Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bonko characters represent old trees which sway and dance in the wind.

Yankue is the name of the scariest bonko character because he represents evil. He is tethered by a chain to keep him "at bay". He also lights his head on fire and runs after the little kids...frightening! he is like the boogie man for many equatoguinean children.

These drummers play for hours. I think they themselves become hypnotized by the strong rhythms.

My mom (right) and auntie with their Onekind.

Many outfits, one fabric, Onekind

Bonko is a traditional dance of the Creoles in Equatorial Guinea. Around Christmas time they dance in the streets and make their rounds from house to house. They dance and sing about the local stories and gossip. The gossip is always very funny when it is about family members and neighbors but it is seldom funny when they dare to air one's dirty laundry!!
Kids get really scared of them because of the many scary legends about the Bonko (which represent live trees). The legends where used to keep small children from venturing into the dangerous jungle.. The dances include raw African drum rhythms with truly hypnotic cadences. The singing is done by the women who dress in traditional clothing of the same fabric which the call "Onekind". For every special celebration (weddings, new years, bonko, etc) the host picks a fabric in advance and all the guest buy this fabric and have outfits made from it. Actually, the women find any excuse to wear Onekind...visits from the president, graduations, etc.

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