Leon Center Collections

Analog photograph of vertical framing that presents a collective portrait captured during a Gaga celebration in Haina, San Cristóbal. The picture shows several musicians and dancers in full performance. In the first plane of the composition the hands of a percussionist that hits on a tambu stand out. In intermediate areas appear two dancers with scarves at the waist. In the background there are many people gathered around the singers and another musician with a large fututo or bamboo. A manuscript of the author, made on the framework that supports the slide, identifies the type of activity and the place of origin.

Curious fact:

Gagá is the name given to a group of people who hold their own celebration of the Dominican sugar centers. This activity usually takes place during Holy Week, so it has a religious, but also social and cultural; It is done collectively and is accompanied by music, dances, invocations, prayers and songs. In a Gagá there is a particular structure of hierarchies, in which the participants perform a certain function and are clearly identified by their colorful costumes and their way of dancing. Among these are the queen, she is the one who adorns the parade and dance in porphyria with the eldest, who is the one who marks the dance and usually carries a whip with which he opens the way. All this based on the principle of reincarnation and the hope that the forces or "mysteries" can improve and renew life. Among its rituals and ceremonies are those of initiation, sacrifice, protection, baptism, blessing and purification. The participation of its members is based on "promises" that last from three to seven years. Gaga music includes: a tambú, a catalié, four or more bamboos or fututos, a homemade trumpet or tua-tuá, maracas or cha-chá, a snail (strombus gigas) and whistles. This practice was brought by Haitian migrations, with time it was creolized and recreated, to result in a Dominican Gagá.
Tambú is the name that receives a long drum used in Gagá rituals. It is made of resistant wood, like avocado or javilla. The upper part must be of goat or cow leather, this is fixed by means of synthetic fiber or cabuya ropes. The tambú can reach up to five feet and is one of the sacred objects of the Haitian Dominican gagá. Before being used, the instruments must be consecrated by the priest or priestess.
Gagá bamboos are species of wide and heavy flutes, with two openings at both ends for the entrance and exit of air. They are made of bamboo trunks, on the outside they are painted in intense colors. In the ritual called Gagá four are used: one long, two medium and one small. According to their size they are called first, second, third and fourth bamboo. In certain occasions the performers use wooden sticks to beat them rhythmically while they blow. Their sizes can vary from a foot to two meters.


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