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From the Promoter
Internationally-acclaimed singer Measha Brueggergosman brings her Songs Of Freedom tour, in support of the album and film of the same name, to the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax on Friday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m.
In 2007, Brueggergosman discovered her family's deep history in Canada and the United States. Her paternal great-grandparents were John Gosman and his wife Rose, African Americans who each escaped from slavery in New England colonies during the American Revolution by going to British lines. John was from Connecticut and Rose from Rhode Island. They probably met in New York City, then occupied by the British. The British gave freedom to American slaves who left rebel slaveholders and sought refuge with them. Tens of thousands of slaves, mostly in the South, took advantage of the war's chaos to escape, so many that the plantations were disrupted in South Carolina and Virginia, especially.
After the war, the British arranged transport to Nova Scotia for nearly 3500 Black Loyalists from the former Thirteen Colonies. John and Rose Gosman and their five-month-old daughter Fanny, born free in British lines, were recorded in the British embarkation record known as the Book of Negroes. They had passage in 1783 on one of the last ships to leave New York for Nova Scotia. Brueggergosman's great-grandparents first lived in Shelburne, but later settled in Fredericton. Brueggergosman learned of her African-American roots on "Who Do You Think You Are," a British-based program bought by the CBC. According to Y-DNA genetic testing of her brother, it is likely their direct-line paternal African ancestors came from the Bassa people of Cameroon.
Upon the discovery that her family is of Cameroonian descent, Brueggergosman naturally set off to Cameroon to explore their roots and was immediately consumed with the culture; singing with a Cameroonian artist and speaking beautiful French. "It is an incredibly exciting opportunity to learn that I am from Cameroon and then be able to act on it," says Brueggergosman, "to embark on a journey that seeks to reintegrate me into a culture that my ancestors were essentially stolen from through slavery in the 1700s is an experience that is quite surreal. Being from Cameroon is, in some ways, both amazing and terrifying."