List of Caribbean music genres
Caribbean music genres are diverse. They are each syntheses of African, European, Indian and Indigenous influences, largely created by descendants of African slaves (see Afro-Caribbean music), along with contributions from other communities (such as Indo-Caribbean music). Some of the styles to gain wide popularity outside of the Caribbean include reggae, zouk, salsa, bouyon, calypso, soca, reggaeton and punta. Caribbean is also related to Central American and South American music.
The divisions between Caribbean music genres are not always well-defined, because many of these genres share common relations and have influenced each other in many ways and directions. For example, the Jamaican mento style has a long history of conflation with Trinidadian calypso. Elements of calypso have come to be used in mento, and vice versa, while their origins lie in the Afro-Caribbean culture, each uniquely characterized by influences from the Shango and Shouters religions of Trinidad and the Kumina spiritual tradition of Jamaica.
- 1 Antigua and Barbuda
- 2 Bahamas
- 3 Barbados
- 4 Belize
- 5 Colombia
- 6 Cuba
- 7 Dominica
- 8 Dominican Republic
- 9 Dutch West Indies
- 10 Guyana
- 11 Haiti
- 12 Jamaica
- 13 Martinique and Guadeloupe
- 14 Puerto Rico
- 15 Saint Kitts and Nevis
- 16 Saint Lucia
- 17 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- 18 Suriname
- 19 Trinidad and Tobago
- 20 Venezuela
- 21 Virgin Islands
- 22 Yucatán
- 23 References
Antigua and Barbuda
Benna is an uptempo Antiguan folk song, also spelled bennah and known as ditti. It is characterized by lyrics that focus on scandalous gossip, performed in a call and response style. It has also been a means of folk communication, spreading news and political commentary across the island.
- Afro-Cuban jazz
- Cuban jazz
- Cuban rap
- Latin Jazz
- Nueva trova
- Punto guajiro
- Reggae en Español
- Son Montuno
- Nueva Trova
Chanté mas (masquerade song) is a tradition from the music of Dominica, based in Carnival celebrations and performed by groups of masquerading partygoers. They use the call-and-response format, and lyrics are often light-hearted insulting, and discuss local scandals and rumors.
Dutch West Indies
Quimbe is a topical song form from the Dutch Antillean St Maarten. It traditionally accompanies the ponum dance and drumming, but is now often performed without accompaniment. Lyrics include gossip, news and social criticism, and use clever puns and rhymes. Performance is often competitive in nature.
Tumba is a style of Curaçao music, strongly African in origin, despite the name's origin in a 17th-century Spanish dance. Traditional tumba is characterized by scandalous, gossiping and accusatory lyrics, but modern tumba often eschews such topics. It is well-known abroad, and dates to the early 19th century. It is now a part of the Carnival Road March.
Shanto is a form of Guyanese music, related to both calypso and mento, and became a major part of early popular music through its use in Guyanese vaudeville shows; songs are topical and light-hearted, often accompanied by a guitar.
Reggae is a music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. While sometimes used in a broader sense to refer to most types of Jamaican music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that originated following on the development of ska and rocksteady.
Ska is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s, and was the precursor to rocksteady and reggae. Ska combined elements of Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues. It is characterized by a walking bass line accented with rhythms on the upbeat.
Mento is a form of Jamaican folk music that uses topical lyrics with a humorous slant, commenting on poverty and other social issues. Sexual innuendos are also common. Mento was strongly influenced by calypso, the musical traditions of the Kumina religion and Cuban music. During the mid-20th century, mento was conflated with calypso, and mento was frequently referred to as calypso, kalypso and mento calypso; mento singers frequently used calypso songs and techniques.
Martinique and Guadeloupe
Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Stringband music
Jwé is a kind of rural music from Saint Lucia, performed informally at wakes, beach parties, full moon gatherings and other events, including débòt dances. Jwé uses raunchy lyrics and innuendos to show off verbal skills, and to express political and comedic commentaries on current events and well-known individuals. One well-known technique that has entered Lucian culture is lang dévivé, which is when the singer says the opposite of his true meaning.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Big Drum is a style found in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and elsewhere in the Windward Islands, especially Carriacou. It is accompanied by drums traditionally made from tree trunks, though rum kegs are now more common. Satirical and political lyrics are common, performed by a female singer called a chantwell and accompanied by colorfully costumed dancers. Big Drum is performed at celebrations like weddings and the launchings of new boats.
