Joseph Emidy (1775 – 1835) was enslaved by the Portuguese at an early age. He was taken to Brazil and then Lisbon where he proved to be an able musician and joined the Lisbon Opera Orchestra. In 1795 he was press ganged by the Royal Navy courtesy of one Captain Pellow who wanted a musician to entertain his sailors. He was kept prisoner on the ship for four years but eventually released at Falmouth when Pellow was transferred to a different commission. The strong anti slavery movement in Cornwall and love of music made him a popular figure. Starting out as a music teacher he became a prominent musican, composer and orchestral leader in Cornwall.
In 1998 the Cornish Music Guild sponsored a concert commemorating the life of Joseph Emidy “Hidden Routes”. The concert featured “The Eulogy of Emidy”, by Paul Gladstone Reid which celebrated his life. Sadly, manuscripts of Joseph Emidy’s music have yet to come to light.
Hidden Routes concert Programme: