James Bohee was born in Indiantown, New Brunswick, Canada on December 8th, 1844 and died in South Wales on December 8th, 1897. James was an Afro-Canadian song and dance artist, composer, instrumentalist and theatrical manager. Both James and his brother George went to school in Canada but later moved with their parents to America. He gained professional experience by playing his banjo in Boston beer halls in the late 1860's.
Around 1876, along with his brother George, he organized his own Bohee Minstrels. They then joined the Callender's Georgia Minstrels and Haverly's Genuine Colored Minstrels in 1878, touring the United States of America. The company then sailed to England in 1881. When the company returned to America in the middle of 1892, the Bohee Brothers stayed behind in England. James organized another minstrel troupe and also set up a banjo instruction studio at No. 7A Coventry Street, London, where he gave lessons to the Prince of Wales. He was also involved in the manufacturing of banjos.
Some of their songs in their repertoire were: The Darkey's Wedding, The Darkey's Patrol, The Yellow Kid's Patrol, Bohemian Gallop, The Darkey's Dream, The Darkey's Awakening, Medley of Airs, Restless March, March in C, Hunter's March and Niagara March.
(Posted online by Hal Allert)
For those who may not be fully aware of how minstrel shows mocked (to say the least) and negatively impacted generations of people of African descent, I am wondering, depite the recognition the Bohee Brothers received on two continents for their musical prowess, if they were knowingly complicit in the social and cultural denigration of our people. Does their musical repertoire posted above speak for itself?