If whole countries could make resolutions, let’s resolve to put down that tired trope “Bermuda has no culture.” However you define it, “culture” attempts to pin-down the patterns that happen when people group together. No one is surprised when groups of dancers burst out into dance, or musicians suddenly jam, or singers harmonize. It is simply something that happens, by virtue of our shared sense of self, our partial unity. Culture is an expressive dance, a series of lithe movements around, with, and aware of each other. It exists wherever groups of people interact over time, and Bermuda is no different.
To say that Bermuda has no culture presents a problem: Are we an uninhabited island? Are we all isolationists? Are we a community chockfull of laborers and consumers but no creators? No – daily in Bermuda, designers, creators, artists, activists, and entrepreneurs go about the business of creating.
I was taught to always ask, “Whose interests are being served by this system or idea?” The notion that Bermuda is without culture is a vision that seems to come straight from the Cortes’, and Columbus’, and Coca-Cola’s of this world: a convenient paradigm for colonialists, past and present, who have a stake in a population’s dependence on imported ideas, objects, and lifestyles.
In this issue, we review Gumbase, an incredible innovation in music that fuses our favorite gombey drums with new millennium electronic sounds. We’re also pleased to present our photo-essay, “Established 1612.” The essay explores issues of trend, fashion, appropriation, and cultural identity in local culture. Guest contributor Shane Q. covers Flying Lotus, the eclectic sonic shaman out of the US whose genre-bending music gives us hope for our future soundscape. We may never turn back on the radio, but we’ll never stop listening for music.
In closing, if culture is a dance, as artists, we are the dancers with the most agile feet. It is the art that we make when we’re together – let’s make something that moves.