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Gombeys delight community on Boxing Day

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Bermuda's Gombey troupes took to the streets for their traditional Boxing Day celebrations.

Today, the art form is instantly recognisable for its dance, rhythmic drumming, theatre and symbolically colourful dress — but those who took part were keen to educate about the true meaning of their culture, which harks back to the era of slavery.

“A lot of people want to know more about it, and we pass the information about our tradition and culture onto them,” said Wayne Raynor, who performed on Boxing Day with the H&H Gombeys group, which was founded by his grandfather, Lawrence “Stickers” Hendrickson.

“To me, this always meant family and tradition. I take it seriously and try to pass it on, as it was passed on to me.

“That's not just for tourists, but for locals as well. A lot of locals don't know what Gombey means. I feel like an ambassador for Bermuda,” added Mr Raynor, who played the bass drum during the parade.

H&H Gombeys set out at lunchtime on Boxing Day from the Glebe Road home of Mr Hendrickson, who performed for the Queen in 1994 and who has travelled the world with his troupe.

He told The Royal Gazette he felt proud that his four grandsons were all continuing the tradition, adding: “It makes me feel great.”

Mr Hendrickson's wife, Carolyn, whom he met during a Gombey performance in the 1950s, said: “I'm happy when they come out. It's a nice feeling and I get choked up.”

His grandson, Zaniko Hendrickson, who has been participating in the parades since the age of 2, added: “This means a lot. We're keeping the tradition alive, and it brings everybody together and shows our history. Once people hear that music, it takes over.”

Feeling the beat: Warwick Gombey Troupe make their way through West Avenue, Southampton, during their traditional Boxing Day extravaganza (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Embracing tradition: Warwick Gombey Troupe's Ari Outerbridge 11, left, and Kcaneil Martin, 12 (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Joining the fun: West Avenue resident Mary Burchall with the Warwick Gombey Troupe (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published December 26, 2015 at 6:03 pm (Updated December 27, 2015 at 11:59 pm)

Gombeys delight community on Boxing Day

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