Jerijery is the music festival that happens in my town that I promised to write about in a previous blog. It is just before the week long All-Saints vacation and basically the town is overrun by Malagasy tourists who come to buy, sell, and see the show. There was easily 5 times the normal amount of people in town. The sides of the street were covered with temporary stands and people selling things of all kinds on blankets.
Every day between Thursday and Sunday, there were two performing artistes on stage. They began around 3:30 and went until about 7:30. There was a 2,000 ariary cover to the outdoor theatre.
Five other volunteers from my stage came from their sites to see mine and the show. Two came from from Tamatave and Kathryne came in from Fiadanana, making 10 in total (only 2 guys, a classic PC ratio). We went to two shows, went hiking, ate out, spoke English and had a really good time.
Malagasy shows are different than the shows I saw in the U.S.A. They are full of choreographed dancing and costume changes. Depending on the artist, the dancing was either really good and impressive, or vulgar and graphic. I actually asked a Malagasy friend of mine if some of the dancing was ok, since there was children present. Apparently it was.
One notable thing about the concert is that people in the crowd generally didn’t dance. When they want to, an average Malagasy can out-shake even the best dancers I knew in the states. I can’t say why, but they really just didn’t do much of it until it got dark (or they got drunk), except in isolated sections of the crowd. Also, it is perfectly normal for two guys to dance together in ways that would be odd for two heterosexual guys at home. The culture in general is homophobic (and Catholic), but dancing is not as sexually oriented is it seemed to be at home.
November 9, 2008