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Kumina King

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1Kumina King  Empty Kumina King on Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:47 am


In 1971 Nettleford and the NDTC premiered Kumina, a piece based on the Afro-cult found largely in St Thomas. The rites are held for a variety of occassions — mourning, tombing, healing, thanksgiving and even when help is needed to win a court case or for winning a lover. Nettleford stood tall in this piece for decades lighting a stage with his presence. Poet Malachi Smith pays tribute to the Kumina King.

Kumina King  Ave-ve10
Kumina King

On a blue moon stage

Garvey, Nanny, Miss Lou in front row

Marley, Trevor and the ancestors

Enjoy your majesty's grand entrance

Silence, silence

Tear drop dead silence

A kete drum speaks an African dialect

You answer in Jamaican steps

Movement to the right

Kumina King  Kumina10

Movement to the left

But always center stage

Your brilliant blackness, white hair

Illuminating Caribbean space

For all to see

The Kumina King dancing

And a one and a two and a three

And a four and turn

And a one and a two and a three

And a four and spin, spin

Turn, turn

Feet firm in tradition leaping

Through and above theatre sky

To sky god's heaven

For he too is watching

As a whole nation joins in

Discovering the beauty of culture

Beaten and woven from African traditions

Out of many one

Dancing, dancing, dancing

Movement from dance to intellect

Speaking in tongues

Lecturing the world

Dancing across space

Into I-story

Telling my story

Telling our stories

Morant Bay, Sam Sharpe rebellion

Of free peoples and indentured servants

Of betrayal and forgiveness

Of hell fire and finding the cross

Of dying and surviving

Of damnation and salvation

Of peoples breaking apart and uniting

Singing songs of redemption

Kumina King

Making us proud

From dance to tongue

Lifting us higher

With every movement

Defying time and space

Dancing in our face

Dancing in our space

Silence, silence

Tear drop dead silence

The kete drum speaks

Your name

Kumina king.

— Malachi Smith

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