Thursday, September 4, 2014

Seven Videos Of Guinea-Bissau's Carnival

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides information about Guinea-Bissau's annual carnival, and showcases seven videos of those carnival celebrations. These examples featured scenes from carnival celebrations in 1995, 1997, 2011, 2013, and 2014.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

Note: The video given as Example #3 and the photo-slide presented as Example #4 below has a few brief shots of females without tops on. I didn't notice those shots in any other video examples.

I'm particularly interested in the dancing and the costumes (including the masks) of the paraders. I'm also interested in the drumming that is performed during the parade.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all the people of Guinea-Bissau. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post, and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

"Guinea Bissau is one of the few African countries where Carnival is a big celebration. It is preceded by months of preparation, mostly by the youth, who make drums and other instruments, masks, costumes, dances, shows... And then arrive the 4 D-days from Saturday to Shrove Tuesday in which the feast is held. A lot of people on the roads, parades, dances with the traditional music of the various ethnic groups (Balanta, Pepel, Mancanha, Bijagos, Mandjaco, Fula, Felupe, Mandinga,)"...
"Uniquely in West Africa, Guinea Bissau follows the latin tradition of holding a carnival on the days leading up to Lent. As a desperately poor country this clearly isn't the extravaganza of the one in Rio, but I had heard that the people make up in inventiveness what they lack in financial resources and so I used some of the precious time I have left in the region to fly down to Bissau for a long weekend to see the carnival parades.

What a good decision that was - I would recommend this carnival to anyone! A riot of drumming and colour!

The parades started at 4pm on Monday, with each of nine districts of the capital putting on their own displays in a relay that lasted until well after dark at 7.30pm (a little sad for those parading last given the lack of street lighting in Bissau), with the same pattern the next day for the regional displays. The basic format was the same for each district, first the dancers in costume, and then those sporting giant papier-mache masks, all accompanied by fast and frantic drumming.

The costumes varied enormously....

The papier-mache masks were enormously varied and impressive, from tigers and dragons, pieces of fruit and vegetables, army chiefs and colonial administrators, fishing boats and - my favourite - a turtle mask, its poor 'wearer' having to crawl along on all fours around the carinval route"...

These examples are presented in chronological order based on their posting dates on YouTube, with the oldest dated examples presented first.

Example #1: Carnival Guinea Bissau- West Africa 1995

Joel Samuel, Uploaded on Jul 28, 2006

...Joel Samuel presents from his in depth documentary "To the Source Of The River Gambia"

Example #2: Carnival in Guinea Bissau - West Africa

Joel Samuel Published on Mar 5, 2009

Guinea Bissau- West Africa I shot this documentary in 1997. A gift for the people of Guinea Bissau- joelsamuelpresents

Example #3: Carnaval Guinée Bissau 2011

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Uploaded on Mar 30, 2011

Carnaval en Afrique

Example #4: Carnival in Bissau

jorgencarling, Uploaded on Feb 11, 2012

We (Jørgen and Heidi, pregnant with Jenny) spent a few days in Bissau during the carnival of 2008. The theme of the year was 'fight against drugs and illegal emigration', vividly illustrated in the parade. Guinea-Bissau is a former Portuguese colony in West Africa, and one of the smallest and poorest countries in the region. For more on the carnival in Bissau, see

Example #5: Bissau Carnival (2013) 9

Blacfoundation Published on Aug 3, 2013

Example #6: Guinea Bissau CARNAVAL (trailer)


TheJiriPO Published on Dec 27, 2013

trailer k dokumentárnímu filmu o tradičním guinejském karnevalu (Guinea Bissau CARNAVAL, 25 min.)

Example #7: CARNAVAL da Guine-Bissau 2014- Badju Mancanhi

Armando Conte Published on Mar 24, 2014

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