This weekend, the 2nd Annual Fungi Fest will bring holiday cheer to Road Town, Tortola as over a dozen groups perform in a free concert. So, what exactly is fungi? Fungi is the name given to the local musical form of the BVIs. It showcases African and European influences on the culture of the islands in a unique sound. The name "fungi" comes from a local cornmeal dish of the same name which is made of many different ingredients ranging from okra to onions, green peppers and other fusions of different flavors. Similarly, fungi music is a blend of many different instruments (usually homemade) and styles. The main components of a fungi band include the ukulele, the banjo, bongos, guitar, double bass or bass guitar, keyboard, calabash (gourds), washboard, triangle and saxophone. The themes explored in fungi music include love and relationships, current events and social commentary and folk lore - which is the basis of BVI oral history- on topics ranging from church life to rum smuggling. The music is very festive, often humorous and always made for dancing! The Fungi Fest is an effort to keep this special music genre alive. If anyone has experienced the local performances of Lashing Dogs, D'Originals, Four Strong or Leon and the Hot Shots, please share your thoughts on this unique BVI musical sound. - Donna
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