Music of Bermuda

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Music of the Anglophone Caribbean
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Regional music
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The music of Bermuda is often treated as part of the Caribbean music area. Its musical output includes pop singer Heather Nova, and her brother Mishka. Collie Buddz has also gained international success with reggae hits in the US and the UK.

Heather Nova Bermudian singer-songwriter and poet

Heather Nova is a Bermudian singer-songwriter and poet. As of 2015 she had released 9 full-length albums and numerous singles and EPs.

Mishka (musician) Bermudian musician

Mishka is a reggae musician from Bermuda. He released his first self-titled album Mishka in 1999 and had a hit single in the UK with "Give You All The Love". He is currently signed to Jimmy Buffetts record label, Mailboat records, and is touring in support of his latest album, 'Ocean is my Potion'. He is also the face of ECO-Neill, surf-clothing company O'Neill's new eco-friendly apparel line.

Collie Buddz Bermudian musician

Colin Patrick Harper, better known by his stage name Collie Buddz, is an American/Bermudian reggae artist best known for his single "Come Around". Although born in New Orleans, Louisiana, his mother was born in a small Jamaican village and he was raised in Bermuda, where his father was born. He studied audio engineering with Noah Zamudio at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida. He performed on Shaggy's 2007 album Intoxication on the track "Mad Mad World". In 2007 his greatest radio success was "Mamacita" with which the artist was consagro selling an approximate 4 million copies thanks to the single.

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The island's musical traditions also include steelpan, calypso, choral music, as well as an array of bagpipe music played by descendants of Irish and Scottish settlers; the biggest bagpipe band on modern Bermuda is the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band. Bermuda is also the home of one of the most popular Caribbean music groups in the United States, the Bermuda Strollers. [1]

Steelpan musical instrument originating from Trinidad and Tobago

Steelpans is a musical instrument originating from Trinidad and Tobago. Steel pan musicians are called pannists.

Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the early to mid-19th century and eventually spread to the rest of the Caribbean Antilles and Venezuela by the mid-20th century. Its rhythms can be traced back to West African Kaiso and the arrival of French planters and their slaves from the French Antilles in the 18th century.

Choir Ensemble of singers

A choir is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform. Choirs may perform music from the classical music repertoire, which spans from the medieval era to the present, or popular music repertoire. Most choirs are led by a conductor, who leads the performances with arm and face gestures.

The islands are also home to gombey dancers, reggae, gospel music, drum majorette bands, jazz and other styles.

Gombey

The Gombey is an iconic symbol of Bermuda, a unique performance art full of colorful and intricate masquerade, dance and drumming. This folklife tradition reflects the island’s blend of African, Caribbean and British cultures.

Reggae Music genre from Jamaica

Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s.The term also denotes the modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora. A 1968 single by Toots and the Maytals, "Do the Reggay" was the first popular song to use the word "reggae", effectively naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience. While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues, especially the New Orleans R&B practiced by Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint, and evolved out of the earlier genres ska and rocksteady. Reggae usually relates news, social gossip, and political comment. Reggae spread into a commercialized jazz field, being known first as ‘Rudie Blues’, then ‘Ska’, later ‘Blue Beat’, and ‘Rock Steady’. It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat, and the offbeat rhythm section. The immediate origins of reggae were in ska and rocksteady; from the latter, reggae took over the use of the bass as a percussion instrument.

Gospel music is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals with Christian lyrics. Gospel music can be traced to the early 17th century, with roots in the black oral tradition. Hymns and sacred songs were often repeated in a call and response fashion. Most of the churches relied on hand clapping and foot stomping as rhythmic accompaniment. Most of the singing was done a cappella. The first published use of the term "gospel song" probably appeared in 1874. The original gospel songs were written and composed by authors such as George F. Root, Philip Bliss, Charles H. Gabriel, William Howard Doane, and Fanny Crosby. Gospel music publishing houses emerged. The advent of radio in the 1920s greatly increased the audience for gospel music. Following World War II, gospel music moved into major auditoriums, and gospel music concerts became quite elaborate.

Folk music

Bermuda is home to several folk traditions, including pipe bands, the gombey dance and a ballad song.

Bermuda British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean

Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is approximately 1,070 km (665 mi) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; 1,236 km (768 mi) south of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia; and 1,759 km (1,093 mi) northeast of Cuba. The capital city is Hamilton. Bermuda is self-governing, with its own constitution and its own government, which enacts local laws, while the United Kingdom retains responsibility for defence and foreign relations. As of July 2018, its population is 71,176, the highest of the British overseas territories.

