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Source: Paul Williams, Jamaica Gleaner
To commemorate the 175th anniversary of emancipation of African slaves in the British West Indies and the 47th anniversary of Jamaica’s political independence, a 10-member group of Maroon drummers and dancers from Charles Town, Portland, has been invited by the Jamaican High Commission in Canada to a cultural tour from tomorrow to August 10.
The first stop will be in Ottawa, Ontario, where the group will perform at the Centrepointe Council Chambers on July 31. Toronto, also in Ontario, is where they will be from August 1-4, at Harbourfront Centre on the first, and at JAMBANA, a Jamaican cultural festival, on the third. There will be workshops on August 2 and 4.
In Halifax, on August 5, a welcoming reception and a performance at the Maritime Museum are on the agenda. Another performance takes place on August 6 on the grounds of The Citadel and a workshop at the Maritime Museum.
Aboard the ‘amistad’
The group moves to Preston on the seventh for another performance and a workshop. At the port of Halifax on the eighth, there will be interaction with the crew of ‘Amistad’ in a ‘Tall Ships Festival’, and a social with the Jamaican community association. The final activity will be a workshop in Dartmouth on August 9.
The major performance, called ‘Dance Afana!’, tells the story of the deportation of the Trelawny Maroons of St James to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1796, which effectively ended the Second Maroon War against the British, led by Colonel Johnson.
‘Dance Afana!’, the ‘machete dance’, is the re-enactment of that story, thus the significance of the performance in Halifax. It was partially written by renowned jazz musician Seretse Small and is the first scripted work of the Trelawny Town Maroons’ story, according to Colonel Frank Lumsden.
Led by Lumsden, the ‘Storitella’, the group includes Rodney Rose, Marcia Douglas, Cashaine Richards, Kerry Bryan, Delano Douglas, Gregory Henry, Aundray White, Dwayne Christie and Dwight Christie. The trip was organised by High Commissioner Evadne Coye and prtially sponsored by Jamaica National Building Society.