East Dry River – Yoruba Village

At the entrance of the East Dry River in Port of Spain, near the Riverside Plaza, is a sign within a small park which pays tribute to the Yoruba Village which once covered areas of East Dry River, Belmont (then Freetown), Laventille and Morvant. The Yoruba people came in the post-emancipation era as recaptives, Africans captured on foreign slave ships after the termination of the slave trade in 1807.

Among the traditions retained and passed on by the Yoruba people were drumming and the Orisha religion. During colonial times, there was a legal ban on drumming so it is fitting now that there is an annual Yoruba Village Drum Festival which aims to keep the tradition alive. Scholars have also cited the influence of the Yoruba in our Carnival and calypso art forms as well as in our language.