History of Caribbean Music

by 12/11/2012 11:15:00 0 comments 1949 Views
History of Caribbean Music

The Caribbean people are uniquely inventive when it comes to music. There is almost a different rhythm for every island. Reggae, merengue, calypso, salsa (in different versions from Cuba and Puerto Rico), compas, zouk and soca. Some islands have more than one, but almost all are lively, fast and full of explosive joy.

West Indians will tune up anything to make a rhythm. Consider steel pan. The music played on it can be incredibly beautiful and yet it was created out of the discarded 50 gallon drums of the Trinidadian oil industry. See an article about steel pan in Trinidad. Underpinning all the Caribbean rhythms is the reverberation of African drums, which you will hear all over the islands, particularly in Haiti.

Caribbean music is sometimes about protest and social commentary (particularly in calypso at carnival time), but it is almost always about dancing. The rhythms are compulsive and incredibly lively. West Indians have been known to leave their jobs to get back for carnival. You can always find a place to dance, if you would like to.

In recent years a number of festivals have been created to attract visitors to the islands. These include Jazz and Blues. They tend to be designed with broad appeal, and they are worth considering as a time to visit the islands. There is even an Opera Season in Barbados.