Its widespread popularity, especially in the United States and urban centers in Africa, teems from its infectious rhythms, the brilliance of such performers as Jamaican singer Bob Marled, and the compelling nature of its calls for social Justice. Calypso, a style of music from Trinidad, and coca, a lighter, dance-oriented variant of calypso, have also achieved some international renown. Both styles help attract thousands of tourists to Trinidad each year for the carnival season.
The French Caribbean has also produced its own synthetic musical styles, notably compass, the popular music of Haiti, and ouzo, a danceable style from Guadalupe and Martinique that incorporates elements of funk music. I I HISTORY I Caribbean music history begins with the Native Americans who inhabited the islands before the arrival of Europeans. Spanish chronicles describe some of the musical practices of the indigenous peoples, including a ceremony known as aerate, in which participants sang and danced in circles around an ensemble playing slit-drums (made from hollowed logs), rattles, and other percussion instruments.
By 1600, however, most Native Americans of the Caribbean had perished, along with their music and culture. Subsequent Caribbean music emerged as products of the interactions between African slaves and European settlers. Scholars draw distinctions between settler colonies, such as Cuba and Puerco Rice, and plantation colonies, such as those in the British West Indies. The settler colonies attracted large numbers of Europeans and hosted lively Creole music cultures.
And with their large free black populations and relatively late ongoing imports of slaves, the settler colonies tended to allow for the preservation and continued vitality of neo-African music practices. In the 19th century, the local bourgeoisie in these colonies cultivated lively, nationalistic Creole music cultures, encompassing such genres as the Hibernia ND DanaГ¶n. In the British plantation colonies, cultural repression appears to have been more severe, and the slave trade ended earlier, so that neo-African traditions declined.
At the same time, Creole bourgeois music failed to evolve in plantation colonies because of the small number of European residents. In the 20th century, the advent of the mass media-?particularly phonograph records and radio broadcasts-? stimulated the emergence of commercial popular dance music styles, often at the expense of traditional folk music. While these new pop styles were influenced by and, o some extent, were in competition with popular music from the United States, they the sass, the Cuban son, Trinitarian calypso, Dominican meringue, and Haitian mringer were thriving as distinctly local pop idioms.
The Cuban-derived bolero became popular throughout much of Latin America by the sass. In the sass the big-band format was adapted from American Jazz to the Cuban mambo, the Dominican meringue, and the Puerco Rican plane, another distinctive Creole style. By the sass, smaller ensembles became more common as amplifiers and electric instruments became widely available and bandleaders sought to avoid the high cost f maintaining big bands. During this period, communities of Caribbean immigrants in North American cities came to play crucial roles in creating and spreading Caribbean popular music.
In particular, New York City emerged as a dynamic center for the production and consumption of Latin and West Indian popular music. In the sass and sass, salsa emerged as a highly popular reinterpretation of Cuban dance music, while Jamaican reggae took the world by storm. Leading performers of both genres, including salsa singer Rubn Blades and reggae singer Bob Marled, promoted a sense of socio-political idealism, optimism, and activism.
However by the sass, the dominant Latin music genres in the region were the more sentimental, apolitical salsa romantic and the generally light-hearted meringue. Similarly, the sass style of “roots reggae,” or “foundation reggae,” gave way in the sass to a new style called dance-hall, which featured boasting, erotic, or topical lyrics rapped in a semicolon style over driving, repetitive rhythms. During the sass, a new generation of talented performers emerged from the Caribbean, including Jamaican dance-hall artist Bug Baboon and Dominican singer Juan Luis Guard.