Condolences On Passing Of Gombey Stalwarts

August 15, 2017

This evening [Aug 15] the Minister of Social Development and Sports, Zane DeSilva extended his condolences to the families of two well-known Gombey personalities who died this week – Lawrence [Stickers] Hendrickson, one of the founders of H&H Gombeys, and David [Shaggy] Wilson from the Warwick Gombeys troupe.

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of two of Bermuda’s prominent tradition bearers,” said Minister DeSilva.

“The Bermuda Gombey is Bermuda’s most iconic and enduring tradition of culture, resistance, strength, and freedom. Through the dedication of men like Lawrence and David, the Gombey tradition of dance, drumming, and unique regalia have been passed down through the generations. I am sure their absence will be greatly felt by many and my deepest sympathy goes out to their friends, family and respective Gombey troupes.

“As members from both Gombey troupes prepare to depart for Barbados tomorrow to represent Bermuda at CARIFESTA where they will perform on the world stage, I am sure it is with a heavy heart that they go; but I am also sure that they will carry with them the memories and teachings of Lawrence and David.”

“Mr. Hendrickson dedicated more than 50 years as a tradition bearer of the Bermuda Gombey”, a spokesperson said. “Mr. Hendrickson began his Gombey career as a dancer under the careful eye of Mr. Charles “Boxcart” Norford and he would later become a snare drummer for the Warner’s Gombey Troupe.

“In 1989, as a fife player, Mr. Hendrickson joined with Mr. Tyrone Nesbitt to create the H&N Gombeys which later became the H&H Gombeys. This troupe continues to serve as excellent ambassadors of Bermuda Gombey traditions.

“The Bermuda Gombey art form is widely believed to be an amalgamation of African, West Indian, Native American, and British traditions that emerged in the Caribbean and now bears a distinctly Bermudian flavour. Gombey is a Bantu word meaning “rhythm” or “drum”.

“There are similar related traditions in the Bahamas, St. Kitts, and other Caribbean islands, although the Bermuda Gombey was declared to be its own distinct Bermudian art form at a UNESCO Cultural and Conservation Conference in 1970.”

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