Carnevale encourages intercultural interaction through music and dance

Written by Tomi Gbeleyi on February 26, 2013

Revelers at Gallery Connexion's Carnevale, Feb. 16, dressed in carnival masks and danced to Latin rhythms and tropical sounds from the past. Photo courtesy of Amanda Hachey.

Revelers at Gallery Connexion’s Carnevale, Feb. 16, dressed in carnival masks and danced to Latin rhythms and tropical sounds from the past. Photo courtesy of Amanda Hachey.

Inspired by the Carnival of Venice and the exhilarating street carnivals popular in the Caribbean and Brazil, Carnevale held at  Gallery Connexion drew a sizable crowd of Frederictonians. The variety of music at the event ranged from Samba, Afro-beats, Latin music and the sound of live Punjabi dohl drums.

This innovative initiative by Fredericton’s only artist-run gallery, celebrated art beyond physical works by embracing the beauty of music and demonstrating cultural hybridity.

The cross-cultural music selection at this event was integral to its theme of cultural hybridity which Matthew Hayes, one of the organizers, describes as “a deliberate attempt to borrow ideas and traditions from elsewhere in ways that both distort the originals and create new cultural forms.”

The event featured “music from around the world, all of which borrowed cross-culturally from different musical traditions and styles.  So even if we think of Samba music as being typically Brazilian, or Afrobeat as being from somewhere in Africa, actually, both genres borrowed heavily from a variety of different cultural traditions, in Africa, in Europe and from the Americas,” said Hayes.

Guests dancing away to a blend of samba and afrobeat tunes may not have deconstructed the themes of the eclectic music selection and décor, but it was certainly a fun event for all in attendance.

“I had never heard of the Gallery Connexion before today or knew much about the choice of music before attending. It was different from the type of events I typically attend but I thoroughly enjoyed myself,” said Fredericton student, Kai Mabonga.

Events like Carnevale should be encouraged and supported in Fredericton as it created an ideal social forum for inter-cultural learning.

In Atlantic Canada in particular, where the share of annual immigrant inflow has traditionally been quite low, it is important to connect international and domestic residents of the region to develop global citizens and improve intercultural skills important in an increasingly globalized world.

The mere presence of international residents who may be international students or an immigrant is not enough to induce the benefits of intercultural interaction; actual interaction needs to occur for benefits to materialize.

Carnevale provided an artistic and entertaining environment for this type of interaction to occur.

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