Music Dominican Style

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Following our night out at El Prodigio (see here if you missed the post), I’ve been doing a wee study of Dominican musical culture.

To say that Dominicans love music is to understate the case by a considerable degree.  It seems they live for it.  It’s in their blood (the Latin “heat”) and it has to be loud.  Not just loud by our “stereo at full volume” standards but amplified to the sort of volume that might make Motorhead reach for earplugs.  If our next door neighbour is listening to music, we struggle to hear the thoughts in our heads! We can happily sing along to the music being pumped out of bars at the end of our road (200m away) and we are sandwiched between three churches but never feel the need to enter to find out the contents of any sermons as we can hear them all quite clearly from home with all the doors and windows closed. [Read more…]

A (school) trip to the cinema

Earlier this month there was a film festival at the local university.  All the children had been advised of this trip and paid for it a couple of weeks in advance but the first I heard of it was when I was sitting in my classroom waiting for my year 8’s to start their first lesson of the day and nobody turned up.  However there was much excitement and commotion in the playground.

It soon became obvious that it was another “mad Friday” where no work would be done as something out of the ordinary was happening.  I wandered into the melee to see what was happening and started to understand there was a trip to the cinema afoot. Wailly then came and asked me if I wanted to go.

I said yes, but I wouldn’t be able to as I had another class in half an hour. That didn’t matter, they didn’t need a teacher!  Half the group had gone on a bus already and the other half was waiting for the bus to return to pick them up (the university is only about 10 minutes away).

As usual there was no need to take a register or do a head count.  We trust that those who go will come back!  The bus came back and although it was a bit of a squash we all managed a seat.

The showing was part of a touring festival to celebrate films of the Dominican Republic. There is no film certification here so I was a little taken aback by the films and trailers that were shown to a group of 9 – 14 year olds – plenty of murders, drug dealing and nudity!

As it is 1973 here we were treated to a short “warm up film” before the main feature and the opening scene of his mini-film was a young couple in bed having a big row!

The feature was 2 hours of Peruvian children making bricks for a few pesos per day.  The message of the film was simple and important – appreciate what we have for there are people in the world whose lives are unimaginably hard.  But two hours of the same child turning over mud bricks was more than the children had the patience for so Blackberries were soon out pinging messages all around the theatre.

I have saved my favourite part until last which is conveniently its chronological place in the story.  The teacher in charge decided there was no need for us to return to school in 2 groups as that would mean she had to wait behind for the bus to return.  So we went home in just one bus!  It had been a bit of a squash on the way there with the group divided into two.  The journey back had to be experienced to be believed and even I joined in the pre-departure prayer!

Santacam

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Taken at 2.08 this morning (before the snow melted). Proof that Santa does visit the Dominican Republic.