Friday, February 22, 2008

joie de vivre

For reasons unrelated to Translations, I'm doing some research in the "Negro Units" of the Federal Theatre Projects. In E. Quita Craig's book Black Drama of the Federal Theatre Era, she discusses, among other things, the West Indian influence on black playwriting in the 1930s. And in a discussion of religious expression in the Caribbean, she says "In contrast to Christianity, the entire orientation of these religions is toward joy, gaiety, and the fullest expression of life, and this religious joie de vivre dominates the outlook of the black island populations" (p. 141).

There were 18th century laws in America against slaves gathering to dance.
The missionaries suppressed hula in Hawaii the 19th century.

I'm thinking about the local dance in Baile Beag that Lieutenant Yolland leaves with Maire. I would love the music to convey that sense of joy and the fullest expression of life.

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