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Bermuda Connections

Approaching Bermuda by air or sea, one notices first that the isles are opulently landscaped and impeccably adorned with lush gardens and pastel architecture. For its 300,000 yearly visitors and 60,000 islanders alike it is a land that is small in area but rich in culture. Bermuda is at once a geographic place and cultural space - a creation of human enterprise, artistry, and effort.

Bermuda's local culture grew out of the island's strategic location. From its very early settlement this tiny archipelago was a central navigational landmark between the British lsles, mainland America, the Caribbean, and later the Azores. Patterns of travel and exchange have continued to rejuvenate the cultural fabric of the island colony. These patterns have been a source of material goods, population, and culture. People, ideas, and goods, along with music, foods, and other forms of culture, flow out and back from Bermuda with the regularity of the ocean tides. Bermudian folklife is the creative, pragmatic, and unique fusion of these cosmopolitan trends - a fusion that was vividly on display to visitors at the 2001 Festival.

Bermudians value the resourcefulness with which they turn circumstances to their own use. In keeping with their perception of constant risk yet relative good fortune, they are realists, opportunists, and yet careful to acknowledge divine providence (there are more local religious establishments per person than most places in the world). They endeavor to use every resource; to watch what and who enters and leaves the island; to foster, nurture, and manage connections between family and community. They maintain clear borders between insiders and outsiders. These values permeate Bermudian experience. Bermudian culture shapes the island, and the island shape Bermudian culture. Festival visitors could share in this Bermudian experience, if only for a few hours, as it was transported to the National Mall for two weeks during the Festival.

Diana Baird N'Diaye was Curator, with Jackie Aubrey as Program Coordinator for Bermuda, and Yulette George as Program Coordinator for the U.S. The Bermuda Coordinating Committee included: Heather Whalen, Cultural Affairs Officer; Geneva Humdy-Woodley, Development and Sponsorship Relations; Linda Smith, Public Relations.

An Advisory Roundtable included: Charlotte Andrews, Johnny Barnes, R. Bruce Barritt, Jolene Bean, Geoff Bell, Joanne Brangman, Gary Burgess, Alan Burland, The Hon. Dale Butler, J.P., M.P., Karen Cabral, Colin Campbell, George Cook, Eddy DeMello, Connie Dey, Caroldey Douglas, Llewellyn Emery, Richard Fell, Glenn Fubler, Eloise Furbert, LaVerne Furbert, Sylvie Gervais, Joe Gibbons, Jennifer Gray, Joyce D. Hall, Edward Harris, Randolph Hayward, Carol Hill, Eva Hodgson, Sharon Jacobs, Elizabeth Kawaley, Ed Kelly, Stanley Kennedy, Fanon Khaldun, Ronald Lightbourne, Elsie Martin, Clarence Maxwell, Florenz Webbe Maxwell, Conchita Ming, Frederick Ming, Marshall Minors, Beverley Morfitt, Stanley Oliver, Amanda Outerbridge, Elise Outerbridge, Graeme Outerbridge, John Payne, Shirley Pearman, Ira Phillip, M.B.E., J.P., Liz Pimental, Robert Pires, Patricia Pogson, Grace Rawlins, Anthony Richardson, Veronica Ross, Dennis Sherwin, Llewellyn Simmons, Senator Calvin Smith, James Smith, Mary Talbot, Ruth Thomas, Shangri-La Durham Thompson, James Tucker, Yvona Vujacic, Jack Ward, Mary Winchell, and James Zuill.

The program was produced in partnership with the Bermuda Government Departments of Community and Cultural Affairs within the Ministry of the Environment, Development & Opportunity and The Bermuda Connections Smithsonian Folk life Festival Charitable Trust. The Leadership Committee was chaired by The Honourable Terry E. Lister, J.P., M.P. Major contributors included the Bank of Bermuda Foundation, the Bermuda Hotel Association, BELCO, Cable a Wireless, Tyco International Ltd., ACE Limited, The Argus Group, and Centre Solutions. Major in-kind support was provided by the Bermuda Container Line, the Bermuda Hotel Association, Appleby, Spurling a Kempe, Bermuda Export Sea Transfer, Stevedoring Services, XL Capital Ltd., and Deloitte & Touche.

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