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Cubans Trace Roots to Sierra Leone

 
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CherryBlossom View Drop Down
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    Posted: Apr 22 2014 at 9:53am
http://thechanelmuse.tumblr.com/post/83484939842/divided-family-through-music-cubans-trace-their
and the bbc article with video:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-25876023
The songs the Cubans have kept alive are in the Banta language, which is almost extinct
The villagers of Mokpangumba see the Cuban Ganga as long lost relatives and gave them the warmest welcome
Elvira Fumero dances with villagers in Mokpangumba
The incredible safeguarding of traditions has allowed Afro-Cuban descendants to discover their roots at last

thechanelmuse:

Divided Family: Through Music, Cubans Trace Their Roots To Sierra Leone

It is often said that music has the power to bring people together. That sentiment is definitely an understatement when it comes to the Afro-Cubans community Ganga-Longoba of Perico. 

Cuba’s Ganga people have been singing the same African chants for generations, but it wasn’t until an Australian researcher took interest in the songs, that they were able to trace their chants to a remote village in Sierra Leone, 170 years after the slave trade.

“When I first filmed the Ganga-Longoba, I believed their ceremonies were a mixture of many different ethnic groups,” says historian Emma Christopher, of Sydney University. “I had no idea that a large number of Ganga songs would come from just one village. I think that’s extremely unusual,” she says.

After tracing their roots back to Sierra Leone, four Cubans made the trip to the African country to delve more into their history. Christopher captured the moment for the documentary They Are We.

"Cuba was cut off at a time when other nations in the Americas were going through black pride and fighting for some justice for what happened to their ancestors," says Dr. Christopher, who points out that the island’s 1959 revolution declared racism ‘solved’. That left a lot of Afro-Cubans adrift, not knowing how to celebrate where they came from and be proud of it," she says.

Whilst many Cubans of Spanish descent have rushed to seek out their ancestry—and passports—Afro-Cubans have been far less anxious to do the same. Organizing a reunion for the divided “family” wasn’t easy given restrictions on traveling from Cuba at the time, and limited resources. But eventually, four Cubans did make their ancestors’ voyage in reverse - to Sierra Leone.

“When I opened my mouth to sing, they just stood there staring,” Elvira Fumero recalls of her arrival in Mokpangumba. “Then it was like an explosion. They started to sing the responses, and dance with me. And I knew then that this was where the Ganga came from,” she says, smiling.

For Alfredo Duquesne, visiting Sierra Leone changed everything.

"It was as if I’d just left the previous weekend. I touched the soil and thought: ‘This is it. I’ve come back,’" he says, describing himself now as ‘at peace’. "At last I know where I come from," Alfredo says. "I’m not a stranger anymore."

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tatee View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote tatee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 22 2014 at 10:10am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote tatee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 22 2014 at 10:22am
Quote "It was as if I’d just left the previous weekend. I touched the soil and thought: ‘This is it. I’ve come back,’" he says, describing himself now as ‘at peace’. "At last I know where I come from," Alfredo says. "I’m not a stranger anymore."



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CherryBlossom View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (6) Thanks(6)   Quote CherryBlossom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 22 2014 at 10:26am
thanks for posting the video tatee

..when he said "my body is in cuba but my soul is in africa"...very movingCry
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote nekamarie83 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 22 2014 at 10:34am
Originally posted by CherryBlossom CherryBlossom wrote:

“When I opened my mouth to sing, they just stood there staring,” Elvira Fumero recalls of her arrival in Mokpangumba. “Then it was like an explosion. They started to sing the responses, and dance with me. And I knew then that this was where the Ganga came from,” she says, smiling.
Awwwwwww!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote CherryBlossom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 22 2014 at 10:46am
I'd like to see the documentary now

I can't remember where I read this (possibly here) but is it true that the africans sent to cuba as slaves were kept together? 

because families and communities remained "in tact", it was easier for them to hold on to their cultural mores and traditions?

whereas this wasn't the case for AA's?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote afrokock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 22 2014 at 10:53am
5* thread
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote JoliePoufiasse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 22 2014 at 11:00am
Amazing! I would have loved to live a similar experience.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Rumbera Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 22 2014 at 11:08am
Cry... I would love a similar experience, too.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Rumbera Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 22 2014 at 11:13am
Originally posted by CherryBlossom CherryBlossom wrote:

I'd like to see the documentary now

I can't remember where I read this (possibly here) but is it true that the africans sent to cuba as slaves were kept together? 

because families and communities remained "in tact", it was easier for them to hold on to their cultural mores and traditions?

whereas this wasn't the case for AA's?
 
 
Slave from the same African communities were often kept together...Read about Cabildos de nación,  
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