Jonkonnu Nuh Dead

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Title: Jonkonnu Nuh Dead
Director: Ryan Eccleston
Year: 2022
Country: Jamaica
Runtime: 6′
Language: (Jamaican) English
Subtitles: English



Jonkonnu Nuh Dead is a short documentary by Ryan Eccleston on a lesser-known aspect of Jamaica’s cultural heritage: Jonkonnu. John Canoe, also known as January Conny, was the European name given to an Akan warrior from Axim, Ghana. He was a chief of the Ahanta people in the early eighteenth century, who established a stronghold in the defunct Fort Fredericksburg, Ghana, and fought multiple wars with European traders for twenty years. It fell finally in 1725, though Canoe’s fate is unknown. Jonkonnu (John Canoe) Festival was created in the Caribbean by those Akans who supported John Canoe in Fredericksburg and had subsequently been enslaved when it fell. The festival itself included motifs from battles typical of Akan fashion. Set during Christmas time, the Jamaican celebrations of Jonkonnu took the form of masked dancing, acting, processions. The masquerade-like tradition was widely indulged by the enslaved Africans as part of their holiday celebration. The bands became very large and elaborate, setting the mark as a Christmas carnival. Jonkonnu Nuh Dead is a dream-like exploration into the world of Carlton Walters. What drew him into the world of traditional masquerade, one of the oldest dance forms in Jamaica, and one that over the decades has been marginalised?

Yard Vibes
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