Published on December 10, 2013
THE ORISHA TRADITION: A LIVING CULTURE A PRESENTATION BY PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 842-74-3010 Background Music by: YO SOY BABALU Bobby Cruz & Richie Ray Orchestra: The Best 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON ENGLISH 6488 DR. FIET 1
THE ORISHA TRADITION: A LIVING CULTURE The Orisha Religion in Trinidad The overwhelming “He gone Moruga Road, need to retain the memory from boy. He gone to look for obeah man - come, le we go, generation to generation of he gone Moruga Road.” African traditions, notions of divinity and complex The old lavvay ran round pantheons of Orisha and round in my head as (the gods), so as to we drove further and maintain meaning and purpose in lives further into the south now so terribly lands of Trinidad. displaced. 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 2ENGLISH 6488 DR. F
THE ORISHA TRADITION: A LIVING CULTURE The Orisha Religion in Trinidad ORIGINS PRACTICES DIASPORA CEREMONIES PERSECUSSION SINCRETICISM DEITIES 12/10/13 EVOLUTION PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 3ENGLISH 6488 DR. F
The Orisha Religion in Trinidad ORIGINS: The retention of African traditions and religion has defined the lives of untold hundreds who have been the culture-bearers and the culture-sharers over the first two centuries of the African presence in this island. Such a person was a remarkable man called Carrie Nelson. A powerful African, leader, a Babalao, high priest, who was orthodox to a fine point. When I met him many years ago at Mayo, he had a large family, several sons and daughters. They worked with him at the great “feasts”, serving in the various roles of the rituals. He was known as a diviner and a healer. J.D. Elder in a paper given during the Black History Week of 1987 remarked that he was a great organiser and was something of a missionary for the Orisha religion. http://caribbeanhistoryarchives.blogspot.com/2011/11/orisha -religion-in-trinidad.html 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 4ENGLISH 6488 DR. F
THE ORISHA TRADITION: A LIVING CULTURE DIASPORA: As the colonizers from different European countries were coming and inhabiting different islands in the Caribbean, the Africans were spread among al of them; including South regions of the North American Continent (The South of USA). PERSECUSSION: Their ancestral traditions as well as religious practices were conducted secretly. Hidden from their “Masters”, specially during nigh time. But even thought their practices were banded their desires for keeping their traditions alive, lasts up after almost five hundred years of been persecuted. 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 5ENGLISH 6488 DR. F
The Orisha Religion in Trinidad SINCRETICISM: Corrie Nelson was a devout Roman Catholic and much involved in the work of the Mayo church. However, he did not allow his belief in Christianity to interfere with his allegiance to the ancient Orishas. To him, the supreme one, whether called Olorun, Yahwe or Chukwa Acko, was one and the same creator, known and recognised by all. To him, the supreme one, the great spirit, reveals itself to various men in various ways. There was no conflict between African and Roman traditional religions as far as he was concerned. Dr. Elder remembers that when Corrie Nelson died, “we buried him with true African ceremonials after the Roman Catholic priest from Tortuga had performed the sacred mass for this great leader.” 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 6ENGLISH 6488 DR. F
The Orisha Religion in Trinidad DEITIES: There were old people who come to talk on African religious practice, the Spiritual Baptist (John work), Independent Baptist (Mt. Elvin) and about the religious jubilees (spirituals) of the Fifth Company “Merikins” people. At that time, there were still people who could remember themselves as Haussa, Yoruba, Congo, and Ibo, retaining from one generation to the next traditions handed down. Dr. Elder recounts memories of the Congo priest Jeanvill Pierre, present with his large family at Shango feasts, ready to assist with the beating of the Bata drums for Shango. The memory of some of the most beautiful chants and orikis to Shango will forever stay with those who heard those lovely children sing that day, now so long ago. 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 7ENGLISH 6488 DR. F
The Orisha Religion in Trinidad PRACTICES: The Congo people sang their own strange sacred litanies over the grave as the sun went down, the twilight lingering, the echo of the drums reverberating in the long valley which seemed to be calling “the old people” to take their “sunnyboy home”. We took the Manyhambri Road in Princes Town and drove into undulating countryside, looking for stories of the African remnant of long ago. The road eventually took us to sleepy Lengua Village. 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 8ENGLISH 6488 DR. F
The Orisha Religion in Trinidad CEREMONIES: It was he (Carrie Nelson) who along with his brother spread the religion into the Oropouche district during the migration of cocoa farmers from the Montserrat Valley during the serious famine of the 1930s. Up until the 1960s, there were shrines to Orisha divinities all through Fyzabad, Duncan Village and Bamboo Creek, all established as the result of his hard work. His Mayo Hill shrine was a centre piece from which radiated his powerful intentions. Elder recounts Nelson’s “mastery of the Orisha liturgy. From Indian Trail, the old Carib footpath, to Moruga Road, scores of devotees came to celebrate the yearly anniversaries to the powers.” http://caribbeanhistoryarchives.blogspot.com/2011/11/ orisha-religion-in-trinidad.html 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 9ENGLISH 6488 DR. F
