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Review: Kanaval – Vodou, Politics and Revolution on the Streets of Haïti – by Leah Gordon

kanaval

Leah Gordon is a former punk artist from London. She is also a photographer and this book reflects upon her experiences of Kanaval on the streets of Jacmel in Haïti between 1995 and 2010. Haïti was the first black republic in the Western hemisphere, a black slave nation that overthrew the yolk of its French European masters. A core component of the revolution’s power was the African-inspired Vodou belief system and intertwined with politics the Kanaval (Creolisation of Carnival) traces its routes to the clandestine slave gatherings in the upland forests of the island. Gordon takes powerful black and white images of the key Kanaval characters and interviews these characters, capturing a series of oral histories from the poor local inhabitants who invest their energy effortlessly, creating characters, making costumes, designing props, organising dance routines and applying makeup, to create this pre-Lentern annual orgy of street theatre and fiesta. We meet the Lanse Kòd (The Rope Throwers), Jwif Eran (Wandering Jew), Papa Sida (Father of AIDS), Oungan (Vodou Priest), St Michel and also the Satanic Zel Maturin (The Wings of Maturin). These characters act out a fight of good versus evil, they challenge the audiences to raise small amounts of money and to reflect upon the political realities of Haïtian life. There is a series of critical essays throughout the book from key researchers of Haïti, that reflect upon the essence of Leah Gordon’s work. The book is enlightening and the images, that can be very disturbing, project an exoticism and spirituality that gives the reader a true taste of the Kanaval performers’ messages and allows the reader a glimpse of the post-colonial ‘Other’ that is the Caribbean.

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Punky Funky

Electronic dance music enthusiasts are the modern day punks. Electronic music represents youth culture and the stuff top DJs hammer out in wild night clubs to glammed up audiences is about as punky as it’s gotten since the seventies. This funked up mix covers vocals through to driving funky basslines and I hope it keeps you as punky funky as the monkey. 1. Pool – Flex (Aeroplane Remix) [2DIY4] 2. Buckley – Back To The Tower Feat. Ives St. Ange (Original Mix) [Hot Waves] 3. Leave the Boy – Eerie Eerie (Jack Fell Down Remix) [Southern Fried Records] 4. Ejeca – Hi Rollin (Original Mix) [Last Night On Earth] 5. Marc Poppcke – Inner Conflict (Original Mix) [Last Night On Earth] 6. Hunter_Game – An Angel (Original Mix) [Last Night On Earth] 7. Fred Everything – Circles One (Original Mix) [Drumpoet Community] 8. Human Life, Anabel Englund – Falling (Original Mix) [Hot Waves] 9. Steve Huerta – Take Me Closer (Urulu’s ‘Too Close’ Mix) [Amadeus Records] 10. Metro – Brownstone Express (Original Mix) [Rush Hour] 11. Sharam Jey, Night Talk – Can You Do It (Original Mix) [Suara] 12. Touch & Go – Gotta Have U (Original Mix) [Mena Music] 13. 16 Bit Lolitas – All I Want Is You (Original Mix) [Bits And Pieces] 14. Sasha, Donatello, Knox, Kastis Torrau, Arnas D – Smoke Cone (Original Mix) [Last Night On Earth] 15. Exercise One & Mathew Jonson – Lost Forever In A Happy Crowd (Original Mix) [Balance Music] Punky Funky Beatport Chart: http://www.beatport.com/charts/punky-funky/162104 Wez G – Punky Funky by Wezg on Mixcloud

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