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Creating a Carnival Band The following presentation aims to facilitate your school’s planning, to embed carnival in the curriculum and support you to.

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Presentation on theme: "Creating a Carnival Band The following presentation aims to facilitate your school’s planning, to embed carnival in the curriculum and support you to."— Presentation transcript:


2 Creating a Carnival Band

3 The following presentation aims to facilitate your school’s planning, to embed carnival in the curriculum and support you to create your own carnival band.

4 This presentation includes the following: An introduction to the history of carnival The carnival archive web address for further resources and research The place of carnival in education Archive resources of an example carnival band created by artists from arts company Festive Road as a guide for your own planning

5 What is Carnival?

6 Carnival in pre-Christian Times It is known that holidays were celebrated in the pre-Christian times and had many things in common with present day carnivals In Ancient Greece a festival was held in honour of Dionysus. It was a large religious festival and included dancing, singing, poetry as well as masked procession

7 In Ancient Rome it was heathen holidays named the Saturnalia and held in honour of the God of Saturn, god of grain vegetation and wine. The general idea of the feast was to invert the ordinary way of life. During two weeks all class boundaries were erased by the law of festival: the rich and poor were equalized in rights, children headed families, slaves could sit freely with theirs masters at the table and everybody hid their faces behind masks to avoid embarrassment once the celebrations were over. Also, a pseudo-king was chosen at the start of the holiday and at the end of Saturnalias he was killed through burning, hanging etc.

8 Carnival in the UK is believed to have existed for thousands of years in the form of parades and outdoor celebrations based around key events in the calendar - Pagan events - Fairs - Weddings

9 Catholicism and Carnival Prior to the period of Lent when Christians go through prayer, repentance and self-denial in honour of the time Jesus fasted when in the wilderness, people would try and use up their luxury goods such as meat and dairy products. The term carnival comes from the Italian word carne (meat) levare (remove) and came to symbolise a time of eating and drinking before the fasting of Lent began.

10 As a result Catholic countries, or those countries once controlled by Catholic nations such as Trinidad and Tobago tend to have the strongest carnival traditions During these celebrations, which often took place on the streets, people began to wear masks to allow them to party incognito and meant they didn’t have to worry about their reputations

11 Carnival in the UK Carnival in the UK declined with the reformation in the 16 th century. The reformation saw England split from the Catholic Church and the creation of the Protestant Church of England Carnivals and parades were used during the First and Second World War as a way of raising funds and morale

12 After the end of the Second World War, the British government encouraged mass immigration from the British Empire without needing a visa, to help the population recover after the huge loss of life during the war. The immigrants who came to Britain brought with them their customs and traditions and amongst those were carnival traditions. This influx on new carnival ideas helped to revive UK carnival and it now plays host to the world’s second largest carnival (Notting Hill) and the two largest carnivals in Europe (Notting Hill and Luton International Carnival) Some of the largest influences on carnival in the UK today come from African, Caribbean, Indian and Irish communities.

13 African influences on carnival traditions Ancient African traditions of parading and moving in circles through villages in costumes and masks Circling villages was believed to bring good fortune, heal problems and appease the ancestors The combination of natural objects often found in carnival tradition is borrowed from the African customs of creating a piece of sculpture or mask with each object representing a certain idea or spiritual force

14 Feathers were used frequently by Africans in their motherland on masks and headdresses as a symbol of our ability as humans to rise above problems, pains, heartbreaks, illness to travel to another world and be reborn spiritually African dance and music traditions transformed the early carnival celebrations in the Americas as African drum rhythms, large puppets, stick fighters and stilt dancers began to make their appearances in carnival festivities

15 In many parts of the world where Catholic Europeans set up colonies and entered into the slave trade, carnival took root

16 Brazil is famous for it’s carnival Mardi Gras in Louisiana where African Americans mixed with French settlers and Native Americans Caribbean countries including: Barbados, Jamaica, Grenada, Dominica, Haiti, Cuba, St Thomas, St Marten Central and South America: Belize, Panama, Brazil, Canada and the USA: Brooklyn, Miami, Toronto, San Francisco

17 Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago Carnival was introduced to Trinidad around 1785 with the arrival of the French settlers Banned from the masked balls of the French the slaves would hold their own carnivals using their own rituals and folklore and mocking their master’s behaviour After 1838 when slavery was abolished the freed Africans began to hold their own carnival celebrations in the streets

18 Today carnival in Trinidad reflects the faces of the many immigrants who have come to the island from Europe, Africa, India and China Many schools in Trinidad believe that sponsoring a carnival band is a way to teach young people about their roots and culture

19 Music of Trinidad Carnival Steel Pan Africans who were brought as slaves to Trinidad had their own musical culture of drumming. In 1883 drumming was outlawed by the authorities afraid that it would spark a rebellion. The slaves made music with whatever came to hand. In 1936 steel pan was invented when it was discovered different tones could be created using oil drums.

