Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Bahamas Junkanoo Street Culture on Display at S Florida Museum

Bahamas Junkanoo is a part of a year-long exhibition of street culture at History Miami Museum, Miami, FL


FORT LAUDERDALE, FL  - The premiere cultural expression of The Islands Of The Bahamas, Junkanoo, is currently on display at Miami, Florida, History Miami Museum’s exhibition, "Avenues of Expression: Street Traditions in Miami."

A live Bahamas Junkanoo group, under the leadership of local Bahamian Junkanoo icon, Mr. Langston Longley, marched an excited crowd into the exhibit hall, at the official opening reception, of the unique, new exhibition, Friday, March 16th.  The exhibition will be on display to the public through Sunday January 13th, 2019.

A Smithsonian affiliate, History Miami is centrally located in the downtown Miami area and the current exhibition is in its South Florida Folk life Center - a division that has been committed to documenting, presenting, and supporting local traditional arts and culture. In keeping with its commitment, the recently opened exhibit features diverse street traditions from the sales of food and flowers on the street, protests, street art or Graffiti on walls to parades and marching bands.


Bahamas Junkanoo, which is a staple in most local parades such as the annual Martin Luther King Parade Miami, was chosen as one of the items to be featured representing street bands as a part of Miami street culture.  The colorful costumed Junkanoo statues are captured life-like and their stances vibrate to a degree that sounds and movements seem almost tangible. A phone beside the exhibit allows the viewer to pick up the earpiece to listen to the actual sounds of Junkanoo.

History Miami says of its new exhibition that it, "will allow visitors to discover the street traditions that are in plain sight on Miami's avenues, where the vibrant, raw pulse that fuels this city is felt the most and where Miami's diverse communities converge and interact."  They note too that the exhibition, "will also highlight the people who bring creativity and meaning to these practices, all of which help to give Miami it’s unique mix of characteristics and identities."

The addition of Bahamas Junkanoo to the exhibition of street traditions in Miami, speaks to the close connection of The Bahamian and Bahamian diaspora relationship to South Florida, which is a part of the legacy of the Bahamian-rooted community in South Miami known as Coconut Grove.


Junkanoo is a spectacular display of sight and sounds that fuse to create a major cultural explosion that is the heritage of he people of The Bahamas.  Junkanoo features colorfully costumed dancers and musicians using goatskin drums, whistles, horns, and cowbells to create a breathtaking presentation of fun and excitement.

Junkanoo is featured in a major celebration in the Bahamas' capital Nassau, each Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) as well as New Years Day.  The celebration also takes place on other Islands of the Bahamas on a smaller scale.  Although the grand events usually take place towards the end of the year and on New Years day, no Bahamian fun event anywhere in the world is complete without a Junkanoo appearance/'rush out", no matter how small.

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