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Passa Passa is a weekly street party that originated in Kingston, Jamaica and has spread to other areas in the Caribbean. It is reported to have begun on Ash Wednesday in 2003 with the name being coined by Carl Shelley. It features dancehall music. It has spread throughout the Caribbean including Colón, Panama and later Puerto Rico. It is similar to a block party. The Passa Passa usually gets started around 1 a.m. and has been known to continue straight through until 8 a.m.
Artists, selectors, and dancers who usually attend and have done a great deal to build the dance for what it is to day include: Bogle, Ding Dong (dancehall performer), Marvin, Kartoon, Aneika Headtop, Ravers Clavers, Black Blingaz, Timeless Crew, Shelly Belly, Spikes, John Hype, Sample 6, Sherika Future, Jermaine Squad, Sadiki, Swatch, Maestro, Beenie Man and Future Girls.
Passa Passa has drawn many professional and amateur dancers into the media spotlight as the event is typically videotaped for mass DVD distribution. Many of the popular Jamaican dancers, such as the late Bogle and Ding Dong, have made appearances on these videos. The spread of dancehall popularity, particularly in Japan and Europe, attracts many international dancehall fans along with the hundreds of Jamaicans who attend weekly.
The song Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba has bwen popular in Jamaica on the local radio stations, JBC or RJR, and was sun along to by children. The words seem to refer to the current version of Jamaican Passa Passa. The lyrics to Makeba's song are few, but they're as follow, "Pata Pata is the name of the dance, we do down in Johannesburg way, and everybody starts to move as soon as Pata Pata starts to play. Every Friday and Saturday nights, its Pata Pata time, the dance keeps going all night long 'til the morning sun begins to shine". Lots of similarities between the two, or just coincidence that has traveled the Atlantic for all to enjoy
- Balford Henry: "The 'Passa Passa' phenomenon" The Jamaica Observer, November 21, 2003 (copy at the Internet Archive)
- J.A.Wallace: "PASSA PASSA is destroying our moral values" article from Grenadian Connection web site, March 11, 2006
- "Dancing Against the Beat" article from Los Angeles Times
- Photos of Passa Passa in Kingston
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