Music of the Bahamas

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Music of the Anglophone Caribbean
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Regional music
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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.

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.

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.

Parade procession of people

A parade is a procession of people, usually organized along a street, often in costume, and often accompanied by marching bands, floats, or sometimes large balloons. Parades are held for a wide range of reasons, but are usually celebrations of some kind. In Britain, the term parade is usually reserved for either military parades or other occasions where participants march in formation; for celebratory occasions, the word procession is more usual. In the Canadian Forces, the term also has several less formal connotations.

Contents

Calypso

Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music which originated in Trinidad and Tobago. This form of music has spread through many parts of the Caribbean, including The Bahamas.

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.

Trinidad and Tobago Island country in the Caribbean Sea

Trinidad and Tobago, officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the Caribbean. Consisting of two main islands - Trinidad and Tobago - plus a number of much smaller islands, it is situated 130 kilometres south of Grenada and 11 kilometres off the coast of northeastern Venezuela. It shares maritime boundaries with Barbados to the northeast, Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the northwest, Guyana to the southeast, and Venezuela to the south and west.

The Bahamas Country in North America

The Bahamas, known officially as the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a country within the Lucayan Archipelago,in the Caribbean. The archipelagic state consists of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, and is located north of Cuba and Hispaniola, northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, southeast of the U.S. state of Florida, and east of the Florida Keys. The capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence. The designation of "the Bahamas" can refer either to the country or to the larger island chain that it shares with the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force describes the Bahamas territory as encompassing 470,000 km2 (180,000 sq mi) of ocean space.

Soca

Soca is a form of dance music which originated from many calypso music in Trinidad and Tobago. It originally combined the melodic lilting sound of calypso with insistent percussion (which is often electronic in recent music) and local chutney music. Soca music has evolved in the last 20 years primarily by musicians from various Anglophone Caribbean countries including Trinidad, Guyana, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, United States Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica and Belize.

Soca music is a genre of music that originated within a marginalized subculture in Trinidad and Tobago in the early 1970s, and developed into a range of styles by the 1980s and later. Soca was initially developed by Lord Shorty in the early 1970s in an effort to revive traditional calypso, the popularity of which had been flagging amongst younger generations in Trinidad by the start of the 1970s due to the rise in popularity of reggae from Jamaica and soul and funk from USA. Soca is an offshoot of kaiso/calypso, with influences from Latin, cadence, funk and soul.

Junkanoo

Junkanoo celebration in Nassau Junkanoo.jpg
Junkanoo celebration in Nassau

The word Junkanoo is said to be derived from a Ghanaian leader, John Connu, or from the Qujo supreme deity (Canno) and ancestral spirits (jannanin). The junkanoo was formerly practiced in North Carolina and remnants still exist in Belize. It is most well known, though, from Nassau and Freeport. Since the 1950s the influence of American culture has increased, mainly through TV and radio broadcasts from Florida stations, and other Caribbean styles have made inroads: calypso, reggae and soca, from Jamaica, Cuba, Trinidad, and other islands. Tourism has also had an impact, bringing in Japanese, European and North Americans with their attendant forms of cultural expression. In this milieu more traditional Bahamas performers such as Joseph Spence, have still enjoyed successful careers playing junkanoo, Christian hymns and the ant'ems of the local sponge fishermen, which include "Sloop John B", later made famous by The Beach Boys.

Ghana Republic in West Africa

Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 238,535 km2 (92,099 sq mi), Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. Ghana means "Warrior King" in the Soninke language.

North Carolina U.S. state in the United States

North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. North Carolina is the 28th largest and 9th-most populous of the 50 United States. North Carolina is bordered by Virginia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Georgia and South Carolina to the south, and Tennessee to the west. Raleigh is the state's capital and Charlotte is its largest city. The Charlotte metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 2,569,213 in 2018, is the most populous metropolitan area in North Carolina, the 23rd-most populous in the United States, and the largest banking center in the nation after New York City. North Carolina's second largest metropolitan area is the Raleigh metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 1,337,331 in 2018, and is home to the largest research park in the United States, Research Triangle Park, in Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh.

