PE-J iLDiJ AT C.JIFEST A
The folk arts, music, sculpture, drama, literature, song and
dance coming to C'J IFESTA from Beoiuria is the offspring of a progenitor
tremendously enriched by the rich cultural genes of the English adven-
tures, Irish prisoners, Portu.-ueso indentured labourers, Indians
captured in the North American wars and African slaves.
This territory with its 50,000 peoples, 300 coral Islands and
its thousand undoer-round caves is the oldest English colony in the
region. In 1959 the people celebrated 350 years under British rule.
As such Enlish images crowd the cultural horizon.
For as fr-r as memory would permit 3ermuirL was called "Devil
Island". Discovered in 1503 by Juan de Bermudez the group of Islands,
looking like exotic blossoms evolved from pre-historic times, soon be-
came infested with wild hos that the discoverer had left there.
A hundred years passes and no one owned the Islands but the
pigs because of the belief of the mariners that the place was haunted
by evil spirits. The 300 ships which sank on the reefs around Bermuda
were said to be lured to their destruction by supernatural beings.
Much treasure was found recently in one of these sunken ships,
among them was a golden cross studded with emeralds and believed to
be stolen from an Amerindian temple by the Spaniards.
The first set of people to zfgend nearly a year on one of the
Islands were a set of English men and women who were going to Virginia.
Their ship was one of aiue which got lost in a violent hurricane and
ended up on Bermuda.
During the time they spent on the Island they ate wild berries,
wild pigs and giant turtles that can feed a hundred men and it was
during their stay that the first Bermudian was born.
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Nearly all of the people who eventually went to live on the
Islands were forced to do so.
Among the first to be enslaved on the Islands were the North
American Indians captured in wars, then came the African slaves from
other West Indian Islands and rebellious Irishmen and later indentured
Unlike the other Caribbean lands the slaves and indentured
peoples did not work in the sugar plantations but rather spend their
time diving for pearls, harpooning whales or working on the pirate
ships of their masters. There were also many rebellions among the
slaves mainly because their masters who plundered chips in Privateers
were seldom on shore. It is said that the slaves rebelled in order
that they could carry off the masters wives.
Bermudicn.r, or "Onions" as they are called to this day, like
to talk about the old pirate days aW much of their fol: has preserved
the rich tales of this era. 7cze-kiah was said to have been the most
daring of the Bersmrlr pirates. His house remains to this day. But
the folk believe that the house is hLnantcd. They say in the clear
silent moonlight ni ;ht one can still vividly hear him sounding his
bloody pirate cries and moving to and fro in and around the house
with his pirate "Ekull and Cross Bone" hat and sword. The Bermudians
sl caking their Portu-ruese and English love much barbequos, steel-
band and much pop music and their artists prefer abstract themes;
their writers are a new breed in the Caribberri scene ... no doubt
their creative roople will add a new touch to CARIFESTA come August 25.
- OLIVER HUNTER