Thursday, November 02, 2006
So, today is Gede in Haiti, the day when the eponymous family of vodou lwa hold sway in the cemeteries and the lanes, lead by the guardian of the cemetery himself, Baron Samedi, a.k.a Baron Cimetiere, Baron La Croix or simply Baron. The Gede lwa are believed to flow from the spirits of a group of slaves conquered and shipped to Saint Domingue from Benin, but, in Haiti, black is their color and the tomb is their favored abode. If you would have gone to the main cemetery in downtown Port-au-Prince today (as my friends Adele Waugaman, Herby, Etzer and I did in 2002), you would have seen the Gede acolytes conducting tributes and rituals amidst the half-demolished tombs. To enter within the cemetery itself, you would have had to pass beneath the sign over the entrance. Souviens—Toi Que Tu Es Poussiere, it reads. Remember you are dust.
In a slight, forward-looking change of gears (with a still Haiti-related component), for those readers in the Miami area on November 11th, I highly recommend checking out the Voces Latentes photo exhibition of my friend and colleague, the talented Haitian-American photographer Noelle Theard. Noelle, whose beautiful photo graces the cover of my first book, has crafted a presentation of underground hip-hop culture from New York to Paris to Caracas and beyond, and will be displaying the photos at Miami's Filtro photo gallery. Well worth a look see.