Belize country in Central America

Belize is an independent and sovereign country located on the north eastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guatemala. It has an area of 22,970 square kilometres (8,867 sq mi) and a population of 408,487 (2019). Its mainland is about 180 mi (290 km) long and 68 mi (110 km) wide. It has the lowest population and population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.87% per year is the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

Junkane.

Junkanoo celebration in Nassau in 2003 Junkanoo2.jpg
Junkanoo celebration in Nassau in 2003

In 1973, the year the Bahamas achieved independence from the United Kingdom, black professionals of the middle and upper classes began to dominate junkanoo celebrations. Costuming and competitions became more complex and commonplace, and soon became a tourist draw.

Aside from being a type of drum, goombay is also a percussion music made famous by Alphonso 'Blind Blake' Higgs, who played to tourists arriving at Nassau International Airport for several years. Rake-and-scrape music is a unique type of instrumental music made by bending a saw and scraping with a small object, most typically a screwdriver; it is used to accompany dances derived from European forms like polka and waltz. Rake-and-scrape's popularity has been declining in recent years, but performers like Lassie Do and the Boys continue to keep the tradition alive. Christian rhyming spirituals and the ant'ems of sponge fishermen are now mostly dead traditions, decimated by the arrival of pop music, a 1930s sponge blight and other causes.

Goombay is a form of Bahamian music and a drum used to create it. The drum is a membranophone made with goat skin and played with the hands.

Rake-and-scrape is a genre of music native to the Bahamas. Its main instruments are associated with the Goombay drum, Accordion also known as a Concertina, and a Hand saw.

Screwdriver hand-tool


A screwdriver is a tool, manual or powered, for screwing (installing) and unscrewing (removing) screws. A typical simple screwdriver has a handle and a shaft, ending in a tip the user puts into the screw head before turning the handle. The shaft is usually made of tough steel to resist bending or twisting. The tip may be hardened to resist wear, treated with a dark tip coating for improved visual contrast between tip and screw—or ridged or treated for additional 'grip'. Handles are typically wood, metal, or plastic and usually hexagonal, square, or oval in cross-section to improve grip and prevent the tool from rolling when set down. Some manual screwdrivers have interchangeable tips that fit into a socket on the end of the shaft and are held in mechanically or magnetically. These often have a hollow handle that contains various types and sizes of tips, and a reversible ratchet action that allows multiple full turns without repositioning the tip or the user's hand.

E. Clement Bethel's master's thesis on traditional Bahamian music was adapted for the stage by his daughter, Nicolette Bethel and Philip A. Burrows. Music of The Bahamas was first performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1991, and was revived in 2002 for fresh Bahamian audiences. A recording of that show is available for sale from Ringplay Productions.

Edward Clement Bethel was a Bahamian composer, pianist and choral director who became the first Director of Culture in the Bahamas.

Nicolette Bethel is a Bahamian teacher, writer and anthropologist. She was the Director of Culture in The Bahamas, and is now a full-time lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at the University of the Bahamas.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Arts festival

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world's largest arts festival, which in 2018 spanned 25 days and featured more than 55,000 performances of 3,548 different shows in 317 venues. Established in 1947 as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival, it takes place annually in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the month of August. It has been called the "most famous celebration of the arts and entertainment in the world" and an event that "has done more to place Edinburgh in the forefront of world cities than anything else.