The Orisha Religion in Trinidad CEREMONIES: In the following links we have videoclips in which an Orisha Ceremony is conducted. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9lGVF6jYN4&list=PLEE9CBAE8DF9BE362&index=1 The Ifa Divination System http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEE9CBAE8DF9BE362 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQZtXmnl28Y The Yoruba, Ifa, And Santeria Systems. The History And The Basics 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 10 ENGLISH 6488 DR. F
THE ORISHA TRADITION: A LIVING CULTURE EVOLUTION: Trinidadian Steel Pan Music http://www.historical-museum.org/exhibits/carib/carib.htm #Trinidad The instruments that North Americans usually refer to as “steel drums” are called “pans” in Trinidad, the country in which they were invented. The making of pans is a complex process in which a craftsman first pounds the bottom of an oil or chemical drum into a concave shape. On this surface individual sections are then grooved to form distinct notes. There are several types of pans, each with a specific range of notes, in a standard steelband. 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 11 ENGLISH 6488 DR. F
THE ORISHA TRADITION: A LIVING CULTURE EVOLUTION: Indo-Caribbean Percussion At the religious and social events of Trinidadians and Guyanese of East Indian descent in South Florida, the double-headed dholak drum is one of the most popular musical instruments. The dholak is generally played in an ensemble that also includes a harmonium (a small hand-pumped organ) and a dhantal (a metal rod played with a striker). Other percussion instruments, such as the mangeera and the jhal (different sized pairs of cymbals), are frequently played as well. Dholak-based ensembles accompany group or solo singing at Hindu religious services, weddings and festivals, such as Divali and Phagwa. Among the musical genres performed are bhajans (hymns) and “classical” songs that are distinctively Caribbean. Another type of Indo-Caribbean percussion is the tassa ensemble, which includes conical tassa drums, a double-headed bass drum and a jhanj (a large pair of cymbals). 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 12 ENGLISH 6488 DR. F
THE ORISHA TRADITION: A LIVING CULTURE Puerto Rican and Cuban Secular Percussion Two of the best-known forms of music from Puerto Rico are bomba and plena. The African-derived bomba features highly expressive dancing and singing, traditionally accompanied by two barrelshaped bomba drums, a cuá (any hard surface that is struck with a pair of sticks) and maracas (gourd rattles). Plena songs, valued for their commentary on Puerto Rican life, are typically performed by an ensemble that includes three or more panderos (small frame drums), a cuá, a güiro (gourd scraper), and one or more nonpercussive instruments, such as a sinfonia (harmonica) or guitar. In Miami bombas and plenas are played and sung at birthday parties, Christmas celebrations and other community gatherings. They are also presented by ensembles in choreographed shows. 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 13 ENGLISH 6488 DR. F
THE ORISHA TRADITION: A LIVING CULTURE EVOLUTION: Haitian Percussion: At the heart of Haitian percussion in Miami are the rich African-derived religious and artistic traditions of Vodou. In Vodou ceremonies, drums and other percussion instruments enable devotees to establish contact with the lwa (deities). The lwa are divided into several nations, the two main groupings of which are Rada and Petwo. This basic division is reflected in drum ensembles. The three drums of the Rada ensemble have cowhide covers that are attached with wooden pegs, while the two or three drums of the Petwo ensemble have goatskin covers attached with cords. Petwo drums have a sharper sound, which reflects the aggressive temperament of their lwa. Other Vodou instruments are the ogan (a piece of iron played with a metal striker), the tcha-tcha (a small rattle), the ason (a calabash that is covered with a mesh of beads) and Cuban congas. In Miami Vodou percussion is used not only in ceremonies but in the staged presentations of misik rasin (roots music) bands and folkloric troupes. By drawing on folk music and other traditional arts, these groups create performances that celebrate Haitian culture and comment on the political experiences of the Haitian people. 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 14 ENGLISH 6488 DR. F
THE ORISHA TRADITION: A LIVING CULTURE EVOLUTION: Nowadays we find traces of the Orisha Tradition, especialy in music. This musical video represents the evolution of the music devoted to the Orisha tradition, using musical elements such as “Regueaton”, integrated to Calipso and other Caribbean rhytms. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=TBg3Vj_DZZ4&list=PLF6E70EA62E2F9457 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 15 ENGLISH 6488 DR. F
REFERENCES Besso, Gerard A., The Caribbean History Archives, Paria Publishing Co. LTD. The Orisha Religion in Trinidad http://caribbeanhistoryarchives.blogspot.com/2011/11/ orisha-religion-in-trinidad.html Monday, 7 November 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9lGVF6jYN4&list=PLEE9CBAE8DF9BE362&index=1 The Ifa Divination System http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEE9CBAE8DF9BE362 , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQZtXmnl28Y The Yoruba, Ifa, And Santeria Systems. The History And The Basics City of the World | Trinidadian Orisha Meeting of Orisha Shrines in Trinidad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4Mrn3jkjJ0 Por qué será? -Ari, Roldan(Orishas), Jotamayuscula http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBg3Vj_DZZ4&list=PLF6E70EA62E2F9457 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON 16 ENGLISH 6488 DR. F
Thanks for your attention I hope you all enjoyed this presentation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBg3Vj_DZZ4&list=PLF6E70EA62E2F9457 12/10/13 PABLO FERNANDEZ COLON ENGLISH 6488 DR. FIET17
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