Monday, September 28, 2009


Although the origin of the word is contested, some suggest the word carnival is derived from the Latin carnem levare or the Italian carnelevare, “removal of meat,” thus making the carnival celebration related to religious fasting, just as Mardi Gras is to Lent. It has also been interpreted to mean “carne vale,” or “farewell to meat” in the alimentary sense, or “farewell to the flesh” in the erotic sense. “Farewell to the flesh” has been interpreted by some as referring to those festivities that encourage the letting go of your everyday self and embracing the carefree nature of the carnival or festival atmosphere—the indulgence of your hidden aspirations. Whatever the word’s origin, for theorist Mikhail Bakhtin, the carnival disrupts the rigid hierarchies that make up our quotidian life and allows for indulgence and excess. Carnival allows for a multiplicity of voices and meanings—for laughter—and allows for impulse and instinct and expressions of caprice and desire. Social roles can be cast aside, allowing us to show our “real” selves to the world. For Bakhtin, music and song create a highly flexible realm of meaning that holds socially transformative potential. Music, therefore, is essential to carnival.

Carnival Time:
The Band – Life Is A Carnival (Cahoots)
Jimmy Buffett – Carnival World (Off to See the Lizard)
The Cardigans – Carnival (Life)
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis – Carnival (The Assassination of Jesse James soundtrack)
Frank Churchill – When I See An Elephant Fly (Dumbo soundtrack)
Elvis – It’s Carnival Time (Roustabout soundtrack)
Norah Jones – Carnival Town (Feels Like Home)
Paul McCartney and Wings – Letting Go (Venus and Mars)
Natalie Merchant – Carnival (Tigerlily)
Pere Ubu – Waiting For Mary (Cloudland)
Bruce Springsteen – 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) (The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle)
Bruce Springsteen – The Last Carnival (Working On a Dream)
Sun Ra & His Arkestra – Pink Elephants on Parade (Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films)

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