This feature length film captures and documents the ongoing history of the Bermuda Gombeys, one of Bermuda’s oldest Folklife traditions. Running 88 minutes in total it was designed to supplement Bermuda’s education system; its narrative chapters split into detailed sections covering every aspect of the Gombey culture, instruments, dance, costumes, training, history and traditions.
Synopsis: Historically, the Gombeys were not viewed as a respectable art form by the island’s ruling class. Slaves were allowed to dance only once a year and did so in masks in order to protest, without fear of retribution, the injustices done them by their slave masters. Incorporating elements of African, Native American, Caribbean and British cultures the Gombeys have evolved into the colorful, uniquely Bermudian art form beloved by locals and tourists alike. From archival texts and insights of our foremost historians to the memories of the oldest living Gombey Masters, from the hearts and minds of today’s Captains to the youngest Gombeys carrying the tradition into the future; Behind the Mask explores the past, the present and the future of this proud and resilient heritage, and is a celebration of all these exceptional Bermudian tradition-bearers.
Directed and Produced by Adrian Kawaley-Lathan.
Trailer edited by Director of Photography Kalilah Robinson.
Trailer for documentary film “Behind the Mask: Bermuda Gombeys Past, Present and Future” (2008)