Joseph Antonio Emidy (c.1775 – 1835)

Kenwyn Parish Church, Kenwyn Church Road, Truro TR1 3DR
  • Born in c.1775 in Guinea (West Africa), at about 12 years old he was kidnapped by Portuguese Slave traders and was taken first to Brazil where he was treated terribly (as part of Transatlantic Slavery). He was later taken to Lisbon in Portugal.
  • An outstanding musician, he rapidly rose to become a leading violinist in the Lisbon Opera House – whilst remaining enslaved.
  • Unfortunately a British ship captain – Sir Edward Pellew – heard him play and kidnapped him again on a warship to play as music for them for four years at sea!
  • In 1799 he managed to escape on shore at Falmouth in Cornwall, and in 1802 he married a local woman – Jane Hutchins – and together they had eight children!
  • For the rest of his life he taught music in Cornwall and in 1835 he died and was lade to rest in Kenwyn Parish Church.
  • We know of him because one of his students wrote about him . James Silk Buckingham described Emidy as “an exquisite violinist, a good composer, who led at all the concerts of the county, and who taught equally well the piano, violin, violoncello, clarionet and flute”.

Joseph Antonio Emidy drawn performing with a harmonic society in Truro, Cornwall in 1808

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