Berlin's Karneval of Kool
by John Oseid
One and a half million happy people will fill the streets of Berlin's Kreuzberg district this weekend. With a hundred floats and 900 performers from around the world, the Karneval der Kulturen (May 29-June 1) will turn the German capital into a riot of colors for a fourteenth year of celebrating the city's diversity. If not the city's biggest fete, the Carnival of Cultures is surely the coolest since the recent demise of the famously hedonistic Loveparade techno-bash.
In addition to the main parade, artists on four stages will showcase sounds from Turkish pop and Brazilian funk to Dixieland and Algerian raï, as well as some you've likely never imagined: electro-gypsy, Angolan reggae, Chilean ska, and yes, even Deutschrap. Hmmm . . . I may just have to check that last one out. The weekend activities are intended to challenge xenophobia and address issues of integration that Berlin's large immigrant community faces. There's a children's parade if you've got kids in tow, and with 350 food stalls, you can take a culinary tour of the world.
* Carnival of Culture compilation albums are available from the excellent German world music label Piranha.
* The New York Times recently covered the Bolivian ritual of Tinku.
* Boom Box: An unabashed gusto for music of the world.