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 One love ghoema beat : inside the Cape Town Carnival© 2010 / photographs and text by John Edwin Mason

One love, ghoema beat : inside the Cape Town Carnival / photographs and text by John Edwin Mason

Each year the coloured working class of Cape Town celebrates itself in a spectacular, lively Carnival.  Historian, photographer and musician John Edwin Mason spent three Carnival seasons with one troupe, the Pennsylvanians Crooning Minstrels, becoming an ' honorary member' and marching in full troupe gear, camera in hand.  He came to know several other troupes, too, among them the Fabulous Woodstock Starlites.

Mason's unique position - as an outsider with and insider's point of view - allowed him a singular documentary perspective on this inimitable cultural tradition and the people who keep it alive.  He explores the Cape Town Carnival's history and records its public and private sides from within the troupe, rather than from the sidelines.

As a result, One Love, Ghoema Beat  reveals aspects that outsiders rarely see - band and choir rehearsals, life in the klopskamers (clubhouses) and the making of costumes and drums.  With several short essays and superb photographs, this book offers a comprehensive look at the minstrel troupes that are the exuberant face of Cape Town's Carnival

.John Edwin Mason teaches African history and history of photography at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in the United States.  He has written extensively on the history of Cape Town, an interest that led him, inevitably, to the New Year Carnival.  In 2007, friends invited him to join the Pennsylvanians Crooning Minstrels, a leading troupe.  Recognising the Carnival's cultural importance, he gladly accepted the offer and was able to document a unique behind-the-scenes perspective on the Pennsylvanians and other troupes.  As a photographer, he also contributes regularly to music and motor-sports magazines

The music and dance of Carnival can sometimes induce an ecstatic, almost trance-like state.  Troupe members refer to it as tarik
Children are introduced to the intricacies of ghoema at an early age, often by family members
Souce : One love ghoema beat : inside the Cape Town Carnival / photographs and text by John Edwin Mason
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