Voye rele Banda pou mwen Banda ale lakay e Banda e Banda ale lakay e Voye rele Banda pou mwen Banda ale lakay e
Go call Banda for me Banda has gone home Indeed Banda Has gone home Go call Banda for me Banda has gone home
This is a song about Banda, a sexy and provocative dance.The dance is performed during the month of November, the month for remembering those who came before us, the Ancestors. Throughout Ginen Africa, Ancestors were honored during celebrations that could last several weeks.Under the influence of African traditions, the European Ancestors’ day, or All Souls and All Saints’ day got to be celebrated in Haiti throughout November and not just on November first and second. In Haiti, we often call the Ancestors by their Gedevi Dahomean name, Gede and we call the dance in their honor, Banda, the Kikongo word for the beginning. It is a dance that unites. The dance illustrates how the Ancestors contributed to the making of our generation.It unites male and female. Banda dancing involves explicit gestures reminiscent of the act of procreation.
Banda also means attractive and appealing. It is synonymous with the English term sexy.It is because Gede is attractive that he is commonly referred to as bèl gason. In Haiti, to seek attention by behaving in an attractive and appealing manner is called taye banda.To taye banda means to show off, but the term is rooted in the act of procreation, commonly referred to as taye among Haitians and hipsaw among African-Americans.
In the song, the singer demands that Banda be summoned. Banda is danced uniquely for the Gede spirits and the call to Banda in the song is synonymous with calling on the Ancestors. Traditionally, as the dancer sings the song, the dancer twirls the hips in a circular pattern while holding a stick, a phallic symbol.This gesture catches the procreative aspect of the dance. The song is as much about procreation as it is about death. The twirling hips of the dancer also depict the circle of life. In that circle, death and procreation are intrinsically linked, as one generation yields its presence in the world to another.This is captured in a creole expression about the joy of birth and the pain of the loss of a loved one: Lavi pa bay san l pa pran.
Banda dancing was once a widespread tradition throughout the Americas. In the United States, banda dancing was known as the Kongo Grind and used to be performed in celebrations in the south, and in block parties in the north. The circular motion of the dance and the passing of each generation through time resulted in the dance being called wining in Trinidad. Wining is descriptive of the motion necessary to set a clock into action. In secular language, Banda dancing is known as gouyad, a word which may be derived from the French gouaille, meaning to tease.Such provocative dancing was known in Brazil as Zarabanda. Around 1580, one visitor to Brazil described Zarabanda as so lasvicious that “it would set fire to even quite well behaved people.” Lasvicious dancing is considered hot dancing. Objects and foods that are considered to be hot are used to symbolize Gede. Well spiced and hotly seasoned foods are served at gathering in honor of Gede. Gede is fond of procreational activity and is viewed as hot. This is why pepper is served at Gede gatherings.
Traditionally, the song is sung joyously to celebrate life while accepting the inevitability of death.In the song, Banda has gone home.Home means Ginen, Africa, the Ancestral homeland. This is where most of our Ancestors lived and died. It is also where their descendants go after death. In the Kongo, as in Haiti, black is symbolic of people and white is symbolic of Ancestors. To show how Gede is symbolic of the living and of the Ancestors, people dancing Banda commonly paint their faces half white and half black.While celebrating life, the singer also honors death, knowing that we are destined to continue the cycle. That cycle is also called Gran Chimen-the Grand Road of Life. It is also known in Haiti by its Kikongo name, Zila Moyo.
In the song, the beginning and the end are intrinsically linked. Banda means beginning. In the beginning, our Ancestors lived in Africa. In the end, meaning when we die, we are believed to return to our Ancestral homeland, Africa. Banda returns home to complete the circle of life. The departing point and the returning destination are the same. The dancer dances with joy because in dancing the Banda the dancer feels united in tradition with the practice of those who came before.
This November, Gede will be celebrated once more.People will sing and dance voye rele Banda pou mwen. Banda ale lakay e. Countless people will carry on the tradition of their fore parents and dress in black and white. They will wear sunshades because sun glasses are often considered to be sexy. At times, one lens will be removed.The absent lens represents the invisible ancestors and the shaded one, represents us.At Gede celebrations, people will tease each other while dancing Banda. They will bite on pepper and dance in a provocative manner while speaking and using sexual innuendoes. They will do all this to celebrate the joy of life while accepting their destiny to unite with the Ancestors on Gran Chimen: Banda e, Banda ale lakay e.May you enjoy the month of Gede.