Gombey

The Gombey dance is an iconic symbol of Bermudan culture. It mixes elements of British, West African and indigenous New World cultures. Traditionally in Gombey, dancers are black and male (though in modern times, female groups have emerged) and their father has to have been a Gombey dancer. They perform in groups of 10-30 [2] in wild masquerade costumes with brilliant colors and odd angles, meant to evoke the plumage of tropical birds; they are sometimes based on Bible verses. Gombey dances are taught orally, through family members. The dances are energetic, and grow swifter gradually, while the spectators become more wild and energetic. The gombey tradition is at its liveliest during the Christmas season, and is also performed during Boxing Day, Easter, New Year's Day, football and cricket matches and other festivals and celebrations. [3]

Boxing Day is a secular holiday celebrated the day after Christmas Day. It originated in the United Kingdom and is celebrated in a number of countries that previously formed part of the British Empire. Boxing Day is on 26 December, although the attached bank holiday or public holiday may take place either on that day or two days later.

Easter Major Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus

Easter, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.

New Years Day Holiday

New Year's Day, also simply called New Year or New Year's, is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar.

The word "Gombey" is related to the Bahamian "Goombay", a similar dance tradition. It also refers to a specific drum of African origin (see List of Caribbean drums). In addition to the Bahamian Goombay tradition, Gombey is similar to some other Afro-Caribbean styles and celebrations (such as the Mummers). Afro-Caribbeans brought to Bermuda as slaves or convicts during colonial times introduced other Caribbean traditions. [4]

Goombay is a form of Bahamian music and a drum used to create it. The goombay drum is a membranophone with one goat skin head held between the legs and played with the hands or sticks.

-Read full Wiki on Gombey.

Ballad

Bermuda's ballad tradition has declined in the 20th and 21st century, though it remains popular among a devoted subculture on the island. The Bermudan ballad is characterized by "wry, self-deprecating humor", often improvised, and concerned with the rapid change of Bermudan culture. [3]

The most famous Bermudan balladeer is Hubert Smith, a popular local composer who performed for many visiting royalty and foreign heads of state. He is also the composer of "Bermuda Is Another World", an unofficial anthem for the island. [3]

Bagpipe music

Bermuda has a strong Scottish and Irish cultural presence, and is home to well-known bagpipe bands that draw on those traditions, especially the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band. The bagpipe tradition was brought to Bermuda by Scottish and Irish soldiers from the 18th to the 20th centuries. [1]

There were, until relatively recently, two major bagpipe bands in Bermuda, the Bermuda Cadets Pipe Band and the Bermuda Police Pipe Band. Both bands formed in 1955 and disbanded in 1992, the same year the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band was formed. Other historically important bagpipe bands include the Salvation Army Young People's Band, which dates back to the 1930s. [1]

Choirs

Religious choir singing is also popular on Bermuda. Well-known choirs include the Roman Catholic Diocesan Choir, the Mt. Zion Male Voice Choir, as well as the non-church choirs Philharmonic Choir and Post Office Choir. [1]

Calypso

Calypso first became a part of Bermuda music in the 1940s and 50s. It was imported from Trinidad and Tobago. The Talbot Brothers were the island's first major calypsonians; they organized as a group in 1942, and began touring the United States by the early 1950s. [5]

Norman Luboff followed in the footsteps of Jamaican-American calypso singer Harry Belafonte in popularizing Trinidadian calypso. Luboff de-emphasized the saucy, ribald side of calypso and created a popular form that appealed to the masses. His signature song is "Yellow Bird" which became very popular in the 1960s. [1] Genuine Bermudian calypso can only be found on the fine Bermuda Gombey & Calypso 1953-1960. [6] A detailed history of Bermuda calypso and gombey written by Bruno Blum can be read in the CD booklet (available online in both French and English). [7] Artists include Sidney Bean, The Talbot Brothers, Reuben McCoy, Hubert Smith, The Four Deuces, Al Harris, Erskine Zuill and jazzman Lance Hayward, the first musician ever produced by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records.

