Migration to the Beat of Reggae

9 October, 2017


San Jose, Costa Rica – For many, organizing an event that includes public institutions, members of government and international organizations, but also 6 ´´rastas´´ might seem wild, and in a way it is, but at the same time it is this craziness that made this activity an unusual challenge.  

Since early in the morning, the crew members of Talawa were tuning their instruments, technicians were accommodating lights, and us from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), were managing the last logistical details before opening doors of the Theater of Dance in the center of the capital of San Jose to present the complete version of the documentary ´´The Fable of the Lion and the Coyote: A band in a rush, but with no visa´´. 

During the past weeks, the documentary was shared in IOM´s and Talawa´s social media. No one had yet seen the complete version.

The activity started when the clock hands hit 10 a.m. It was only a matter of minutes until the first attendees started to grab their seats, and it was in that moment that a mix of feelings took over the musicians and the IOM team. The mixture included nerves and anxiety, but mostly illusion to show the story that was behind the documentary and one of the band´s songs.

As usual in Costa Rica, the event suffered a slight but strategic delay, that only served for more of the seats to be taken, reaching over 100 attendees including from high government officers, to children, all united to hear Talawa´s message: migrating irregularly is not worth the while.

The activity, framed in the InformArte en Movimiento platform, was officially inaugurated by the words of Marcelo Pisani, Regional Director of IOM, who thanked Talawa for sharing their story with the organization and the world, as in that same day, the documentary was also presented in El Salvador, transcending Costa Rica´s borders. The Regional Coordinator of the Mesoamerica Program expressed her delight with the InformArte social media campaign as it shared the story with 90 thousand people in only 5 weeks.

Then, Miguel Gomez, the director, highlighted in his words that in 2017 this documentary was his most gratifying piece. His permanent smile evidenced his pride.

That’s when, the lights slowly dimmed and the the presentation of the documentary started. The attendees laughed and suffered throughout the entire 30 minutes, but most importantly, they got the chance to re-live Talawa´s story with the group, one that at the same time is the story of thousands of migrants around the world.

The attendees were fascinated by the documentary and the message was successfully delivered. When it seemed that the ambiance was decreasing, a guitar echoed behind the stage, turning the surrounding silence into energy, noise, and good vibes.

During half an hour, Talawa Reggae Army ensured that 100% of the attendees were on their feet; even the diplomatic tables could not avoid falling into the lion claws of the group and showing their excitement through one or two moves, in many occasion changing composure for dance and fulfilment.

Craziness turns what´s normal into extravagant, and what is usual into unsual. Seeing ´´Rastas´´ behind a podium delivering a message at the highest of political standards, while also seeing people in full suits dancing to beat of reggae, evidenced how their are thousands of ways to get a message to be heard.