The music of Saint Kitts and Nevis is known for a number of musical celebrations including Carnival (December 17 to January 3 on Saint Kitts). 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.
In addition, there are other festivals on the island of Saint Kitts. There is Inner City Fest in February in Molineaux Green Valley Festival usually around Whit Monday in the village of Cayon, Easterama around Easter (April) in the village of Sandy Point, Fest-Tab, around July-August in the village of Tabernacle, and La festival de Capisterre, around Independence Day in Saint Kitts and Nevis (19 September), in the Capisterre region. These celebrations typically feature parades, street dances and salsa, jazz, soca, calypso and steelpan music.
The most well-known kind of traditional music is probably seasonal Christmas songs, though there also chanteys and other songs. Music is also a part of the Tea Meetings which are common on the island, featuring a pair of stentorian male singers in a competitive kind of performance in which hecklers play an important role.
Carnival in Saint Kitts and Nevis features music quite prominently. Big Drum and string bands accompany folk performers. Other instruments include shack-shack (a tin can with beads inside), baha (a blown metal pipe), triangle, fife, guitar and quarto.
Iron bands were introduced to Saint Kitts and Nevis' Carnival in the 1940s, when bands used makeshift percussion instruments from the likes of car rims. Ensembles of local, collaborative musicians formed during this era, playing drums, saxophones, bass guitars and trumpets; these included the Silver Rhythm Orchestra, Brown Queen, Music Makers, Esperanza and Rhythm Kings. The following decade saw the introduction a Trinidadian style called steelpan, brought by Lloyd Matheson, C.B.E., then an Education Officer. The first steelpan band was Roy Martin's Wilberforce Steel Pan. Other bands included the Eagle Squadron, Boomerang, Casablanca, Boston Tigers and The Invaders. Modern Carnival in Saint Kitts and Nevis did not begin until the late 1950s. In the 1960s, brass bands dominated first Carnival, then much of popular music.
Calypso is a style of music from Trinidad and Tobago, consisting of highly lyrical songs that frequently makes topical comments on the ruling classes and social issues of the day.
During slavery, calypso was used for commentary against the oppression and brutal treatment suffered by the slaves at the hands of their masters. This form was called Caiso (Ka-ee-sow) meaning "the town cry", while the singer/composer was called the "Caisonian". This singing was then nicknamed "calypso" by the European slave masters, who called it after the mythological sea nymph calypso because of its melodic ability to captivate its listeners.
The caisonians were then pressured by their masters to sing songs to entertain them in return for certain privileges and an ease of tasks, and for money during the post-emancipation period.
Calypso was subsequently commercialized in Trinidad, where it was sung mainly for entertainment in shows called "calypso tents" during the Trinidad carnival celebrations. (Unreferenced)
From Trinidad, calypso spread across the Caribbean, and became a major part of Kittitian (or Kittian) and Nevisian music with the introduction of formal calypso competitions in the 1950s. Prominent early calypsonians from this period included Mighty Kush, Lord Mike, Elmo Osborne, Lord Harmony, King Monow and the Mighty Saint. By the 1980s, calypso had begun to peak in popularity on Saint Kitts and Nevis, while the two dominant performers were the rivals Starshield and [[Ellie Matt ] ] (King Richie and son King 'Richie Buntin'.who today are one of the most prolific songwriter and composers. .
In Nevis, the emerging calypsonians in the 80's were Mighty Chevi, Bahowlah the Meek, King Meko, Chaplet and Ginger who made professional recordings to boost Nevis Culturama, the local festivel.
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.
A calypsonian, originally known as a chantwell, is a musician from the anglophone Caribbean who sings songs of the calypso genre.
Steelpan is a musical instrument originating from Trinidad and Tobago. Steelpan musicians are called pannists.
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 Carnival Road March is the musical composition played most often at the "judging points" along the parade route during a Caribbean Carnival. Originating as part of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, the term has been applied to other Caribbean carnivals. There it was and is still viewed as a musical genre.
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 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.
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.
Each year, Nevisians celebrate their heritage during Culturama. It is Nevis' answer to the diverse range of carnivals enjoyed on other Caribbean islands. Held annually in late July/early August, it celebrates Nevisians who have moved away and returned to party with their friends and family. It is a commemoration and festival enjoying the cultural traditions. There's music every night, parties, food festivals, and concerts, culminating in the early march through downtown Charlestown.
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.
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.
Calypso Rose or Linda McCartha Monica Sandy-Lewis is a calypsonian. She started writing songs at the age of 13; over the years, she has composed more than 1000 songs and recorded more than 20 albums. Considered the "mother of calypso", Rose was the first female calypso star and her lyrics frequently address social issues like racism and sexism. Her influence over the calypso music genre forced the renaming of the Calypso King competition to the Calypso Monarch instead. In 2012 at Chutney Pride, Calypso Rose revealed that she is a member of the LGBT community and has been married to a woman for 17 years. In addition to writing songs about social issues, Rose is also an activist and was given the title of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for former child soldiers along with performing at numerous events for social change. She has received every award available to living artists in the Caribbean.
Cariso is folk music, and an important ancestor of calypso music.
The Antiguan Carnival is a celebration of the emancipation of slavery in the country held annually from the end of July to the first Tuesday in August. The most important day is that of the j'ouvert, in which brass and steel bands perform for much of the island's population. Barbuda's Carnival, held in June, is known as Caribana. The Antiguan and Barbudan Carnivals replaced the Old Time Christmas Festival in 1957, with hopes of inspiring tourism in Antigua and Barbuda. Some elements of the Christmas Festival remain in the modern Carnival celebrations.
The culture of St. Kitts and Nevis, two small Caribbean islands forming one country, has grown mainly out of the West African traditions of the slave population brought in during the colonial period. France and British colonists both settled the islands, and for a period of time the British imported indentured Irish servants. The native Caribs, skilled warriors, defended their lands by attacking the colonies. But by 1782, the British had gained control of St. Kitts and Nevis, which they retained until granting the islands their independence in 1983. British influence remains in the country's official language, English, while some islanders speak an English-based Creole. The influence of the French, Irish, and Carib seems less pronounced.
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.
The Calypso Monarch contest is one of the two major annual calypso competitions held in Trinidad as part of the annual carnival celebrations.