Simona Esquina Memory of Father as Congo King

Interviewee: Simona Esquina
Biography: Lifelong Portobelo resident, Congo “Cantalante"/lead singer, and ritual specialist Simona Esquina has been singing and dancing in the Portobelo Congo tradition since she was seven years old. Part of a family whose participation in the tradition extends more then five generations, Simona's father was the renowned King in the Congo tradition, Vicente Esquina. Simona is the great-aunt co-interviewer Gustavo Esquina.
Excerpt Description: In this excerpt, Esquina recounts watching her father, Vicente Esquina, get dressed as the Congo King and accompanying him to the palenque/palacio to play Congo. Memories of her father's participation as king mark some of Esquina's earliest recollections of the tradition.
Entire Interview: Listen to the full interview and read the transcript.
Interviewer: Renee Alexander Craft
Secondary Interviewer: Gustavo Esquina
Date of Interview: 7-May-03
Interview Location: Interviewee's home in Portobelo, Panama
Interview Transcribed By: Gustavo Esquina
English Translation By: Oronike Odeleye
Ethnoracial Identity Discussed: Afro-Colonial, Afrodescendiente
Cultural Identity: "Revellín" or Primary singer in the Congo tradition, Congo
Location Mentioned: Portobelo, Panama
Congo Spaces:
Congo Characters: Congo King/ Juan de Dioso
Congo Tradition Mentioned: Congo characters, Congo drama, Congo game, Continuity and change
Cultural Organization: Congos
Themes Mentioned: Congo king, Congo tradition, Cultural change, Cultural continuity
Cultural Festivals: Carnival
People Mentioned: Vicente Esquina
Time Period Mentioned: 1932-1946
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Timestamp: 00:01:36.0-00:04:59.0

Photo by: Painting of Congo King by Ariel Jimenez. Photo by Renee Alexander Craft.