Thoughts from Madame Gumbeaux

Thoughts from Madame Gumbeaux

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Iko-Iko and Jackamo - Celebrating Carnival in New Orleans

Today, New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras, the last day before the Lenten season. Of course, Carnival is celebrated in many locations all over the world. However, I love the blend of African, Carribean, Native American and European influences that converge in New Orleans culture to produce great costumes, songs, and traditions for Mardi Gras.

I have never viewed the parades of the  Choctaw Nation, which is solely presented by African Americans in elaborate feathered costumes each year. The words are somewhat obscure, in part, because the words were part of traditional folk songs from African/Indian lingo popular hundreds of years ago in the southeastern United States. Iko-iko was a victory chant of Choctaw Indians near New Orleans. Jock-a-mo was the black name for a jester. The song is about 2 tribes of parading groups who encounter each other in the street.



Kim G said...

Interesting! Happy Mardi Gras!


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where we need Mardi Gras. Badly!

Laurie Matherne said...

One forgets the treasures in one's own backyard. I heard that song hundreds of times, but I never thought about the origins before today.

lisleman said...

thanks for the background on this song. It's a favorite of mine. I like to imagine my grandma (long gone) sitting by a fire and challenging another grandma.

Laurie Matherne said...

It does sound nice to think of two old ladies seated on someone's porch, in the kitchen by the fire, with light banter, eh?