Steelpan

Steelpan music was invented in the late 1930s Trinidad, and was brought to Bermuda by a number of groups, including the Esso Steel Band, who moved to Bermuda in the 1950s. Esso became known for arranging Western classical music for the steelpan. In the 1960s, local choral traditions were merged with calypso and steelpan to create a distinctively Bermudian style. [1]

Paul A.W. Smith and De Onion Patch Crew are a new steelpan group who perform newer hits like soca and R&B music on steelpan. [8]

Music institutions

Bermuda is home to the Bermuda Ballet Association, which was founded by Patricia Gray in 1962, with support from Ana Roje. Other music institutions include the Bermuda National Youth Jazz Ensemble and the Bermuda Philharmonic Orchestra. There is also a Bermuda Folk Club. [1] There is a Portuguese Cultural Association which promotes the culture of the large Portuguese population on Bermuda, especially tradition folk dances of the Azores. [9] The Bermuda Philharmonic conductor is Gary Burgess, a former opera singer. Bermuda has also produced notable classical musicians in Marcelle Clamens, an opera singer, mezzo-soprano Jane Farge, pianists Peter Carpenter and Karol Sue Reddington, and Joyce Mary Helen DeShield. [1]

Related Research Articles

The music of Trinidad and Tobago is best known for its calypso music, soca music and steelpan. Calypso's internationally noted performances in the 1950s from native artists such as Lord Melody, Lord Kitchener and Mighty Sparrow. The art form was most popularised at that time by Harry Belafonte. Along with folk songs and African- and Indian-based classical forms, cross-cultural interactions have produced other indigenous forms of music including soca, rapso, parang, chutney, and other derivative and fusion styles. There are also local communities which practice and experiment with international classical and pop music, often fusing them with local steelpan instruments.

The music of the Bahamas is associated primarily with junkanoo, a celebration which occurs on Boxing Day and again on New Year's Day. Parades and other celebrations mark the ceremony. Groups like The Baha Men, Ronnie Butler and Kirkland Bodie have gained massive popularity in Japan, the United States and other places. Other popular Bahamian artists include Stileet and Stevie S.

Music of Dominica

The music of Dominica includes a variety of genres including all the popular genres of the world. Popular music is widespread, with a number of native Dominican performers gaining national fame in imported genres such as calypso, reggae, soca, kompa, zouk and rock and roll. Dominica's own popular music industry has created a form called bouyon, which combines elements from several styles and has achieved a wide fanbase in Dominica. Groups include WCK, Native musicians in various forms, such as reggae, kadans (Ophelia Marie, and calypso, have also become stars at home and abroad.

The music of the Lesser Antilles encompasses the music of this chain of small islands making up the eastern and southern portion of the West Indies. Lesser Antillean music is part of the broader category of Caribbean music; much of the folk and popular music is also a part of the Afro-American musical complex, being a mixture of African, European and indigenous American elements. The Lesser Antilles' musical cultures are largely based on the music of African slaves brought by European traders and colonizers. The African musical elements are a hybrid of instruments and styles from numerous West African tribes, while the European slaveholders added their own musics into the mix, as did immigrants from India. In many ways, the Lesser Antilles can be musically divided based on which nation colonized them.

The music of Barbados includes distinctive national styles of folk and popular music, including elements of Western classical and religious music. The culture of Barbados is a syncretic mix of African and British elements, and the island's music reflects this mix through song types and styles, instrumentation, dances, and aesthetic principles.

Caribana organization

The Toronto Caribbean Carnival, formerly and still commonly called Caribana, is a festival of Caribbean culture and traditions held each summer in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is a Caribbean Carnival event, that has been billed as North America's largest street festival, frequented by over 1.3 million visitors each year for the festival's final parade and an overall attendance of 2 million. The entire event, which is one of the first Caribbean Carnivals along with those in New York City, Notting Hill and Boston to be held outside of the Caribbean region, brings in over one million people to Toronto and over $400 million into Ontario's economy, annually.

The music of the Virgin Islands reflects long-standing West Indian cultural ties to the island nations to the south, the islands' African heritage and European colonial history, as well as recent North American influences. Though the United States Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands are politically separate, they maintain close cultural ties. From its neighbors, the Virgin Islands has imported various pan-Caribbean genres of music, including calypso and soca from Trinidad and reggae from Jamaica.

The music of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines includes thriving music scenes based on Big Drum, calypso, soca, steelpan and also reggae. String band music, quadrille, bélé music and traditional storytelling are also popular.

