“Adam Walters, now as composer, gave us an excerpt from his ambitious River of Freedom, a work in progress. With a libretto from the apparently indefatigable Caitlyn Kamminga, fresh out of the Jab Molassie blocks, and narration from Michael Cherrie, River of Freedom tells the story of the Merikins community, former slaves who, in return for fighting for the British in the second American war of Independence in 1815, were granted freedom and relocated to company villages in south Trinidad. With an ensemble conducted by Kwame Ryan and musical references to the national anthem, Walters’ dense hors d’oeuvre was given a deserved spontaneous standing ovation.”
Trinidad Guardian, Simon Lee.
November 19th, 2014.
“UK-born music composer Adam Walters’ preview performance of his River of Freedom, staged by the UTT Musicians at NAPA on March 28, raised the curtain on a moving and enchanting musical treatment of the T&T Merikin story.
The story of the Merikins relates to the 19th century arrival and settlement of freed and escaped slaves who had become soldiers fighting on the side of the British in the War of American Independence . . .who were promised land and opportunity in the Caribbean following their service.
The production is as much historical narrative as it is a musical treatment of the social and cultural evolution of the new settlers and those among whom they were made to reside. ” read more
Trinidad Guardian, Wesley George.
April 10th, 2015.
“Forget the traditional tales of slavery, escape and freedom much loved by Hollywood.
There’s a different slavery story which is now beginning to be told – and in the places where it actually played out.
Many in the Caribbean and in the Diaspora will have heard stories of ancestors who were freed slaves and fought with the British against the US in 1812.
To use the theme running through the latest version of their story, River of Freedom: “A Black man in a red coat, fighting another man’s war.
Hundreds of slaves took up the offer to switch sides and fight with the British in return for freedom and land. The Corps of Colonial Marines were essential to a British army depleted by the Napoleonic Wars and then facing a fight in America. . .”
This musical treatment of the coming of the Merikins to Trinidad close to 200 years ago clearly struck intimate chords, both among those who journeyed far from other parts of the island and Fifth Company residents who came out to wrap up a week of activities to mark the arrival of freed slaves who had fought on the side of the British during the War of American Independence and other military
Baritonist, Krisson Joseph, was the audience favourite on the night, his huge voice filling the acoustically challenging hall and inspiring ambitious echoes from male members of the crowd even as the show came to an end.”