Music the Outlet of Expression
Rhymes and rhythms, beats and flows, violence and hate, peace and love, music is a God given ability that we use to express ourselves and how we feel, to communicate and connect with people, to inspire or break down dreams. Music is defined not by notes on a sheet but by the people who construct every bar and the lyricists who paints pictures with their words. Music is also defined by the people who listen to it and those who criticize it and the author/s ability to convey a meaning and keep them entertained. In The Bahamas music is a major part of Bahamian Culture. At anytime during the day while driving the streets of Nassau it is possible that one out of every 10 cars passed will be playing loud music. Festivals such as Junkanoo and Junkanoo in June draw large numbers of Bahamians who come to enjoy the music and the cultural based environment. There are many different styles of music that Bahamians use to express themselves but from a cultural point of view Bahamian music is, calypso, rake n’ scrape, and reggae. Though in recent times Bahamians have lost touch with what Bahamian music really is and what Bahamian music represents..
A musical style influenced by jazz, Calypso (Musical Styles), usually has tropical improvised lyrics which can set a Caribbean atmosphere anywhere, at anytime and for anyone. Many of today’s young people do not appreciate this musical style or know that is apart of Bahamian culture. In a survey conducted on C.O.B main campus, it was discover that 80% of students don’t listen to calypso, and some students referred to calypso as being the music of the older generation of The Bahamas. It is evident that many young Bahamians are not in touch with their Bahamian roots and culture.Calypso music covers a wide range of issues that relate to real life, as experienced by the artists, and these are issues such as love, greed, and oppression. Calypso is better known as Goombay and it dates back to the 1930’s in the time where Alphonso Higgs (Blind Blake) ruled this form of music (calypsoworld.org). It is said that Blind Blake’s music was enjoyed by the former King, Duke of Windsor, who served as Governor of the Bahamas during World War II. As Ray Frank (Writer- calypsoworld.org) states, there are many great artist of that time such as Maureen DuValier (Calypso Mama) and she performed in many hotels throughout The Bahamas, on cruise ships, in Cuba and New York. Clearly calypso music in The Bahamas is still prevalent but it is enjoyed and appreciated mainly by the older generations of Bahamians and those who live family islands of The Bahamas, as I’m sure any Bahamian would agree. Calypso is one style of music that is unique to The Bahamas and the Caribbean islands, but a more popular style of Caribbean music is rake n’ scrape.
The music of dance, rake n’ scrape music is usually accompanied by Bahamian Quadrille and the Heel and Toe Polka dances (caribbean-guide.info). When asked about these dances almost all of C.O.B students admitted to hearing about them but known of them knew how to perform them or where they originated from; clearly another indication that many Bahamian youth are not in touch with their roots and culture. It is understood that all Bahamian music such as calypso and rake n’ scrape has that somewhat mystical power to raise the oldest of audiences to get up and shake loose the stresses of the world Bahamian style. There are many renown rake n’ scrape artist such as Chippie & The Boys and Edmund Moxey. Edmund Moxey is a Bahamian who was born on Ragged Island and his instrument of choice was the piano. His most famous and praised song is, “Burma Road Boys Declare War On The Conchy Joe” (Christian Justilien – bahamasentertainers.com). Christian reviews this song making note of the racial overtones and of black Bahamians rioting against the white Bahamians referred to as "Conchy Joes" (bahamasentertainers.com). Through a small survey conducted I...
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