Montserrat has many local acts that perform for the St. Patrick’s Festival’s “Rhythm Night,” including the Steel Drum Ensemble, masquerade dancers in the streets, Rude Boys String Band (pictured here), and Jalikunda from West Africa.
During the African Music Festival, Jalikunda gave a workshop to children learning music at a school in Salem. The young musicians were led by a young woman named Becky Chalmers, who is in Montserrat on a fellowship this year from Sir George Martin (famous for being the Beatles’ manager and who is a Montserrat resident) through the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. Her job is to boost interest and talent in music for Montserrat children. The fellowship is awarded to a new person every year, and her term was extended for another year so Blended Rhythms will be teaming up with her and her efforts!
Here is some footage from the West African dance and drumming workshops that Jalikunda offered to kids in Montserrat last March. The kids loved it, especially once they got out of their seats to dance!
If the video does not play, please click here: Kids Dancing Workshop.mov
Martin Healy and his band members from Dublin, Clare, and other parts of Ireland have been performing at Montserrat’s St. Patrick’s Festival for the past 7 years. Continue reading
Kate jumped up on stage to dance a hornpipe with the Martin Healy Band from Dublin during the St. Patrick’s Day Festival 2013 in Salem!
If video does not play, please click here: Irish Dancing.mov
Dominique rocked out his djembe solo at Jalikunda’s African Music Festival 2013 performance in Salem!
If video does not play, please click here: Djembe Solo.mov
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