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Easter 2005. In Kabic, a village in the south of Haiti, many Rara processions walk through towns and villages, along roads and beaches, to play Rara music. During our stay in Haiti, rara bands used to pass by in front of our house, on the beach of Kabic. Originating in Haïti, Rara is a form of festival music used for street processions, typically during Easter Week. The music centers on a set of cylindrical bamboo trumpets called vaksen (which may also be made of metal pipes), but also features drums, maracas, güiras or güiros (a percussion instrument), and metal bells, as well as sometimes also cylindrical metal trumpets which are made from recycled metal, often coffee cans. The vaksen-s perform repeating patterns in hocket and often strike their instruments rhythmically with a stick while blowing into them. The genre though predominantly Afro-based has some Taino Amerindian elements to it such as the use of güiros and maracas. The songs are always performed in Haitian Kreyòl and typically celebrate the African ancestry of the Afro-Haitian masses. Vodou is often implemented through the procession. Rara lyrics often address difficult issues, such as political oppression or poverty. Rara performances are often performed while marching, and are often accompanied by twirlers employing metal batons. Performances generally begin on Ash Wednesday and culminate at Easter Weekend. The Rara festival most likely developed during the period of colonial slavery, when enslaved
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