Ends on January 31, 2018$100.00
Professional and Emerging Musicians, Artists and the General Public 18 years old+ interested in the art, culture and traditions of Africa and the Black Diaspora are eligible to apply. Musicians are especially encouraged to apply.  Knowledge of Spanish is helpful but not mandatory.

Carnival in Portobelo, Panama is one of the most unique experiences in the African Diaspora. The Congos of Portobelo, like other Congo communities along the Caribbean coast of Panama, use ritual performance to celebrate and share their history, traditions, and cultural practices. Such performances generally include embodied storytelling enacted through costumed dancing, singing, and drumming. The main drama of the tradition takes place during carnival season (Congo season), which begins on January 20 and peaks on the Tuesday and Wednesday before the beginning of Lent.

During Carnival, the Congos - descendants of enslaved Africans - dress in old clothing, representing the discarded clothing of their enslavers, wearing them backwards or inside out, as a way to make fun of their former enslavers. The color their faces black or blue with charcoal or indigo.  The Congos play in the streets and palenques - fortified villages - performing in an exaggerated, playful style, further ridiculing the manners of the Spaniards. Other carnival participants create elaborate devil costumes, some costing hundreds of dollars and taking many months to build, that represent the evils of slavery, and run through the streets chasing, whipping and playing with the participating villagers.

The Major devil, head of all the Carnival devils, leaves his home on the last night to dance the Diablo Tun Tun with the Congo Queen, a power struggle that doesn't end until she is able to jump on his back and throw them both onto the drums, thus ending carnival. Carnival is complete when all of the devils have been caught and baptized, thus cleansing the souls of the enslavers, and the community as a whole, of the evils of slavery.

Congo Carnival Activities also include late night bar and restaurants serving good, cheap food, beer and gossip; all night parties in the discoteca blaring salsa, merengue, and bachata; and the palenque where carnival participants drum and dance for as long as they can stay awake. Locals are also treated to special house visits by the Congo Queen and her court that roam the streets singing and dancing in exchange for bottles of rum, plates of food and monetary donations.

Participants will be able to learn both traditional Congo drumming/dancing as well as enjoy the practices and performances of the local carnival band, Barrio Fino.  Musicians will enjoy the opportunity to work with Comparsa Barrio Fino as they prepare to perform during Carnival, as well as work collaboratively to explore new sounds and create new music - all while enjoying the sights and sounds of Congo Carnival, one of the most unique events in the African Diaspora!

This is a great opportunity to spend a week immersed in the beauty, vibrancy, culture and traditions of the African Diaspora - and recharge your creative spirit!

Participants will:
Enjoy 2 meals per day at La Morada artist complex
Learn traditional Congo drumming and dancing
Take part in Congo Carnival activities and parties
Get a guided tour of historic Portobelo
Take a walking tour of Colon*
Visit the Colon Duty Free Zone*
Get a guided tour of Panama City*
Visit the Panama Canal*

Not Included:
• Round Trip Airfare
• Dinner and All Meals outside of the Creative Currents Artist Collaborative campus
• Souvenirs and incidentals
• Local artwork at Taller Portobelo

*additional costs apply