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Imaginary dialogs pt. III Bríkamo

Imaginary dialogs pt. III Bríkamo

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Published by guarachon63
Translation of Furé's "Dialogos Imaginarios"
Translation of Furé's "Dialogos Imaginarios"

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Published by: guarachon63 on Jun 16, 2009
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11/05/2012

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FROM “DIALOGOS IMAGINARIOS” c. 1979 by Rog
é
lio Martinez Fur
é
The Br
í
kamo
The br
í
kamo
1
(
bricma, br 
í
cam,
or
br 
í
camo
) have been known inCuba since the colonial period. According to FernandoOrtiz,
2
in the "Papel Periodico de La Habana of 16 august1792, there is a reference to a slave from the nacion
carabal
í
br 
í
cma
", and is supposed to be "the same as theBr
í
camo". By the first half of the 19th century, Pichardo
3 
noted exactly the origin of this ethnic group, situating itin Calabar, the southern region of Nigeria. At times, in the Parte Econ
ó
 mica of the
Diario de laHabana
there appears advertisements for the sale of slaveswith references such as the following: " For sale: a negrocarabal
í
br
í
cam, of around 26 years of age, dock worker[...]." (Wednesday, 9 July 1834.)In the same publication, in the section dedicated tofugitive slaves, we read: "On the 16th of the current year anegro named Jos
é
Mar
í
a escaped, carabal
í
br
í
cam, known inhis land by the name Efiom [...]." (Thursday 18 September1834.)References also appear in documents of old cabildos ofHavana, such as those which refer to "the Maloja house,number 149 willed by the negro Sim 
ó
n Carro in 1871 to thefavor of the
Naci
ó
n
and
Cabildo Carabal
í
Br 
í
camo San Jos
é
.This cabildo never submitted to the laws of associations andits duration (if indeed it existed) was extralegal".
41
Sadly we have not yet found this designation in any ethnografic or lingiustic map of West Africa, only in the Cuban bibiliography. we hopethe research realized in Nigerian lands will fill this gap in the near future.
2
Fernando Ortiz. Los negros esclavos. La Habana, Revista BimestreCubana, 1916, p. 30.
3
Esteban Pichardo. Diccionario provincial casi razonado de vozes y frases cubanas. La Habana, Ed. de Ciencias Sociales, 1976, p. 103.
4
Fernando Ortiz. Los cabildos afrocubanos. La Habana, Imprenta y Papeleria La Universal, 1921, pp. 25-26.
1
 
FROM “DIALOGOS IMAGINARIOS” c. 1979 by Rog
é
lio Martinez Fur
é
In the city of Matanzas, the Br
í
kamo captives were alsosufficiently numerous to be able to form a cabildo. Throughthe years information has been collected among some membersof the Calle family, descendants of the founders of thecabildo br
í
kamo, who have preserved in this city the lastcultural survivals brought by this ethnic group from thecoast of West Africa. It is hoped that the great interest ofthese notes results in that, before the bibliographicscarcity of the topic, a little light is shed on the Br
í
kamoinfluences in Cuba, and over all, about its relation toanother manifestation - in this case a very important one -of traditional Cuban life, originating in the colonial period: the secret society of Abaku
á
.Of the habits and customs of the Br
í
kamo MatanceroThe br
í
kamo cabildo of Matanzas was located at Velarde, no.199, between Compostela and San Carlos, in the Simpsonneighborhood. This was the house of Anselmo Calle and hiswife Joaquina Dom 
í
nguez. Francisco Calle, father of Anselmo,was "carabal
í
legitimo" or, "de naci
ó
n", that is, born in Africa.Later the cabildo moved to a new location, Dao
í
z no. 215, between Compostela and San Carlos, according to otherinformants.
55
This information from B 
á
rbara Calle and Francisco Reyes (Matanzas,January, 1965) are confirmed —with slight variations— by documentary sources: ""according to documents of the Archivo Hist
ó
rico Provincial"of the city of matanzas, the cabildo carabal
í
of the Ni
ñ
o Jes
ú
s was onthe calle Velarde from 1860 to 1866 and later at Dao
í
z nos. 147 and 217 since 1870. Its heads or "capataces" were Francisco Cayo [sic] from 1864to 1878 and Jos
é
Vega from 1878 to 1890. (Israel Moliner Casta
ñ
eda."Matanzas: los bailes congos". Revoluci
ó
n y Cultura. [La Habana], no.50, octubre, 1976, p. 58.)
2
 
FROM “DIALOGOS IMAGINARIOS” c. 1979 by Rog
é
lio Martinez Fur
é
The cabildo was called Cabildo Carabal
í
br
í
kamo or Cabildo br
í
kamo suama.
6
Drums (
bonk
ó
) were played generally onSaturdays and Sundays, although their principal festival(day of the Ni
ñ
o Perdido) was celebrated the second Sundayof January, a movable date on the catholic calendar whichcommemorates the flight of the Holy Family from Egypt. Theyworshipped the baby Jesus, because "el Ni
ñ
o Jes
ú
s isElegb
á
".
7
To organize the fiesta, each member of the cabildocontributed money, food and drink, and others who were not members could also contribute.Several days before the event, the lithograph of the Ni
ñ
oJes
ú
s was brought to the church, where "mass was said", andthe day of the festival it was brought via procession backto the cabildo, dancing and singing through the streets.Two or three days before the festival the toques started.In the main room of the house an altar was made from a tablecovered by an altar cloth or a white sheet, on top of whichwas placed the picture of the baby Jesus, candles, vases orjars with flowers and "herbs": para
í
so [chinaberry] (
 Meliaazederach, Lin
),
8
albahaca [basil] (
Ocimun basilicum, Lin
),
9 
escoba amarga [congress grass] (
Parthenium hysterophorus,
6
 According to Amaury Talbot, the "Ozuzu-Uzuama are one of the clans of the sub-tribe Alensaw of the Ib 
ó
" (The Peoples of Southern Nigeria.London, Oxford University Press, 1926, t. II, p. 4), which would confirm the Nigerian origin of this group and its location in the southof the country.
7
The central picture of all ceremonies was a lithograph of the Ni
ñ
o de Atocha, a catholic representation
 
of Jesus during his infancy. In Cubansanteria, of Yoruban origin, this saint is sincretized with Elegb 
á
,keeper of pathways and crossroads for believers.
8
Juan Tom 
á
s Roig. Diccionario botanico de nombres vulgares cubanos. LaHabana, Ed. del Consejo Nacional de Universidades, 1965, t. II, p. 758.
9
Ibid., t. I, p. 76.
3

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