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Monday, February 11, 2008

Santa Cruz Carnival Grand Bang Fest



From yesterday's Carnaval de Día (Daytime Carnaval) initiative for the final weekend of carnaval in Santa Cruz that 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 is followed by the incredibly noisy - imagine how it must have sounded was live - fireworks-by-day spectacle coming from the Plaza de España, provided by Los Realejos' firm Hermanos Toste.

These noise fireworks are 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 all 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, total anarchy of it?

Whoever planned this day's events and the order of service should be wholly congratulated. I think they may be guilty of a wee bit of deliberate manipulation, but they clearly knew exactly what emotion they wanted to provoke in the crowd, 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 (which is also used as the backing for this video that tells of Santa Cruz Carnaval's history), 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.

That sure is a LOT of Santa Cruz Carnaval loving emotion!

All events are liable to change beyond our control.

3 comments:

Sheila, Canary Islands said...

That sounds a mite loud for this country girl!

Anonymous said...

I thought Spain was still the noisiest country in the world?

Actually, I got the 120dB+ from the site about the mascletas in Valencia. The noise complaints in Santa Cruz, I believe were over measurements they had made of 155dB (at midnight).

Steve Cotton said...

Pamela --

As always, great reporting.

It appears I will be making an unplanned stop in Tenerife in April. I will be on a cruise from Brazil to Portugal. The original itinerary included 3 stops in Morocco -- all cancelled now. Instead, we will stop in Tenerife and Madeira. It is always nice to see the Canaries again,

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