Fantastic’ Gombeys entertain tourists
Gombey troupes turned out with their trademark drums, whistles and regalia for their traditional Boxing Day parade around the island.
The performance by Place’s Gombeys at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club delivered a unique experience for guests.
Polly and Harry Martin, first-time visitors to Bermuda, watched the performance in the courtyard. Ms Martin said the show was “fantastic”.
She added: “We are staying in Warwick but we were told we should see them today.
“We were asking around to see where we could find them, so we came here.”
The annual showcase for the art form harks back to the African roots of many Bermudians and the era of enslavement.
Ms Martin said she was told the Boxing Day performances would show a special side of the island.
She said: “There was so much flavour from the Caribbean and from Africa. The costumes were unique and the use of different weapons in the performance was amazing.
Ms Martin added: “They had masks, so you cannot see who it is.
“I was also watching the work with the whip, which seemed to be to let people know what was coming next.”
A couple from Toronto, Canada, also first-time visitors and who gave their names as Cheryl and Michael, said they had loved the performance.
Michael said: “It was a short flight to get here. We are thinking Bermuda is too well kept a secret.”
He added Gombeys had a flavour of the Mardi Gras Indians performances in New Orleans.
His wife added: “The costumes and dancing were beautiful; we wish we knew more about it.”
The annual post-Christmas performances are a childhood treat and an occasion for nostalgia and pride for older people.
Cal Bean, a veteran marathon runner, was among the crowds who watched as the troupe made their way up St Monica’s Road in Pembroke.
Mr Bean said: “It’s very traditional in this area. Place’s Gombeys started up Government Gate.
“Once you hear them, you just can’t help but follow them.
“It’s hard to explain; it’s just a natural feeling. Once they come across your area, everybody comes out of the house.”
Mr Bean added: “The most exciting part is when two groups come together, they try to outdo each other.
“It can get a little heated. You can see who’s the better drummers and dancers.
“Another big part is when people throw money in the ring.”
A woman from the area said: “It’s definitely about national pride.
The woman added: “It brings everybody out of the house.”
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