The amazing story of the traditional songs and dances, passed down over hundreds of years, that have tied a small Caribbean ethnic group to a remote African tribe


Chief Mabadu Pokawa can hardly believe it. His voice wavering somewhere between astonishment and hope, he asks whether I recorded the songs and dances he is watching on the screen of my laptop in his tiny, isolated chiefdom in Sierra Leone.


There’s a reason for his disbelief. When the people onscreen aren’t singing in a language they have otherwise long ago forgotten, they speak the rapid, pared Spanish of Cuba. Clearly they are not from Pokawa’s chiefdom, where few speak the English of the educated and no one speaks Spanish.