Dee Jumbie Dance: A Resurrection

A lost dance. A lost show. A story.

Dee Jumbie Dance: A Resurrection is based on Jamal Gerald’s work and research for JUMBIE, a performance aiming to resurrect the Jumbie dance of the Caribbean island of Montserrat.

A variant of the folk ritual traditions found throughout the Caribbean, the trance-like Jumbie dance is unique because of its syncretism of Kongo and Irish influences and remains greatly overlooked in literature.

Part ritual, part party, part sex dungeon – and fully WTF – JUMBIE was never presented to an audience, but it will now remain archived through this playful and naughty artist book. Including Jumbie stories, essays, reflections, photography and artistic responses, Dee Jumbie Dance: A Resurrection highlights the artist’s research and creative process, and reflects on queerness, BDSM, ancestry and healing.

Contributors: Lee Affen, Mele Broomes, Rosie Elnile, Khadijah Ibrahiim, Ajamu X

Edited by Kadish Morris
Design & Illustrations by Olivia Williams (Liv Will Design)
Cover Design & Typesetting by Katie McLean
Cover Images by The Other Richard

Produced by Dudaan. Supported by Arts Council England, the Jerwood New Work Fund, The Writing Squad and Theatre in the Mill.

Published by Live Art Development Agency.

Dee Jumbie Dance: A Resurrection was launched at LADA on Friday 22 September.

‘The Jumbie dance, in a nutshell, was a dance for the ancestors. A way for the living to ask for ancestral guidance through divination, curing illness, solving personal problems and redress of social injustice. The ceremonies also included food and music and would happen on occasions like weddings, funerals, after a child’s birth and, most importantly, when someone needed healing.’

– From Jamal Gerald’s introduction for Dee Jumbie Dance: A Resurrection

About Jamal Gerald

Jamal Gerald is an artist and writer based in Leeds. His work is conversational, unapologetic and provocative with a social message. Jamal’s practice is currently exploring African diaspora religions through a queer and pop culture viewpoint. He makes work that he wants to see, intending to take up space as a Black queer person. He is the Artistic Director of Dudaan (du-darn), a Black queer enterprise set up in November 2021. Dudaan produces Jamal’s work and creates opportunities, safe spaces and support systems for Black queer artists in the North. Jamal has undertaken research in Montserrat and Trinidad and Tobago through support from Arts Council England. In 2023, he did an artist residency with RISCO festival in São Paulo, Brazil.

Jamal Gerald, who is a Black man with shoulder length dreadlocks, is in a blue-lit room with his eyes closed whilst dancing. A purple light is lighting up his naked body. Jamal Gerald. Image by The Other Richard

Review of Dee Jumbie Dance by Malik Nashad Sharpe

‘Jamal Gerald’s Dee Jumbie Dance will simultaneously keep your head-turning and your eyes glued to its vivid pages. For all of its complexity, its boldness, its unbridled commitment and performativity, Dee Jumbie Dance is deeply successful at marrying the personal with the socio-cultural. It feels apparent that Gerald sits comfortably within his methodology of storytelling and performance-making, and despite the deeply personal and sometimes conflictual tales of his unsuccessful attempt to bring the Jumbie dance from Montserrat to a contemporary British context, his practice in making the text do its dancing, in making the written word leap off of the page and into the realm of ritual feels like the strongest testament to the contrary. He successfully uses text and tale to resurrect the Jumbie dance. And it is very exciting.

As someone from another lesser-known Caribbean island, I admire the succinctness of his vision to tell untold stories about Montserrat’s history, and his personal life. To be Caribbean is to sometimes witness your own culture adhere to its celebratory face, its light-heartedness, and its conviviality, whilst masking its pain, silence, and darkness. The unruliness of Gerald’s proposition in Dee Jumbie Dance is astute and unprecedented. We need people like him to tell these undertold perspectives – and at its most admirable, Gerald’s pursuit of freedom, artistic, personal, and cultural, is what truly shines about this text.’

– Malik Nashad Sharpe, award-winning choreographer and movement director and currently Black Scholars Residency artist at LADA

Banner image credit:

Jamal Gerald. Image by The Other Richard

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