Music of the week
The Caribbean islands lie in a chain from the Bahamas in the north to Trinidad and Tobago in the south. Most of the Caribbean population are descendants of West African slaves and settlers from Europe, India and China. The music of the Caribbean differs from island to island, but each kind has its origins in a mixture of African and European influences.
Monday - CubaSalsa is a lively style of dance music with African and Spanish influences that originated in Cuba. Listen to this:
Tuesday – Trinidad and Tobago
Originally the national dance of Trinidad and Tobago, Calypso is particularly associated with carnival. Steel band music originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the 1940s. Steel bands often play calypso tunes but also play folk and classical music.
Wednesday - Jamaica
Mento is a form of Jamaican folk music similar to calypso. It was most popular in the 1950s.
Mento is characterised by:
- guitar, banjo and drums
- strophic (verse-repeating) form
- light hearted lyrics of everyday life
(Just the first song)
- Reggae is a much slower form of music than ska which emerged in the 1960s. It is characterised by: electric guitars, drums line-up and amplified bass guitar riffs.
- Bob Marley was a famous reggae singer from Jamaica.
Friday – Dominican Republic
Merengue was originally the national dance of the Dominican Republic and has African and Spanish influences. It is characterised by:
- traditional instruments - tambora (a type of double-headed drum), guiro, cuatro, accordion
- trumpets and saxophones playing an important part
- catchy melodies and rhythms