This project reveals the rich, rhythmic African Diasporic heritage that connects New Orleans and Santiago de Cuba, two unique, yet strikingly similar cities. This project is a journey of ecstatic collective street celebrations that transcend time, place and politics. These celebrations are known as Second line parades in New Orleans and Conga parades in Santiago de Cuba and literally move thousands of participants to shared altered states of mind and affect the very fabric of art and society in both cities.
Over our 20 years of participating and documenting New Orleans Second Line parades and Congas parades in Santiago de Cuba, we realized that most New Orleanians and Santiagueros have no idea that their unique parade traditions are shared across the Caribbean sea…
What is a “Second Line” and what is a “Conga”?
So, you might be asking yourself—what is a Second Line? What’s a Conga? Next time you are in the fair city of New Orleans, you must check out the Second Line parades! Traditionally, the “Second Line” is known to have West African roots. It represents the group of people who dance and follow the “Main Line” of brass band musicians. Second Lines typically roll every Sunday afternoon and represent a communal gathering of residents around the city to engage in street cultural performance. “Congas” from Santiago de Cuba are street dances as well, not so different from the New Orleans Second Line. The hypnotic melody of the Chinese cornet coupled with different drums and various other instruments create the rhythmic backdrop to this Cuban street procession.