Music of The Bahamas

Music of The Bahamas

Poster Art donated by Trevaughn Neely

Music of The Bahamas is an uplifting and educational examination of the development of indigenous Bahamian music from slavery up to the mid-twentieth century. It was originally conceived and written by Nicolette Bethel and Philip A. Burrows for presentation at the 1991 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, adapted from E. Clement Bethel’s M.A. thesis on the place of music in Bahamian life and culture. Bethel, the first Director of Cultural Affairs for the Government of The Bahamas, established the National School of Dance, introduced the learning of local dances and songs to Bahamian schools, restructured the National Arts Festival so that it emphasized Bahamian culture, and legitimized Junkanoo in the eyes of the public.  He was responsible for establishing cultural links between The Bahamas and the rest of the region. In 1968 he took a group of Bahamian artists and performers to the Cultural Olympics in Mexico City, and in 1976, 1979 and 1981 was instrumental in getting Bahamian contingents to CARIFESTA.
Bethel was one of the most influential people in the development of Bahamian culture. The early years of nation-building featured weekly Folklore Shows under his direction, which ran every summer to educate Bahamians about their heritage. He arranged many traditional Bahamian songs for these performances, and his most memorable composition was the score for The Legend of Sammie Swain, which began life as a folk ballet in 1968, and which was last performed as a folk opera before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 1985. In 1976, he embarked on a Master’s degree in Ethnomusicology, and the resulting thesis, Music in the Bahamas: its Roots, Development and Personality, is the basis of this production.
Directed by Philip A. Burrows
Musical Director: Adrian Archer
Performance Dates:
Monday, October 5, 2009 @8:00p.m. – The Dundas Theatre
Tuesday, October 6, 2009 @8:00p.m. – The Dundas Theatre
Wednesday, October 7, 2009 @7:00p.m. – The Humidor*
Thursday, October 8, 2009 @8:00p.m. – The Humidor
Friday, October 9, 2009 @8:00p.m. – The Marley Resort
Saturday, October 10, 2009 @2:00p.m. – The Dundas Theatre
Monday, October 12, 2009 @3:00p.m. – The Dundas Theatre

*Special Fundraiser Performance

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