Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher continued their African fieldwork attending the 2015 Festival of Masks in Burkina Faso, gathering material for new volumes to expand their magnum opus African Ceremonies (2 volumes, Published: Harry N. Abrams, 1999).

The Festival of Masks in Burkina Faso is one of the greatest masquerade festivals we have ever seen. Masked dancers gather from across West Africa, from Ivory Coast to Mali, from Benin to Burkina Faso, to showcase for each other the masquerades of their communities. In this part of Africa it is traditionally believed that life is governed by the spirits of the ancestors, the animals and nature that surrounds them. The masks channel the power of these spirits, making it possible for the dancers to give these incredible performances.”

This is the first in a series of short videos of dancers from the Festival:

Leaf Masks – Representing the God of Springtime, the dances of these Bwa leaf masks burst with energy and lust for life! They are made fresh every morning with leaves from the sacred forest and, at the end of each day, they are burned. © Beckwith/Fisher 2015

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