Wednesday, November 2, 2016


[photo courtesy Trinidad Guardian,
Thursday 31st July, 2008]

Undressing our more sophisticated T&T selves, will reveal bits of natural comfortable selves such as the particulars to death, grieving, and community participation in times of sadness. Two such aspects of this undress reveal: The Wake and The Bongo, icons of a cultural past

Qua-qua line outside the circle
Sobs encircle
quiet mourning
in night's passing

Tack ah tack tack the bamboo clack
soul gone night black
loud the drums beat
creating heat

Tomorrow the undertaker
passage maker
fix up for rest
body behest
BONGO NIGHTS © gillena cox 2016

[photo Woodbrook Cemetery - Mucurapo Road, St. James, Trinidad; October 2016]

Bongo/Wake...Steeped in a syncretism of African and Methodist religion, the Wake and Bongo has been around for a long time in Tobago. Dry biscuit was the normal fare at this ritual, perhaps because it was usually the people of the poorer class who held the wakes, and dry biscuits were sufficiently affordable to cater for the large crowds that would gather every night...

The Bongo
is performed at the house of the deceased on the night of the wake (the night before the funeral). The dance depicts the passing of a person from one world to the next.

The qua-qua - is the musical accompaniment for the dance and is simply two pieces of bamboo struck or clapped together rhythmically by the players. The flat sound is struck in the tempo tack-tata-tack-tack, tack-tata-tack-tack.

Blog hopping today at
Midweek motif
Day of the Dead - Susan's prompt


[choice video today]