Tambufest 2023!

We invite you to join us for Tambufest 2023! This fundraiser allows you to help make the event possible and sustainable.

Date: Saturday July 29, 2023
Venue: Covers Bar and Grill
Location: Long Bay, Portland, Jamaica!

This year's Tambufest will feature the St. Thomas Kumina Collective, Charlestown Maroon Group, Kingston Drummers, Port Maria Jonkanoo Group, Manchioneal Cultural Group (Bruckins) and Islington Cultural Group (Dinki Mini). As usual, we will also be discussing issues of importance to the community, including the difficulties local farmers are having with the Cannabis Licensing Authority, the struggles for public access to beaches, and the importance of getting screened for prostate cancer.

Tambufest, organized by Junior "Gabu" Wedderburn, Nicholas "Rocky" Allen, and Deborah Thomas, is a celebration of one of Jamaica's most vibrant and dynamic traditions - Kumina. Kumina was developed by members of the self-described Bongo Nation in eastern Jamaica, the area that has led the resistance to colonialism, that birthed the Morant Bay Rebellion and inspired the founding father of the movement of Rastafari, Leonard Howell. Though geographically dispersed, particularly across the parish of St. Thomas, members of the Bongo Nation looked to the Congo-Angola and Guinea Coast regions of Africa as the home of their oldest ancestors. They found in the tradition of Kumina a unifying cultural heritage, one that interweaves musical, linguistic, movement, and spiritual practices that connect them to the ancestors.

Kumina is, therefore, an embodied archive of our history. It is also one of the foundations of dancehall and reggae music. During Tambufest, we honor the elders who have served the tradition over their lifetimes. There will be drumming and singing (and dancing!) by the St. Thomas Kumina Collective, a group that brings together representatives of all the St. Thomas Kumina groups. Tambufest seeks to create dialogical spaces within Jamaica and beyond within which communities might discuss the forms of renewal and respect they would like to see moving forward.

"The Tambufest is an invaluable celebration of timeless cultures," one attendee stated about Tambufest 2022. "What a sight to behold elders, youth, and even young children from different communities across Jamaica engaging with passion in music and dance! The festival's intergenerationality is particularly poignant, strengthening communal ties through nurturing and propagating the magic of Kumina."

Tambufest is part of a broader project, “Bush Music,” which is ultimately meant to amplify awareness of traditional musical practices associated with Afro-Jamaican rituals – such as Kumina, Nyabinghi, and Coromantee – through digital archiving and collaboration with ritual practitioners. We feel that by embracing that which has been denigrated – “bush” music – we re-orient humanistic practice in a way those excluded from the grounds of modernity become the center of the elaboration of the future.

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  • Dale Geohagan
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Junior Wedderburn
Brooklyn, NY

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