Rake and scrape

Rake and scrape music is played traditionally with Concertinas, Goombay drums, and a Handsaw. Rake and scrape is believed to have originated on the island of Cat Island but evidence suggest that it was emerging in many places simultaneously. The earliest reference to usage of the accordion by Bahamians is in 1886 in an Article in the Nassau Guardian. The term rake and scrape became the norm in 1969 by Charles Carter although he claims the people of Cat Island were already calling it that when he visited the Island. [1] [2]

Organology of instruments

Membranophones: The Goombay drum is main rhythmic component in rake-n-scrape. It is also referred to a goatskin drum, as the skin of a goat was stretched over a wooden barrel. It is decorated by simple or complex geometric designs in bright colors. The drum is always heated over fire to retain its tone. In 1971, when manufacturers started shipping products in metal barrels, Bahamians switched the drum to metal, slightly changing the tone of the drum. [3]

Idiophones: The main component that makes Rake-N-Scrape unique is the use of the Carpenter's Saw. This instrument is scraped with a nail or butter knife. Bent against the body of the player and flexed, various timbral effects are obtained. [4] In more modern music, the saw is replaced with maracas or a guiro. [5]

Aerophones: The accordion is the component that adds the round form which enables dancers to dance the ring dance. This is of European descent. In more modern bands, it is replaced by an electric guitar or electronic keyboard. [6]

See also

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.

Junkanoo festive season which occurs on Boxing Day and New Years Day

Junkanoo is a street parade with music, dance, and costumes of Akan origin in many islands across the English speaking Caribbean every Boxing Day and New Year's Day, the same as "Kakamotobi" or the Fancy Dress Festival of Ghana. There are also Junkanoo parades in Miami in June and Key West in October, where local black populations have their roots in the Caribbean. In addition to being a culture dance for the Garifuna people, this type of dancing is also performed in The Bahamas on Independence day and other historical holidays.

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.

The music of Turks and Caicos Islands is best known for its ripsaw music. It is accompanied by an array of instruments, including maracas, triangles, box guitar, conga drums, goat and cowskin drums, accordion, concertina and, most prominently and uniquely, the carpenter saw.

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 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.

Ripsaw is a musical genre which originated in the Turks and Caicos Islands, specifically in the Middle and North Caicos. A very closely related variant, rake-and-scrape, is played in the Bahamas. Its most distinctive characteristic is the use of the common handsaw as the primary instrument, along with various kinds of drums, box guitar, concertina, triangle and accordion.

The culture of Trinidad and Tobago reflects the influence of European, African, Indian, Spanish, Arab, cultures. The histories of Trinidad and Tobago are different. There are differences in the cultural influences which have shaped each island. Trinidad and Tobago is an English-speaking country with strong links to the United Kingdom.

"King" Eric Gibson was a Bahamian musician and entrepreneur. He was also the semiofficial Ambassador of Bahamian Goodwill.

Bahamian culture is a hybrid of African, European, and other cultures.

Avvy is a songwriter and performer contributing to the art of Bahamian folk music, Junkanoo and Rake-and-scrape. In 2014 his singles "Dirty Nagua Rake" and "Swing Swing" took top position in the local Bahamian charts.

Blake Alphonso Higgs, better known as "Blind Blake", was the best-known performer of goombay/calypso in the Bahamas from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Patrick "Rik" Carey is a Bahamian music producer, singer, musician, and the lead vocalist for the junkanoo band Baha Men, with the hit song "Who Let the Dogs Out?".

Bahamian Cuisine is to the foods and beverages of The Bahamas. It includes seafood such as fish, shellfish, lobster, crab, and conch, as well as tropical fruits, rice, peas, pigeon peas, potatoes, and pork. Popular seasonings commonly used in dishes include chilies, lime, tomatoes, onions, garlic, allspice, cinnamon, rum, and coconut. Rum-based beverages are popular on the island. Since the Bahamas consist of a multitude of islands, notable culinary variations exist.

Meta Davis Cumberbatch MBE was a Trinidad-born pianist, composer, poet, playwright and cultural activist, who spent the majority of her life in The Bahamas, where she became known as the "Mother of the Arts". At the 2014 Independence anniversary celebrations in Nassau she was honoured as a Bahamian "Cultural Warrior".

ZNBN-FM radio station

ZNBN-FM is a radio station in Nassau, Bahamas broadcasting a Caribbean Music, Bahamian Junkanoo and rake-and-scrape radio format.

References