Joseph Emidy – Musician

The Black Presence in Britain - Black British History Website

Joseph Emidy Performs in Truro, CornwallJoseph Emidy (also spelt Emedy or Emedee) had been second violin in the orchestra of the Lisbon opera house before being pressed into the Royal Navy in 1795.
Born in West Africa in c.1775 JOSEPH ANTONIO EMIDY was enslaved as a child by Portuguese traders, taken to Brazil and subsequently Portugal where he became a virtuoso violinist in the Lisbon Opera. Kidnapped by British sailors during the Napoleonic wars, he spent the next four years as a ship fiddler
Oncedischarged in 1799, he resumed his career as a professional musicianboth in Falmouth and Truro, to where he later moved with his family.Emidy also privately taught a variety of instruments, including theviolin.
Over the years, he became a highly regarded and popular performer bothat local balls and parties and among the local harmonic societies(or amateur orchestras) and concert groups. For some time, he wasleader of the Harmonic Society of Falmouth. This untitled anonymousdrawing almost certainly shows Emidy performing with a harmonicsociety in Truro, in 1808.
Emidy wrote a number of musical compositions, many of which wereperformed at local concerts and benefits with great success. Fears,however, that his colour would render him unacceptable to Londonmusical circles meant that none of his compositions gained a wideraudience and, unfortunately, no copies of his work appear to havesurvived. After his death, one of his former pupils, the anti-slaverypolitician James Silk Buckingham, described Emidys work as an ‘achievement of extraordinary perfection.

   

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