May 21, 2014

1085 UNITED KINGDOM (Bermuda) - Gombeys

The Gombey is an iconic symbol of Bermuda, this folklife tradition reflecting the island’s blend of African, indigenous peoples, Caribbean and British cultures, incorporating them over time into a unique performance art full of colorful and intricate masquerade, dance and drumming. The word "Gombey" is related to the Bahamian "Goombay", a similar dance tradition. It also refers to a specific drum of African origin. Dancers are usually male, and perform in groups of 10-30 though in modern times female groups have emerged. The traditions have been passed down orally from one generation to the next within families and the Captains of each troupe determine the direction of the troupe and style that is taught.

Historically, the Gombeys were not viewed as a respectable art form by the island's ruling class and were banned by the slave masters. Gombey’s costumes cover their bodies from head to toe and are decorated with tassels, mirrors, bells, and other small items and symbols. The Captains can be identified by their long capes and often carry a whip to control the troupe or an unruly crowd. The Bowman (Lead Indian) carries a bow and arrow often going slightly ahead of the troupe to scout the way on long marches. The Warriors carry a tomahawk which they place on their shoulder and use during cockfights when they face off against each other to display their expression of the dance. Freedom dance, junkanoo, cockfights, biblical stories, slow dance, fast dance, snake dance, and rushing back are all elements to watch for when observing a Gombey performance.

About the stamps

The first stamp is part of the series Bays and Inlets, issued on May 1st, 2008:
• Postage paid Local - It's on the postcard 1223
• Postage paid Zone 1
• Postage paid Zone 2
• Postage paid Zone 3 - It's on the postcard 1085

The second stamp is part of the series Pioneers of Progress - Dockyard Apprentices, issued on September 23, 2010:
• Hull of boat under construction, plumb bob (0.35 BMD)
• Dockyard gates, gears (0.70 BMD)
• Worker and equipment, wooden rudder pattern (0.85 BMD) - it's on t he postcard
• Apprentices, tools (1.10 BMD)

Gombey - Wikipedia
Bermuda Gombeys Dance & Music -

sender: Denise 
sent from Southampton (Bermuda), on 28.04.2014

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