Trinidad and Tobago
Calypso is a Trinidadian music, which traditionally uses a slow tempo to accompany vocalist-composers, or calypsonians. Songs are often improvised and humorous, with sexual innuendo, political and social commentary, and picong, a style of lyricism that teases people in a light-hearted way. Calypso is competitively performed in calypso tents at Carnival. Calypso uses rhythms derived from West Africa, with cut time, and features dance as an important component. Calypso's roots were frequently ascribed to the Bahamas, Jamaica, Bermuda or the Virgin Islands. Calypso can be traced back to at least 1859, when a visiting ornithologist in Trinidad ascribed calypso's origins in British ballads. While calypso has a diverse heritage, calypso became a distinct genre when it developed in Trinidad. The word caliso refers to topical songs in the dialect of Saint Lucia, and may be linguistically related to the word calypso.
Cariso is a kind of Trinidadian folk music, and an important ancestor of calypso music. It is lyrically topical, and frequently sarcastic or mocking in the picong tradition, and is sung primarily in French creole by singers called chantwells. Cariso may come from carieto, a Carib word meaning joyous song, and can also be used synonymously with careso.
Soca originally combined the melodic lilting sound of calypso with insistent cadence percussion (which is often electronic in recent music), and Indian musical instruments—particularly the dholak, tabla and dhantal—as demonstrated in Shorty's classic compositions "Ïndrani" and "Shanti Om". During the 80's, the influence of zouk as popularized by the French Antillean band Kassav' had a major impact on the development of modern soca music.
- Careso is a Virgin Islander song form, which is now entirely performed for special holiday and appreciation or education events, by folkloric ensembles. It is similar to quelbe in some ways, but has more sustained syllables, a more African melodic style and an all female, call and response format with lyrics that function as news and gossip communicator, also commemorating and celebrating historical events.
Quelbe is a form of Virgin Islander folk music that originated on St. Croix, now most commonly performed by groups called scratch bands. Traditionally, however, quelbe was performed informally by solo singers at festivals and other celebrations. Hidden meanings and sexual innuendos were common, and lyrics focused on political events like boycotts.
- Daniel J. Crowley (1959). "Toward a Definition of Calypso (Part I)". Ethnomusicology (Ethnomusicology, Vol. 3, No. 2) 3 (2 (May 1959)): 57–66. doi:10.2307/924286. JSTOR 924286. and Daniel J. Crowley (1959). "Toward a Definition of Calypso (Part II)". Ethnomusicology (Ethnomusicology, Vol. 3, No. 3) 3 (3 (Sep., 1959)): 117–124. doi:10.2307/924610. JSTOR 924610.
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- "The African Folk Music Tradition from Guyana: A Discourse and Performance" (PDF). Brown Bag Colloquium Series 2003–2004. Retrieved October 1, 2006.
- Seals, Ray. "The Making of Popular Guyanese Music". Retrieved October 1, 2006.
- "The History of Jamaican Music 1959-1973". GlobalVillageIdiot.net. 31 October 2000. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- Rao, Shivu (May 2002). "Jolly Boys and Mento". Perfect Sound Forever. Retrieved October 13, 2006.
- Manuel, Peter (2006). Caribbean Currents: Caribbean Music from Rumba to Reggae (2nd edition). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. ISBN 1-59213-463-7.
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- "Calypso - The Evolution of the Calypso". Calypso Music in Trinidad and Tobago. National Heritage Library. Retrieved October 1, 2006.
- Samuel, Allyson (2004). "Descendants of a Sharp-Tongued Dialectic: Calypso and the Chantwell". Proudflesh: A New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics & Consciousness (3). ISSN 1543-0855. Retrieved December 9, 2006.
- Sheehy, Daniel E. (1999). "The Virgin Islands". Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Volume Two: South America, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Routledge. pp. 968–974. ISBN 0-8153-1865-0.