Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Back to Barceloneta Park for a Moondance


I just got back from a very low-tech, high-energy festival in Barceloneta Park. DÍA FUERA DEL TIEMPO : PAZ ES CULTURA! (Day Out of Time: Peace is Culture) started at 10am this morning, but since today was a work day, I couldn't get there until this evening. It's still going on, but because of tomorrow being a work day, I had to come home. Ahh, but it was a nice interlude from the work week while it lasted.
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The event had music, massages, meditation, books, vegetarian food and non-alcoholic beverages. There was no charge for anything, simply a few boxes put out for donations.
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When I arrived HIJOS DE LA CALLE (Children of the Street), a "fusion rumba electrohop" group was just finishing up on a stage set up inside the wrought-iron forum on one side of the park. I really didn't hear enough of them to judge, but what I did hear sounded interesting.
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Between musical sets, I walked around, said hello to people I knew and was introduced to others, while looking at the items on display at booths around the circle -- books, magazines, candles, incense, fabric, pillows, sign-up sheets for various volunteer opportunities, etc. Then I got something to eat from the food stand and joined the hundreds of people sitting and lying around inside the circle, as the sun went down.
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Seated in the crowd were some of the amateur percussionists that gather in the park pretty regularly. They beat their bongos, banged their drums and battered on other things to entertain us while we waited. (As a matter of fact, spontaneous percussion sessions like this are a regular occurrence here and in Ciutadella Park on Sunday evenings. There are usually spinners and jugglers and such along with them.)
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Next was a pretty good Spanish rap group named SURIKATOS. (No translation for this one!) The best thing about them was the back-up vocalist, who sang one and a half solos. Her voice was incredible -- reminiscent of Billie Holiday and Erika Badu and Celia Cruz. Unfortunately she is not mentioned on the duo's web site. WHO WAS SHE?!?!
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After their performance came DANZA DE LA CORAZÓN ÚNICO. (One Heart Dance.) This started about an hour later than scheduled, like everything else did, but it was worth the wait. Led by North American Roy Little Sun, this Hopi dance around a little bonfire in the middle of the circle was a great community experience and good exercise, as well!
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Here is a description of the dance I've adapted from Little Sun's blog that will give you a pretty good idea of what I just experienced:
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"1. Dancers circle counter-clock-wise around the pattern while inviting 'all our relations' to be part of the dance and then enter from the East. Continue dancing until there is complete synchronicity. It may take four or up to nine rounds. Then exit from the East and again circle counter-clock-wise to then enter from the South with the same sequence, until all the four directions have been initiated.
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2. The last gate to be opened is that of the North. Upon the exit the dancers circle again counter-clock-wise and realise that the in-out-weaving have created the Union, so that the pattern can unfold to become the Circle of Hearts.
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3. Upon making the full circle the dancers stop circling and together face the Centre.
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4. Upon the sign of the one who leads the dance the Circle moves towards the Centre for all the dancers to bless the Fire, that has been placed at the Centre. Then the dancers move backwards to the circle they had. This routine is done four times.
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5. Having come back the fourth time to the Circle, the drum(s)/music stops and everyone contemplates on the culmination of the dance into the Centre. The duration may last as long as the attained collective consciousness allows it to be.
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6. The dance-leader goes to the Centre...
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7. The ceremony ends with everyone holding hands while together taking three deep breaths, signifying the sharing of the experience with the world. Thank 'all our relations to be part of the dance and until next time'."

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The main difference in tonight's version was the rhythmic hand-clapping that the Spaniards couldn't resist adding about midway through.
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Reluctantly, I had to tear myself away after the dance, but what a great way to end my time there! Heading out of the crowd, I noticed that little groups of picnickers were spread out along the grass, enjoying the activities in the circle from a distance.
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In one small group, a fellow was strumming a little harp for his friends. As I entered Barceloneta, Roy Little Sun's calm voice mingled with the music of the harp in what sounded like a call to another dance.
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Goodnight amig@s,
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Carloz

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