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Carnival lecture to feature music and food

By Eric Moenich
On November 26, 2012

The Center for American and World Cultures (CAWC), in combination with Miami University's music department, is giving an ethnomusicology presentation Thursday that will detail the traditions of the yearly pre-Lenten festival of Carnival (or Carnaval in Brazil). The presentation will focus on the traditions of Brazil and Trinidad as they participate in this country-wide riotous festival, as well as the factors that have influenced the festival over the years.

The event will feature a lecture, live and recorded musical performances, videos and personal experiences to illustrate the rich cultural traditions characteristic of such a colorful and important event. Following the presentation, ticket-holders will enjoy a dinner catered by Miami with cuisine inspired by the local specialties enjoyed during Carnival.

The speakers for the evening will be Miami professors of music Thomas Garcia and Chris Tanner, both of whom teach classes on music from around the world and its influences on culture. They will examine the differences between each location's celebrations by comparing the music and dance, costumes, movies and photos of the festival while analyzing the political, economic and social factors that influenced these differences. Garcia, who visits Brazil annually, will be showing costumes that he wore during a Samba competition during Carnaval. Students from the Music Department and Steel Band will illustrate the vibrant culture of the event by playing percussion instruments for a Samba procession.

"Music isn't a universal language," Garcia said. "It's a universal concept."

When asked about the importance and relevance of the Latin American festival, Tanner related it to the wild and vivid aspects of Mardi Gras here in the U.S., as both events prepare the people for the sacrifices of Lent with a magnificent celebration. He also emphasized the importance of coming to such an event on campus.

"It is a great opportunity to learn about something that [students] might not otherwise encounter," Tanner said.

By attending such an event, one could learn a great deal about worldly affairs and the cultures that drive them. Thursday's lecture will include performances and colorful displays of how socioeconomic and political factors can create vast demonstrations of cultural importance.

"Carnival in Brazil and Trinidad" will take place 5 p.m. Thursday in the Shriver Heritage Room. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for faculty and staff. The event will continue Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Miami's Hamilton campus for those that cannot attend this Thursday's presentation.

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