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Highly aggressive, they can bring about radical change, including revolution. This has led some researchers to conclude that they are entirely Creole born in the colony , but others can identify characteristics in these lwa that recall spirits from the Congo region. The Petwo altar. Photo by Dennis Nervig.

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To the right of the fire spirits one finds others with specifically Kongo names who dwell in rivers and forests. Contemporary Haitians perform two types of dance from the Congo, and each differs considerably in temperament.

The volatile dance petwo clearly evolved from the Don Pedro dance described by Moreau in the eighteenth century. The fundamental step demands the coordination of the torso, which literally trembles, and a basic foot pattern that begins with a step backward in anticipation of the main pulse. The dances kita and boumba both kikongo words are varieties of the dance petwo , the former executed at an extremely rapid pace and the latter more slowly. The seductive dance kongo , the second major type from the Congo coast, includes several varieties.

Kingdom of Kongo - Wikipedia

The basic kongo fran step combines a gentle rotation of the hips, a toe-heel foot movement, and a swirling of the skirt of the female dancer. This traditional Petwo drum uses a goatskin head attached to a conical softwood body by means of cords interlaced in tourniquet style, similar to drums found in the Congo.

One slides the side clasps, called ralba , up or down to tune the head. Music instruments and hand technique characterize the Petwo and Kongo spirits and invite them to reveal themselves in possession. The bodies of Petwo drums are softwood, conically carved and covered at the upper opening with goatskin. A hoop holds the head in place.

4-The Kongo/Petwo room

Cords lace around the hoop and anchor to the lower end of the body by means of another hoop, holes, or knotting methods. Pegs applied to the lacing control head tension. The Kongo timbal, from the french word for kettledrum, is rather a softwood cylinder a quarter of a meter long and therefore called ka in some places , covered at both ends with goatskin held in place with hoops and lacing.

The bodies of Petwo drums are softwood, conically carved and covered at the upper opening with goatskin. A hoop holds the head in place.

4-The Kongo/Petwo room

Cords lace around the hoop and anchor to the lower end of the body by means of another hoop, holes, or knotting methods. Pegs applied to the lacing control head tension. The Kongo timbal, from the french word for kettledrum, is rather a softwood cylinder a quarter of a meter long and therefore called ka in some places , covered at both ends with goatskin held in place with hoops and lacing.


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Drummers play Petwo drums with bare hands and the timbal with a pair of slim sticks for a sharp sound. The sounds of whistle and whip enrich the sonic texture and appropriate slave-era tools of oppression. The Petwo rattle takes the nickname of the flamboyant tree— tchatcha —for the sound made by the seeds of its fruit when excited by the wind. The master drummer plays the Petwo drum with hands only.

Here, he strikes a bass tone in the center of the head, then a high ringing tone on the rim. The structures of rhythm and song likewise mark the character of the Petwo and Kongo lwa. Every rhythm played for these spirits features the kata pattern, whose strokes segment the measure in ratio. One may hear it in a variety of drum and percussion parts, from the staccato of the timbal to the clatter of the tchatcha.

The kata plays against a steady pulse ratio rendering the offbeat feel for which black music is known, in and out of Africa. A similar sense of play inspires song. Backdrop 2. The musicians of Vodou 3. The Guinea room 4. Work and celebrate: konbit, carnival, and rara 6.


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