Communications and Projects Officer Richard Aspin explains why the African Music Festival was added to St. Patrick’s Week festivities, for the first time in 2013:
“The whole point of having an African music festival as part of St. Patrick’s week is that, in the 1700s, the slaves, the African slaves, in Montserrat, rebelled on the day of St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, 1768, I think it was. They had a big slave rebellion, and all the slaves were hanged for rebelling against the Irish, and it was the Irish people on island who had plantations. So all these slaves worked for the Irish. So they rebelled! During a big party because of St. Patrick’s Day. So because of that, we remember St. Patrick’s Day not because of the Irish, but because of the slave rebellion, which eventually led to the freedom of the slaves.”
Here is a video of Irish dancing and West African drumming/dancing at the 2013 festival, featuring workshop instructors Kate and Dominique (with Jalikunda). We can’t wait for more and even better performances bringing together Irish and West African traditions in 2014!
If video does not play, please click here: Montserrat Irish African Dance.mov