The Bermuda Festival is set to feature Yesha Townsend’s “8 Minute Delay” on the virtual stage tomorrow [Sept 11].
A spokesperson said, “The Bermuda Festival is excited to feature Yesha Townsend’s 8 Minute Delay next on the virtual stage this Saturday, September 11th, at 8pm.
“Ms. Townsend was most recently recognized for her work on BBC Teach’s “Black British Stories” History KS2: Yesha Townsend- A Bermudian poet in London, and is hailed for her academic and creative contributions to Bermudian literature.
“In her festival interview, Ms. Townsend describes 8 Minute Delay as part of a multilayered, multi piece installation which will continue to unfold after the release of the show. She notes that the beginnings of 8 Minute Delay took the form of a collection of poems titled Poems About the Sun.”
Ms. Townsend said, “They started out as love poems, but morphed into love poems with a different focus.
“Love became a larger metaphor through tying in mythology.”
The spokesperson said, “Ms. Townsend spoke about the power of storytelling and how she wanted to explore the possibility of both elucidating and creating Bermudian mythologies in the performance.”
Ms. Townsend said, “The show became an opportunity to re-mythologize things. Every community has a solar deity. Why does the sun show up in so many different places?
“It takes eight minutes for the light of the sun to travel to the earth; 8 Minute Delay highlights this in between space and celebrates the endemicity of Bermudian stories as it weaves together folklore, personal anecdotes, and histories of the island.
“I write specifically for, and from, and to this place. In 8 Minute Delay, Sally Bassett is a central figure in several aspects of her performance.
“I’ve always written about Black heroes. I’m deeply obsessed and interested in anything that encompasses the cultural fabric of who we are as people.”
The spokesperson said, “Ms. Townsend spoke about how her growth as an artist has inspired a deeper fascination with articulating the nuances of Bermudian identities, through understanding Bermuda’s history.”
Ms. Townsend said, “I am interested in Sally Bassett as a person of depth, and I am interested in the myth about her. [In 8 Minute Delay], I wanted to explore the myth of us as a people.”
The spokesperson said, “Ms. Townsend emphasizes the already existent catalogue of Bermudian mythologies and highlights Sally Bassett, using and exploring language to make her story larger and deeper.”
Ms. Townsend said, “If we wanted to create a Bermudian myth about the sun, we have her! When the sun is its brightest, we have language for that.”
The spokesperson said, “In 8 Minute Delay, Ms. Townsend grapples with the theme of “freedom” and its connection to historical and contemporary accounts of black resistance in Bermuda. “Our freedom is constant and exists in perpetuity”, she explains. In her festival interview, she spoke about the power of storytelling in its ability to highlight Bermuda’s ancestral history.”
Ms. Townsend said, “There’s beautiful power in understanding who we are and who we came to be.”
The spokesperson said, “In her festival interview, Ms. Townsend recalls a quote from James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time which encapsulates her motivation for preserving, highlighting, and creating Bermudian stories.”
Ms. Townsend said, “Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go”.
The spokesperson said, “Ms. Townsend went on to say that she thinks of Sally Bassett when she calls upon this quote.”
Ms. Townsend said, “When you think about the sun, you think about the fact that we get our energy from the sun. I think of Sally Bassett like that. We have these freedoms and we often don’t think about them. I’m deeply interested in the histories of Bermuda to craft a larger Bermudian narrative to better understand who we are culturally.”
The spokesperson said, “In her festival interview, Ms. Townsend also spoke about putting together the show as a collaborative effort.”
Ms. Townsend said, “Thought in its naissance is beautiful and fumbling and stumbled. With collaboration, you have people who can help you mold a piece after it has artistic potential. I don’t think we exist in a silo.”
The spokesperson said, “She highlights several Bermudian creatives for helping her in the actualization of the show. Bermudian creatives and cultural leaders like Kase, Kristin White, Nicole Golden, Marq Rodriguez, Derek G, Ajala Omodele, Tuff Swami, Haile Marya, Mama Iyale Olamide among several others can be credited for contributing to the tapestry of her performance that took place live, earlier last month.
“Ms. Townsend is excited at the prospect of reaching a larger audience through the virtual offering of the show and holds 8 Minute Delay as a piece of a much larger project. You can watch her show on the Festival website or on YouTube at 8pm tomorrow.”