nod and said, “I do.”

Short Story (not picture) © Copyright 2010 by Arose N Daghetto for Quiet Storm Enterprise. All Rights Reserved.

“You whose day this is,

make it BEAUTIFUL

Get out your rainbow colors,

that it may be beautiful.”

~Nekoosa Indian Poem

Literature Voodoo is a page honoring writers and artists for their contributions to the world of Literature. Although writers and artists of African and Caribbean descent have a foundational role here, other equally important contributors include those of Creole, Latino, Brazilian, Native American and Polynesian decent. These are people who culturally seize readers’ minds through thought provoking… soul stirring poetry, fiction, essays, prose and art.

Literature Voodoo spotlights award-winning writers on the SAME platform as writers the world has yet to hear about. Artists, both well-known and unknown also receive the same spotlight. Here, their works have the opportunity to shine in a way that reflects their cultural identity while entertaining their readers in a very educating way.

Let’s Celebrate our rich global culture through the beauty of Literature and Art!

Bienvenue! 🙂

Arose N Daghetto

Creator, Author, Cultural/Linguistics Scholar 

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