Videos: Gombeys Pay Tribute To Allan Warner

October 29, 2016

Multiple Gombey troupes came together this evening [Oct 29] to pay tribute to Allan Warner, a Gombey veteran who passed away earlier this week, with the Gombeys making their way around the island to pay their respects to an iconic figure in the Gombey community.

Gombey troupes October 29 2016

Mr Warner had a long history with the Gombeys, having started dancing with them in 1959 at the age of three. He crafted his first Gombey costume at age 9, began drumming for Warner Gombeys at age 16, and his passion for Gombey culture led to him becoming Captain of Warner’s Gombeys.

Under his leadership, they travelled extensively representing Bermuda, including trips to St. Kitts, Bahamas, Germany, Switzerland, New York, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington D. C, and also performed locally in neighbourhoods, businesses, and hotels across the island.

In 1995, Mr Warner was the recipient of the Queen’s Certificate of Honour, for “keeping the Gombey tradition alive” – becoming the first Gombey Captain to receive this honour. He was honoured by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs in 2015 during the annual Gombey Festival.

Mr Warner was steadfast in his devotion to preserving Bermuda Gombey culture and history, apparent in an interview for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival; during which he discussed the spirit of the Gombeys saying. “I feel that the spirit is what is most important – more important than the headdress, more important than the costume, more important than the drummers.

“The spirit of the Gombey, is the core of one’s soul. Acknowledging that claim is the pride that you achieve, working towards elevating that.

During that interview, he reflected on how Gombey culture has changed over time; he urged that the art form must remain loyal to the traditional roots, sharing the history and craft with the younger generations.

“It’s the same story, no matter how much we want to make our costume evolve… And every costume in my group depicts some African in its greatness. The job of the young gentleman that’s wearing it, is to find out what that African’s life was about, from the time he starts till the time he decides to stop.

“Because Gombeys don’t stop,” Mr Warner said. “They just step aside and let somebody else come in.”

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Comments (2)

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  1. Onion Juice says:

    Long Live one of de only traditions of African-Bermudian Culture.

  2. Takbir Karriem Sharrieff says:

    Allah-u-Akbar,,,,,African Pride ,May the Gombeys live forever.May the Gombey spirit last forever,It is at the root of our freedom from slavery.Emancipation first starts in the spirit ,wanting to be free.Free your mind ,and emancipate your soul.Thank you Mr.Warner and all Gombeys,and its ongoing tradition.Peace.