The talk will be about the creation of my latest suite entitled CINQUE, which celebrates the roots of the Afro diaspora in the Caribbean. The music for this album was created to honor the story and bravery of Joseph CINQUE, who became a symbol of the fight for freedom, not only in the U.S. but in the Caribbean. The program in this talk will include sharing research videos from my own personal archive, audio files, and live performance of some of the pieces composed for this suite.
Story of Cinque
Joseph Cinque, formerly known as Sengbe Pieh, a West African man of the Mende people, was born in 1814 as a free man in the country of Sierra Leone. At age 25, Cinque was illegally captured and forced to board a slave ship bound to Havana, Cuba. In June 1839, Cinque was sold in Havana along with 53 other African slaves and shipped to Puerto Principe, Cuba. Three days later in the midst of a storm, Cinque used sugar-cane knives found in the hold of the ship, and with the other slaves’ help, carried out a mutiny on the Cuban schooner, La Amistad. Cinque ordered the Cubans to sail La Amistad east back to Africa. After nearly two horrific months at sea during a period known as the “black schooner,” where more than a dozen Africans perished, the ship was spotted on August 26, 1839, by the American vessel USS Washington off the coast of New York, and escorted to New London, Connecticut. On March 9, 1841, the Supreme Court, with only one dissent, ruled that the Africans had been illegally enslaved and had thus exercised a natural right to fight for their freedom. In November of that same year, with the financial assistance of their abolitionist allies, the emancipated Africans departed America aboard the Gentleman on a voyage back to West Africa.
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