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Places to Visit Details

Cotonou, Benin

Kaleta is a person dressed in a clown and wearing a mask during a dance event of the same name, usually performed on holiday evenings by young children reminding everyone of the impending festivities.

A Kaleta group is made up of several actors each playing a very specific role. The success of the show depends on a good coordination between the said actors grouped into 3 categories:

- The kaleta. Wearing a suit made of straws, gloves, and torn fabrics, he wears a mask in his face and is the main dancer of the group.
- The chorists. These are the singers of the group. The leader of the Kaleta group very often also plays the role of choirmaster.
- The instrumentalists. They play the musical instruments namely tam-tam, gon, kpanou etc.

Some well-organized kaleta groups have their own musical instrument manufacturer or costume designer for making accoutrements. Moreover all these elements can easily be bought on the market. Although kaleta is now a custom in Benin, it must be said that neither the ceremony nor the mask is sacred.

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