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Banana Day Celebrations!

Today’s Go Bananas! guest blog is written by Cheryl Camm, a composer of considerable talent and relentless enthusiasm. Cheryl has written a song for fairandfunky (amongst many other things!) and here shares her memories of a ‘Banana Day’ in Australia! We hope it inspires you during Fairtrade Fortnight and beyond…….

 

“In my role as a composer at large, I have often been asked to compose music and design composerly tasks around the general subject of bananas. The pinnacle of my banana-related composing career was in a primary school in Queensland, Australia when I designed and delivered an entire term’s-worth of banana-centric arts activities. A proper cross-curricular banana feast it was, and no mistake, culminating in “Banana Day” in which the results of our efforts were put on display, winners were announced, live competitions were held, performances were mounted and the entire afternoon was spent in the singing of banana songs.

 

“Stick with Foncho to make bananas fair” is one of the slogans of Fairtrade fortnight, and is emblazoned on a banana sticker. In our ‘Banana Day’ the Year 2 children undertook a detailed study of banana stickers, analysing the purposes of them, the design, the message each producer was attempting to convey. They then designed their own banana stickers, scanned their designs, and printed them onto appropriate sticky-on-the-back paper. These Year 2s also took part in the Edible Art Banana Challenge, the results of which you can see on this video: http://youtu.be/23Gjq_Xeo0A

 

The music in the video, Banana Fanfare 2, played its own significant part in our banana mayhem. Just as this Fairtrade Fortnight focuses on troubles and potential solutions in the banana industry, there were issues facing the banana growers of Queensland then. The Philippines wanted to export bananas to Australia, but Australia had a policy of not importing bananas. This was because of the risks of diseases being brought in to the country. This was understandable, because in the 20th century many banana plantations were wiped out as a result of imported diseases. The Philippines government argued that this was against the rules of free trade and they threatened to take the matter to the World Trade Organisation as well as refuse to allow Australian beef into their country. The Year 4 classes addressed this issue by writing arguments for and against the importation of foreign bananas into Australia, and also by learning about the diseases to which banana plants were, and still are, susceptible. They presented their work in the form of a Banana Diseases Musical Dance Drama. Banana Fanfare 2, which they sang beautifully, was dubbed the “Healthy Banana” music, then in a series of composing tasks, they infected the healthy banana music with each disease in turn. The music displayed the same characteristics as a banana plant infected with these diseases: Banana Wilt, Black Sigatoka and Bunchy Top. They also created “Disease Dances” to illustrate the same symptoms. A visiting banana farmer who happened to be one of the grandparents of someone in another class (so no vested interest), commended us on our realistic musical and choreographic interpretations of the fear of his very livelihood.

 

 

Busby Berkeley Dance

Busby Berkeley Dance

Other activities from that term that leap into my memory are Year 6 Historic Banana Dramas, Year 1 Banana Joke-Telling and Poetry Reading, Year 3 Giant Banana dance inspired by Busby Berkeley, Carmen Miranda dance competition, The “Banana Fling” in which Year 4 students had to dance in time and throw their banana to their partner in every 5th  bar, Banana Product Videos with Year 5, Banana Hat Competition inspired again by Carmen Miranda, Live Banana Recycling Art, the Year 1 Banana Photography Competition and all the banana songs I composed or found for our afternoon finale. Oh what fun we had!

 

 

I hope you have found amongst these composerly memories some activities to inspire you during this Fairtrade Fortnight celebration of bananas.”

 

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