August 22-25, 2013: YMI 120th Anniversary Celebration
In lieu of a Goombay festival normally held in August, celebrate YMI Cultural Center's 120th birthday with a Founders Celebration at 39 South Market Street in downtown Asheville.
Goombay! Returns in 2014
Enjoy sights, sounds and tastes of the African-Caribbean at Goombay!, a free weekend festival in August in downtown Asheville. Held on Market and Eagle Streets, Goombay! brings a variety of entertainment including dancing and the beating of West African drums ringing with the harmonic live music featuring gospel, reggae, funk and soul. Enjoy an authentic Caribbean meal and see vendors line the streets with everything from ice cream to third world crafts.
Goombay! kicks off Friday night with a community Block Party to celebrate the history and beauty of African American heritage, followed by a Saturday morning parade through Downtown Asheville commencing the opening of the 31st annual Goombay! festival. Music will range from Grammy award-winning Rebirth Brass band to the soulful sounds Ruby Mayfield. The Orange Peel will host a ticketed event featuring the two-time Grammy award-winning band Arrested Development as a fundraiser for the YMI Cultural Center. Other festivities include workshops on drumming, dance, spoken word, kalimba, puppetry, and more. The YMI Cultural Center Gallery will house a collection of artworks by George Clinton of the Parliament Funkadelic.
Goombay! is as a cultural expression of a people, erduring slavery days in Bermuda. Both music and rhythm were brought form Africa and West Indies. The original dancers used a skin-covered drum that was called "Gombey" meaning rhythm. In the Bahamas the word is "Goombay" and in Jamaica, the dance is known as "Gumbay". The Goombay dancers wear colorful costumes and high headdresses topped with feathers. Often times, grotesque masks help to enhance the free and exotic movements.
What is YMI Cultural Center?
The YMI Cultural Center is located on the corner of Eagle and Market Streets in downtown Asheville. The YMI Cultural Center is an enduring asset in the City of Asheville. Housed in a local landmark building which is on the National Register of Historic Places, the YMICC runs programs in cultural arts, community education and economic development. Commissioned by George Vanderbilt in 1892, this beautiful, multi-level 18,000 square foot, Tudor-style structure was built by and for the several hundred Negro craftsmen who helped construct the Biltmore House. It became known as the Young Men's Institute or YMI.