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Monday, February 11, 2008

Santa Cruz Carnival Grand Bang Fest

Batucada in Rio

Yesterday's Carnaval de Día (Daytime Carnaval) initiative for the final weekend of carnaval in Santa Cruz definitely started with a bang. Firstly with what they're calling a gran batucada. If you've ever given a toddler a toy drum you'll know exactly what this means, incessant drumming, only this time produced by whole groups of adults, rhythmically. It's make as much noise as possible time. But, as if that wasn't enough for you, this was followed by the incredibly noisy - imagine how it must have sounded live - fireworks-by-day spectacle coming from the Plaza de España, provided by Los Realejos' firm Hermanos Toste.

These noise fireworks are already famous in Valencia and the custom there was unlike any other, where they're called a mascletà or mascletada (bang fest). Michael Palin, in his Hemingway Adventure (video), calls them "a celebration of noise", a competition to make "a bigger, more beautiful din" and "the world eardrum splitting finals."

Given the fuss made about carnaval's noise in recent years in Santa Cruz it is the absolute height of irony (maybe sarcasm) to introduce this 120dB+ spectacle. In Tenerife, they are calling this firework finger gesture a "gran traca." Don't you just love the typical anarchy?

Whoever planned this day's events and the order of service should be wholly congratulated. They clearly knew exactly what emotion they wanted to provoke, as it builds from the drumming, into the firework frenzy ... And bang Billos Caracas Boys launch into the classic, "Santa Cruz en Carnaval". That song has become a genuine carnaval hymn because Billos Caracas Boys had appeared with the late Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa, now Immortal Goddess, at Santa Cruz Carnaval's Greatest Ever Moment in History: the Guinness World Record for the largest attendance at a dance; 250,000 people in 1987.

Over 120dB sure is a LOT of Santa Cruz en Carnaval loving emotion!


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