The music of Saint Lucia is home to many vibrant oral and folk traditions and is based on elements derived from the music of Africa, especially rhythmically, and Western Europe, dances like the quadrille, polka and waltz. The banjo and cuatro are iconic Lucian folk instruments, especially a four-stringed banjo called the bwa poye. Celebratory songs called jwé show lyricism, and rhythmic complexity. The most important of the Afro-Lucian Creole folk dances is the kwadril. Music is an integral part of Lucian folk holidays and celebrations, as well as the good-natured rivalry between the La Rose and La Marguerite societies. There is little Western classical music on Saint Lucia, and the country's popular music industry is only nascent. There are few recording opportunities, though live music and radio remain a vital part of Lucian culture. Popular music from abroad, especially Trinidadian styles like calypso and soca, is widespread.

Music of Saint Kitts and Nevis

The music of Saint Kitts and Nevis is known for a number of musical celebrations including Carnival. The last week in June features the St Kitts Music Festival, while the week-long Culturama on Nevis lasts from the end of July into early August.

The music of Montserrat is influenced by Irish traditions, noticeable in the set dance-like Bam-chick-lay, and the presence of fife and drum ensembles similar to the bodhrán. Natives are also witness to the jumbie dance, the style of which is still strongly African. Instruments include the ukulele and shak-shak, an African instrument made from a calabash gourd; both of these are used in traditional string bands. Calypso and spiritual-influenced vocal choirs, like the Emerald Isle Community Singers, are popular.

The music of Antigua and Barbuda is largely African in character, and has only felt a limited influence from European styles due to the population of Antigua and Barbuda descending mostly from West Africans who were brought to the Caribbean as slaves.

Trinidad and Tobago Carnival

The Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is an annual event held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday in Trinidad and Tobago. The event is well known for participants' colorful costumes and exuberant celebrations. There are numerous cultural events such as "band launch fetes" running in the lead up to the street parade on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. It is said that if the islanders are not celebrating it, then they are preparing for it, while reminiscing about the past year's festival. Traditionally, the festival is associated with calypso music, with its origins formulated in the midst of hardship for enslaved West and Central Africans; however, recently Soca music has replaced calypso as the most celebrated type of music. Costumes, stick-fighting and limbo competitions are also important components of the festival.

Culture of Dominica

The culture of Dominica is formed by the inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Dominica. Dominica is home to a wide range of people. Although it was historically occupied by several native tribes, the Taíno and Island Caribs (Kalinago) tribes remained by the time European settlers reached the island. "Massacre" is a name of a river dedicated to the murders of the native villagers by French and British settlers, because the river ran red with blood for days. Each claimed the island and imported slaves from Africa. The remaining Caribs now live on a 3,700-acre (15 km2) Carib Territory on the east coast of the island. They elect their own chief.

Cadence-lypso is a fusion of cadence rampa from Haiti and calypso from Trinidad & Tobago that has also spread to other English speaking countries of the Caribbean. Originated in the 1970s by the Dominican band Exile One on the island of Guadeloupe, it spread and became popular in the dance clubs around the Creole world and Africa as well as the French Antilles.

Gumbe, also goombay or gumbay, is a West African style of music found in countries such as Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau. Sierra Leonean gumbe music is indigenous to the Sierra Leone Creole people and was derived from the Jamaican Maroon ancestors of the Creole people.

Chanté mas and Lapo kabrit is a form of Carnival music of Dominica. It is performed by masequerading partygoers in a two-day parade, with a lead vocalist (chantwèl), who is followed by the responsorial chorus (lavwa), with drummers and dancers dancing backwards in front of the drummer on a tambou lélé. The Carnival has African and French roots and is otherwise known as Mas Dominik, the most original Carnival in the Caribbean.

"Choucoune" is a 19th-century Haitian song composed by Michel Mauléart Monton with lyrics from a poem by Oswald Durand. It was rewritten with English lyrics in the 20th century as "Yellow Bird". Exotica musician Arthur Lyman made the song a hit in 1961.

References

Further reading

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Bermuda Online
  2. Roots of an African American Christmas
  3. 1 2 3 Frommers
  4. Bermuda, Connections (2001). Bermuda Connections Cultural Resource Guide for Classrooms. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution. p. 230.
  5. "Bermuda". Calypso World. Retrieved June 23, 2006.
  6. See the Bermuda Gombey & Calypso 1953-1960
  7. Read the Bermuda Gombey & Calypso 1953-1960 CD booklet (online in both French and English):
  8. http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20140123/ISLAND/140129902
  9. "Bermuda Traditions and their sources". Bermuda Online. Retrieved June 23, 2006.