20 Calypso Forbidden to talk to each other and robbed of their home the slaves on the sugar plantations in Trinidad began to sing songs. They used Calypso which can be traced back to West African Kaiso as a means of communication and to mock the slave masters

21 Samba Samba is one of the best known forms of Afro- Brazilian music which developed through a blending of cultures as a result of the Portuguese colonisation of Brazil. A samba school carnival entry will typically include singers (puxadires) and musicians including a drumming section called the batteria

22 Influence of Caribean Music in the UK The arrival of immigrants from the Caribbean on the SS Windrush in the 1940s and 50s brought new influences to popular music in the UK Calypso has spawned many modern variants including Soca (a fusion of Soul and Calypso), Rapso ( slower rap and hip-hop rhythms) and Chutney (fusion of Soca and Indian influences

23 Carnival in Education

24 Ofsted Report Learning: creative approaches that raise standards Ofsted concluded: Creative approaches had a "perceptible and positive impact on pupils personal development and on their preparation for life beyond school". "We are pleased that the report recognises what we see in schools every day: that creative approaches to learning raise attainment levels, improve attendance and increase pupil motivation particularly for schools in challenging circumstances. " Paul Collard, Chief Executive of Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE), the organisation which manages Creative Partnerships

25 Carnival as Inclusive Education: exploring carnival arts in the curriculum by Celia Burgess-Macey “Carnival in schools provides an opportunity for the focussed study of a particularly important cultural event, which has diverse historical and international origins and is in a constant process of development incorporating new elements and linking different communities”

26 Children’s responses “Craig was a very quiet boy. The kind who has dreams. He struggled for a while. He always wanted help to do things[…] in the end he was so involved that event when he left that primary school he came back for two years after to help with the carnival” Mas Maker Amaru Chatawa

27 Parental engagement “… through the school becoming the focus of carnival work and through parents seeing black adults working alongside their children, many parents black parents have been willing for the first time to become further involved.”


29 Celebrating the heritage of carnival The Carnival Archive project is gathering together an archive about the rich history of Carnival and street celebrations in the eastern region of the UK. We aim to fashion our archive into local, regional and national stories for everyone to enjoy.

30 Celebrating the heritage of carnival in the eastern region of the UK Sharing photos, videos, memories and stories of carnivals Collecting now in Luton, Northampton, Norwich and Southend

31 You can explore the images and stories in the carnival archive online

32 Luton Carnival Timeline Processions have always been a feature of celebrations in Luton 1400s Guild Feasts began in Luton and these would include a procession 1887Golden Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria 1897Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria 1896Procession to celebrate the opening of the Plait Halls 1919Peace Day Riots: National day of celebrations that descended into rioting 1935 Silver Jubilee of George V 1939 - 1945 Carnival parades held to raise money for the war effort 1945 The heyday of the street party was VE day which marked the end of war in Europe 1950s St George’s day parades were popular 1953 Possibly the first Easter Bonnet Parade 1976 The first Luton Carnival as we now know it 1998 Luton Carnival acquired International Status 2007 Carnival cancelled due to heavy rain and flooding 2009Opening of UKCCA 2012The Carnival was moved from May to July to coincide with the arrival of the Olympic torch in Luton

33 Designing for Carnival: Archive inspiration for planning

34 Choosing a theme It is helpful to imagine your carnival band as a visual story. Your carnival theme provides you with the title of your story. This could be literal e.g. an existing story like Snow White or more broad like the Life Cycle, the history of Luton etc. If you are planning a cross curricular carnival project your theme acts very much like a topic and all your other subjects are taught through it. It is important to choose a theme which is rich enough to meet the needs of each curriculum area.

35 This image shows Festive Road’s design for one of their carnival bands. Their theme was ‘Celebration’.

36 Kings and Queens If the theme is the title of your story the Kings and Queens are the central characters. They are often puppets or large back pack costumes that make a big impression and open the carnival procession with a bang.

37 The Kings and Queens in Festive Road’s band were inspired by Vivian Westwood and Jack Sparrow, both theatrical and flamboyant characters. Their broad approach to design connects with and inspires their carnival audience.




41 Sections The sections of your carnival band (i.e. the different groups within your overall group) are like the chapters in your story. Each one illuminates a different part of the story for your audience. For example if your theme was the Olympics you might have a section for the opening ceremony, or different sections for different sports. If organising a whole school carnival it is useful for each year group to have their own section and they design and make costumes specifically for that.

42 Party goers

43 Candles

44 Star Drummers

45 Cakes

46 Characters As well as your main characters i.e. your King or Queen you may also want to have other characters from your story, perhaps one with each section. They may have larger costumes than the others and lead their section.



49 The Event Whether you are planning an in school carnival or taking part in your local carnival the event is great day for all involved. If you are planning to take part in your local carnival it is important to put in your application to the council in good time. The event itself is a fantastic motivator for staff, children and parents a like and is a fantastic celebration. Everyone comes away with a great sense of pride and achievement. As well as being an excellent tool for framing academic learning in an exciting context carnival also develops self- confidence and a sense of community.






55 Thank you

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