< about="/traditions/verbal-arts" content="Verbal Arts" /> City Lore | NY Living Traditions

City Lore

Founded in 1986, City Lore’s mission is to foster New York City – and America’s – living cultural heritage through education and public programs.  We document, present, and advocate for New York City’s grassroots cultures to ensure their living legacy in stories and histories, places and traditions.  We work in four cultural domains:  urban folklore and history; preservation; arts  education; and grassroots poetry traditions. In each of these realms, we see ourselves as furthering cultural equity and modeling a better world with projects as dynamic and diverse as New York City itself.

Recent Digital Heritage Items

Amidst COVID-19, many arts practices, including performances, workshops, lessons, and discussions, have moved online. This is a resource for artists and consultants who wish to livestream practices. It also calls to attention the process of tradition and traditional arts as practices move from in-person to digital spaces.  

Community: 
City Lore
Traditions: 

Material Culture

The concert featured artists from Mexico, Colombia, and Puerto Rico singing décima verses in the manner of those countries. Décima is a verse form of ten lines consisting of eight syllables each. It originated in Spain in the 1500s but has spread throughout Latin America.

Community: 
City Lore
Traditions: 

Music

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File music.svg

Verbal Arts

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Currently, an "Extempo King" is crowned each year as part of the carnival in Trinidad. Three-time Extempo King Black Sage (Phillip Murray) has performed in New York a number of times along with other calypso masters including Mighty Gypsy (Winston Peters). In this scene, filmed at the Tropical Paradise, a Trinidadian restaurant in Brooklyn, Black Sage duels against a relative newcomer to the scene, Fat Man George. These picong performances preserve an important part of Afro-Caribbean culture and heritage.

Community: 
City Lore
Traditions: 

Music

Icon: 
File music.svg

Verbal Arts

Icon: 
File story.svg