Folklife Fest: Garifuna Music

26 Jun

garifuna group at folklife fest
Without planning for it, my first full day as a Washington, D.C., summer resident coincided with opening day of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. For two weeks, the institution takes over a chunk of the National Mall with dozens of tents celebrating musical and cultural heritage from around the world.

This year’s themes are Hungarian heritage, endangered languages and African American diversity. Festivities include live music, storytellers, fashion shows, dance and language lessons, lectures, children’s games and ethnic food.

The first thing to really catch my ear was a drum circle at the Garifuna tent, representing West African descendants in Central America via New York City and Los Angeles. With turtle-shell percussion and joyous call-and-response vocals, they looked and sounded like they were having more fun than anyone!

Here’s a clip from their later performance on the Voices of the World Stage with singers and dancers:

And here’s a clip of this funny spandex guy tearing it up:

The festival runs June 26 to 30 and July 3 to 7. If you’re in or around D.C., come see them for yourselves! It’s a party.

More photos from Day 1:

garifuna singers and dancers
garifuna dancers folklife dance barn
language map at folklife fest hula dancers at folklife fest


One Response to “Folklife Fest: Garifuna Music”

  1. Smithsonian Folklife June 30, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    This was so fun to see (and hear). Glad you enjoyed the 2013 Festival!

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