The search for El Dorado
The City of Gold will be recreated this Crop-Over when the Renegades Band presents The Search for El Dorado for Grand Kadooment.
Band leader Doug Hoyte noted that while El Dorado was believed to be the lost city of gold located somewhere in South America, after the abolition of slavery in Barbados in 1834, many people seeking a new start and better opportunities migrated.
“Migration was one of the few or indeed the major response of the masses in their attempts to break free of the power of the oligarchs of colonial society endured during slavery, and so from about 1850, many Barbadians left the island in search of better opportunities.
“This Kadooment, the Renegades chronicle the migration patterns of Barbadians in the post emancipation Era in their band appropriately entitled The Search for El Dorado.”
Sections for the band include The Panama Pioneers, Barbadianos, Havana Haven, The BG Bajan, and The Pride of Paradise.
The Panama Pioneers symbolises the courage of the early Bajan migrants, with vibrant colours reflecting their proud pioneering spirit. This section comprises a ruffled chiffon and satin skirt with cold shoulder tops worn by the ladies, while the men wear a colourful poncho, a traditional garment use to keep the warmth in and the rain out.
Barbadianos is reflected in vibrant costumes of green and golden yellow reflecting the national colours of Brazil today, in this section which examines the Bajans who journeyed beyond Panama to places like Brazil. It was said that about 5,000 migrants travelled to Brazil from the Caribbean, and about 2,000 were Barbadian.
In the Havana Haven section which depicts and recalls the number of Bajans who remigrated from Panama to Cuba. Here it examine the connection between Cuba, Barbados and the then lucrative sugar industry.
The BG Bajan is a tribute to those who made the sacrifice to travel to British Guiana, whose sugar industry was offering better wages and working conditions than Barbados. The jeweled ladies in the section are costumed with beads and iridescent appliqu√s representing the success in the face of adversity. The men with their fringed silver collars and jeweled waistband reflect the bravery of their generation.
The final section, The Pride of Paradise examines the little known migration of Bajans to the Bahamas in three small waves to work in law enforcement, in hotels and homes, and other areas of the civil service. This mostly female section takes on a distinctively military tone with a bold bronze look with scalloped belts creating that gladiatorial look. The plumes on the ladies headpieces take the appearance of traditional ceremonial military headdress. (LB)