|Music of the Anglophone Caribbean|
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The music of Grenada has included the work of several major musicians, including Eddie Bullen, David Emmanuel, one of the best-selling reggae performers ever, and Mighty Sparrow, a calypsonian. The island is also known for jazz, most notably including Eddie Bullen, a pianist, songwriter and record producer currently residing in Canada. Kingsley Etienne, a keyboardist, while the Grenadan-American Joe Country & the Islanders have made a name in country music.
African dances brought to Grenada survive in an evolved form, as have European quadrilles and picquets. Some of the most popular recent styles of these dances include "Heel-and-Toe"and "Carriacou Big Drum and Quadrille", with popular dancers including Willie Redhead, Thelma Phillips, Renalph Gebon and the Beewee Ballet.
Independence in 1974 launched a Grenadian national identity which was exemplified in the calypso of the time, which tended to be intensely patriotic. More modern calypso performers have experimented, using political commentary and poetry to expand the possibilities of Grenadian calypso. Indian influences have also changed the sound of Grenadian calypso.
Popular forms of music in Grenada are calypso, soca and to a lesser extent reggae and dancehall. Soca produced in Grenada has a distinct style that takes the name of "jab jab" soca.
Many years of domination by the British and the French have left behind influences in Carriacou, in songs like lullabies and reels, cantique, chanteys and quadrilles.
Carriacou is an island north of Grenada, best known for the Big Drum Afro-Caribbean song-style and Quadrille. Big Drum dates back to at least the late 18th century. Carriacou's Afro-Caribbean population is divided into nations, each of which has a distinct rhythm that identifies it; Big Drum glorifies the ancestors of these nations, which include the Manding, Chamba, Temne, Moko, Igbo, Banda, Arada, Kongo and Cromanti. The Cromanti, being the biggest nation, begins the Big Drum ceremony with a song called "Cromanti Cudjo" (or "Beg Pardon"); this is followed by the other nations' songs, all of which are based on short, declamatory phrases with choruses, accompanied by two boula drums and a single, higher-pitched cut drum , both of which are made from rum barrels. Big Drum music is used to honor the memory of the dead if the deceased's family is not able to have the traditional Tombstone Feast .
Quadrille was developed in France during the 18th century as a court dance for Napoleon, the Quadrille was brought to England, and then introduced to the colonial Caribbean during the early 19th century, providing entertainment on social occasions for planters. Slaves were forbidden to practice their culture, as the planters realized their music and dance were used to communicate, and to plan their release strategies. However, to save on the expenses of bringing musicians from England, slaves were engaged to provide music for planters’ parties. Forbidden to practice their own dances, African musicians and house workers learned the dance of the English planters, taking it into their camps and altering it. Slaves used the Quadrille to mock the planters but more importantly used this newly approved dancing time to secretly formulate uprisings to hasten their freedom. Carriacou versions of the Quadrille feature four men and four women, forming a square and are accompanied by tambourine, bass drum, violin and triangle. Dance styles can be either formal, with couples gliding rigidly in turn, or a more free style where all couples dance at the same time with unfettered movements and improvisations. This dance surpasses the Big Drum in rhythm but does not have the variety and the significance of the African Nation Dance. You can view these dances at cultural celebrations.
The funeral music of Carriacou is a major part of the island's folk music; Carriacouan religion centers on reverence for the "Old Parents", the apocryphal founders of the island's society. The saraca funerary rite, practiced on Carriacou and throughout the Grenadines, involves music, storytelling and feasting; saraca songs include both European and African lyrics. African elements, such as the call-and-response style, are often present.
Soca music is a genre of music defined by Lord Shorty, its inventor, as the Soul of Calypso, African and East Indian rhythms. It was originally spelt Sokah by its inventor but through an error in a local newspaper when reporting on the new music it was erroneously spelt Soca, Lord Shorty confirmed the error but chose to leave it that way to avoid confusion. It is a genre of music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the early 1970s and developed into a range of styles during the 1980s and after. Soca was initially developed by Lord Shorty in an effort to revive traditional Calypso, the popularity of which had been flagging amongst younger generations in Trinidad due to the rise in popularity of Reggae from Jamaica and Soul and Funk from the USA. Soca is an offshoot of Kaiso/Calypso, with influences from East Indian rhythms and hooks.
Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the early to the mid-19th century and 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.
The music of Trinidad and Tobago is best known for its calypso music, soca music, chutney 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 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..
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.
Chutney music is a fusion of African and East Indian diasporas, started by the Calypsonian Ras Shorty I. This genre of music that developed in Trinidad and Tobago is popular in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, other parts of the Caribbean, Fiji, Mauritius, and South Africa. It is a mixture of Bhojpuri music and Calypso music. Chutney music emerged mid-20th century and reached a peak of popularity during the 1980s. Initially lyrics were religious in nature and typically sung by females. Several sub-genres have developed.
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.
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 made slaves by Europeans.
Big Drum is a genre and a musical instrument from the Windward Islands. It is a kind of Caribbean music, associated mostly closely with the music of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Music of Guadeloupe, Carriacou in Grenada and in the music of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Carriacou is an island of the Grenadine Islands. It is a dependency of Grenada, and is located in the south-eastern Caribbean Sea, northeast of the island Grenada and the north coast of South America. The name is derived from the Carib language Kayryouacou.
As an overseas départment of France, Martinique's culture is French and Caribbean. Its former capital, Saint-Pierre, was often referred to as the Paris of the Lesser Antilles. Following French custom, many businesses close at midday, then reopen later in the afternoon. The official language is French, although many Martinicans speak a Creole patois. Based in French, Martinique's Creole also incorporates elements of English, Spanish, Portuguese, and African languages. Originally passed down through oral storytelling traditions, it continues to be used more often in speech than in writing.
Music of the African diaspora was mostly refined and developed during the period of slavery. Slaves did not have easy access to instruments, so vocal work took on new significance. Through chants and work songs people of African descent preserved elements of their African heritage while inventing new genres of music. The culmination of this great sublimation of musical energy into vocal work can be seen in genres as disparate as Gospel Music and Hip-Hop. The music of the African diaspora makes frequent use of ostinato, a motif or phrase which is persistently repeated at the same pitch. The repeating idea may be a rhythmic pattern, part of a tune, or a complete melody. The banjo is a direct decedent of the Akonting created by the Jola people, found in Senegal, Gambia and Guinea-Bissau in West Africa. Hence, the melodic traditions of the African diaspora are probably most alive in Blues and Jazz.
The word boula can refer to at least four different drums played in the Caribbean music area.
The Southern Caribbean is a group of islands that neighbor mainland South America in the West Indies. Saint Lucia lies to the north of the region, Barbados in the east, Trinidad and Tobago at its southernmost point, and Aruba at the most westerly section.
Ajamu, also known as King Ajamu is a Grenadian calypsonian. His music covers several Caribbean styles, including calypso, soca and reggae. He has held the title of Grenada Calypso Monarch a record nine times in 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995, 2004, 2014 and again in 2015, meaning that he holds the most crowns in comparison to anyone else in Grenada Calypso. In 1998, he was appointed as a Member of The Order of the British Empire.