Monday, September 27, 2010

Reggae Fest

This past weekend I went to my first concert in Paraguay. It just so happened to be the 2nd annual Reggae Festival. Last year the Whalers were the headlining show, and I heard so many great stories I decided I would go this year. There wasn’t a lot of advertisement done for the show, but of course the American Peace Corp volunteers are the first to hear about the show and buy tickets. The advertisement that was done was this…

When it comes to racism in Paraguay there is a lot of it, or its not that they are being racist they just aren’t conscious of being racist. For example, David’s skin tone is a little dark and the people call him Morocho instead of his name, Morocho meaning dark skin. When explaining how a person looks the first thing they say is if they are dark or light skin, then if they are fat or skinny. In Peace Corps Paraguay there are African American Volunteers, here in Paraguay they are automatically Brazilian, a famous singer, or in some cases the president of the United States. When my friend Paulette showed me the advertisement for the first time I was shocked. Did they seriously paint a Paraguayans face black? Do only “black” people sing or listen to reggae music? In fact at the concert there was only two groups, one from Jamaica and the other Bolivia, who were from African decent. The other bands were white guys with dreadlocks from Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay.
When entering the concert there was security, like at all shows, who looked in our bags. I had a bottle of water they took, out of Angelic’s bag they took her pen, meanwhile she had a bottle of water, and Joan walked passed with a bottle of water in her hand. I am pretty sure every security guard had this assigned object that they were looking for and didn’t bother with the other stuff.

At the show I was amazed by the turnout, there were tons of people from all different styles of life. The diversity of the youth in Paraguay is astonishing. Living in the campo the youth don’t get to express themselves like they do in the capital of Asuncion. Therefore I have yet to experience this crowd. The people at the concert knew the words to the majority of the songs, danced along to all of the music, and had a great time. Nosotros, the volunteers enjoyed ourselves as well.

The music was very good. A few of the bands had the feel of Ska music mixed with Reggae. My favorite band of the night was called Nonpalidece from Argentina. The other bands were The Skatalites from Jamaica, Notevagustar from Uruguay, Matamba from Boliva, and Ese Ka’a and Ripe Banana Skins from Paraguay.

They also had a Hippie Market; yes above the stands it said “Hippie Market”. Again, racisim..? Anyways there was some very nice jewelry and other handy crafts for sale. My favorite item was the stand with Mobiles, made out of origami cranes and different types of local seeds.
All in all the entire concert was a success. I thoroughly enjoyed myself along with all of the Paraguayans. I learned that the Paraguayans are good clappers, when the band tells them to clap, they clap and continue to clap, unlike some people.

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