Chewstick's Neo-Griot Lounge Bermuda
Chewstick Neo-Griot Lounge, established in 2002, is Bermuda's one of the most well known open-mic jam session. They call themselves as part of a Griot family as the word Griot stands for storyteller. So anyone who wants to share his or her talent from any walk of life in the island, can come and perform here, and as they claim... 'leave their dreams'. Over 800 direct participants perform at the lounge annually and many more indirectly.
And you, as a guest can join in and enjoy the live performances that are backed by the Chewstick's own band. So who are the performers? Anyone starting from Rappers, Singers, Poets, Musicians, Artists even with talent in Spoken Words, Dancers, DJs, musicians, writers and supporters, or as they define it as "Whateva u got".
So how did Chewstick came into being? Initially in December 2002, a group of artists from Bermuda came together to put on an event to share artistic talents. This event was the beginning of what they named as the Neo-Griot movement.
It has gone on to become an intensely creative and spiritual platform for free expression and participated by artists (new or established) from all facets of life. Chewstick attracts some of the most diverse, inclusive and exciting participants and audience in the island.
Because of Chewstick's diversity and reputation as the premier live entertainment event platform in Bermuda, it has hosted some of the biggest names, both local and from outside. Names include Matthew Knowles, Howard McCrary, Lisa Vaughn, Serpent Fly (Leslie Helpert), Ras Giorgis, Ras Mykkal, Maurita Andre, Joy Barnum and such.
Chewstick also organizes community outreach programs in the schools, prisons and streets, and provide help to manage opportunities for artists in the community. They also now own a football club.
Update February 2015: Chewstick has found a new home at Front Street, Hamilton City. This used to be the Carol Holding's Studio. They need funds for renovation though. They have been so far operating out of the red building located at the corner of Court Street and Elliot Street in Hamilton. Will take a while for them to move.
Update July 2016: A devastating fire that tore through the building in Front Street where Chewstick is housed, has completely damaged the Chewstick lounge. It is unknown when Chewstick can reopen.
Hours and Admission
The lounge is open on every alternate or second Saturday from 9 p.m to 3 a.m. It's closed on the other days. There is an admission fee of $10 after 10pm. It's free till 10pm. There is no advance booking. The entrance fee is taken at the door, seating is on a first come first claim basis.
Location and Contact
Presently housed temporarily in the following address:
The Chewstick Foundation
12 Wesley Street (old Argus Building next to City Hall), Hamilton, Bermuda, HM10
Office Hours: Monday -Friday | 9am – 5pm