Music in the Caribbean
The genre of Caribbean Music encompasses a diverse variety of musical styles and traditions from islands that are located in the Caribbean Sea and it represents something that is simple, exotic yet rich and wonderful. The styles range anywhere from traditional folk genres such as the Puerto Rican aguinaldo and Jamaican mento to more contemporary music such as salsa and reggae. They are each syntheses of African, European, Indian and Indigenious influences, largely created by African slave descendants, along with contribution from other communities. Some of the styles that gained wide popularity outside of the Caribbean includes reggae, zouk, salsa, bouyon, calypso, soca, reggaeton and punta. The diverse history of Caribbean music begins with tribal music from the Native Americans that first inhabited the Caribbean island. This music largely featured percussion instruments, much of which was developed by the Native Americans and sadly perished along with most of the Native Americans during the 17th century. After that time, Caribbean music came out of the combination of the European settlers to the Caribbean as well as the African slaves that were brought along with the settlers. The music represents the culture of struggle, triumph, blood, sweat and tears that are all reflected in the beats and rhythms of Caribbean music. The rewards of a battle well fought in search of freedom can still be heard echoing form the distance past as the enslaved left with future generations the strength to keep fighting using the powerful sounds of music. Located in the Caribbean Sea are many islands each having its own experience of slavery and triumph, each developing its own cultural expression through the use of music. The outer most Caribbean styles of music may be grouped into the different categories of folk, classical, or commercially popular music. Folk styles were derived primarily from African music and tend to be dominated by percussion instruments as well as call and response vocals. Included in this category are the traditional Cuban rumba, the Puerto Rican bomba as well as music associated with Afro-Caribbean religions (such as Haitian, voodoo, and Cuban Santeria). A few styles, however, reflects a more European influence. The Puerto Rican jiharo music and Cuban punto are two key examples. Local forms of classical music were created in the nineteenth century in Cuba and Puerto Rico as formally trained composers began to infiltrate the area. The most prominent styles in this category are the Cuban contradaza and the habon (a lighter and more rhythmic but also Cuban style). The best known forms of Caribbean music are the modern, popular genres. These include the con (the most popular style of Cuban dance music); the chadracha, the listera (a romantic, languid style), and the mambo (an instrumental big band style). Since the mid-1960s, styles like salsa and merengue have become widely popular. The most internationally famous style of Caribbean music has clearly been reggae. This style emerged in the late 1960s in Jamaica as a reinterpretation of American R & B music. Singers such as Bob Marley have helped push this style into the international arena. Calypso (with its origin in Trinidad and Tobago) continues to grow in popularity, and is the music generally associate with the various carnivals in the Caribbean. Ska is a dance music, that was originated out of Jamaica until it was evolve in the early 1960s to shake the butts of working and middle class Jamaicans before going on, via the West Indian immigrant connection, to the UK, and then on to the world. In the UK, ska was also known as blue beat music. Rock steady, and later, reggae sprang from the loins of ska in the late 1960s. Mid 1970s and 1980s/1990s revivals of this popular dance form have kept this music alive and fun through the present. The ska beat on drums and bass, rhythm guitar, lots of horns and maybe a Farfisa or Hammond organ that is the...
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