6 May 2015 | From Carol of Bermuda
The Gombey is an iconic symbol of Bermuda, this folklife tradition reflecting the island’s blend of African, indigenous peoples, Caribbean and British cultures, incorporating them over time into a unique performance art full of colourful and intricate masquerade, dance and drumming.
The annual Gombey Festival is held in Bermuda in the month of September to showcase the rich traditional folk art and expose the islanders and visitors with the skills that have been acquired by the local performers over the years. It provides a platform for local gombey troupes to perform and display their craft and is an exciting opportunity for locals and visitors alike to enjoy the dance, music and costume of the gombeys. The Gombey Dance in Bermuda roots back to Afro-Caribbean style of dancing on drum beats that were introduced into the island during the 1600s.
Dancers are usually male, and perform in groups of 10-30 though in modern times female groups have emerged. The traditions have been passed down orally from one generation to the next within families and the Captains of each troupe determine the direction of the troupe and style that is taught.