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Fiesta 2016: Day of the Dead

Holly Zapasnik

What is the day of the dead?

If your first thought is “that’s Mexican Halloween, isn’t it?”- you’re invited to learn the meaning behind the festival whilst enjoying the sights and sounds of Latin-Afro culture.

Day of the Dead celebrates the lives of families and friends who have passed over, as well as celebrating life itself in a joyful festival full of colour and passion. This November, The Day of the Dead Fiesta comes to Canberra for the 5th time, promising a full day of fun, colour, culture and verve.

A day for the whole family, this lively event hosted by Los Chavos, promises to be a community celebration of Afro-Latin music and culture with live bands, interstate guests, DJs, performances, food and craft stalls, face painting, workshops and live art! There will even be a Piñata for the kids!

Learn a traditional dance, or make up your own as you enjoy performances by Los Chavos, Brass Knuckle Brass Band, Mandacaru (Melb), Solquemia (Melb), Zambezi Sounds Canberra and ClaveMania. Singer and bassist for Clavemania, Elizabeth Obando, is excited to be a part of the event.

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Elizabeth Obando

The band recently moved to Canberra from Melbourne, bringing the South American influence with them. “Salsa, Andean music, ecuatorian music, currulao (rhythm from the pacific coast of Colombia) but also a big influence of: Cuban timba, mambo, salsa, Argentinian tango, afro-peruvian festejo, danzon among many other rhythms from South America” says Elizabeth, a Colombian native.

“I have lived in Australia since 2008 and I feel that the fact of living here has incredibly influenced my taste of music, I have reconnected with the music of my country and Latin music in general since the beginning.”

Do you know someone with a sugar skull tattoo? Maybe you have sugar skull painted salt & peppershakers that you bought at a market one ambitious day? Learn the history and context of the iconic sugar skull and get one painted on your face by one of the pros as you tap your feet to the lively Latin American and African beats. “What I love about Canberra is the audience which is very receptive, energetic and eager to explore new rhythms” says Elizabeth.

Things kick off in the Ainslie Arts Centre courtyard from 3pm with music and dance performances. Then things heat up as night falls and the main hall opens at 6pm a handpicked line up of live bands that span the gamut from Latin jazz and reggae to West African pop, Brazilian Roots and New Orleans Funk and Spanish guitar.

The event did an open call to artists, photographers, stall holders and other creatives – a testament to the inclusive nature of the Latin-American culture – so attendees can expect a wide variety of activities and stalls, all with the colour and passion that inspires a cultural obsession with Latin-America.

the essentials

What: Day of the Dead Fiesta 2016
Where: Ainslie Arts Centre, Elouera Street, Braddon
When: Saturday 5 November 2016 from 3pm until 11.30pm
Tickets: Start from $10-50 and are available online here or at the door.

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Holly Zapasnik

Holly is a final year public relations student at University of Canberra who will talk your ear off about her dog, Archie (who she will claim is the cutest kelpie in the world). As a Canberran who has lived here her entire life, Holly enjoys quaint little bookstores full of character and making people uncomfortable with her terribly bad puns. When she isn't at home geeking out on her computer, Holly can be found lurking around dog parks patting and playing with the best of them. More about the Author

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