Big Carnival celebrations are happening right now. It comes to an end with Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”), after which comes the hangover and token repentance of Ash Wednesday. You can see the influence of African culture and rhythms in these four Carnival capitals, which almost always happen in Catholic countries; they are too risqué for Protestants, and usually are associated with certain Catholic saints and their African analogues (Orishas that correspond to Catholic saints). In Rio escolas de sambas (samba schools) rehearse all year for it, spending a fortune on costumes and choreography, ditto for the French Antilles and Trinidad / Tobago. New Orleans zydeco gumbo music is some of the most soulful music in the world, and we mustn’t ever forget that so much great soul music and rock and roll started in the multicultural gumbo pot of New Orleans.
Rio de Janeiro:
New Orleans 2013, underway:
Trinidad and Tobago:
and, finally, in the French Antilles (Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique)