Playlist:  Introduction to World Music: The Caribbean by Jenna Makowski, Alexander Street Press

The goal of these playlists is to introduce students to a range of popular genres across the region with a focus on the social, political and religious contexts from which they developed and their key roles in shaping local identities on international stages. Students should become familiar with the strong African influences—particularly rhythm and drumming—on Caribbean music as well as the influence Caribbean genres have on the international music scene.
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At the heart of calypso is the idea of communication, news- and story-telling. Calypso, which had originated as accompaniment to competitive stick fighting, a complex form of martial arts woven into Afro-Caribbean culture, began taking on a more political edge during the 1950s. As "post-war exhilaration was giving way to a politically charged atmosphere in which the old colonial hierarchy of race and class was being challenged. The People's National Movement was on the rise and would soon come to power." The tracks in this playlist highlight the early sounds of calypso, as well as the sounds of steel pan bands that have come to signify Trinidad and broader Caribbean identity.
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27 Dec 2013
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The clips in this playlist are meant to introduce the listener to two popular genres of music and dance originating in Cuba--the rumba and Son Cubano, which laid the foundation for salsa. Various examples of different styles within these genres are presented, particularly the three forms of rumba, with a wider focus on the transfers of West African drumming traditions via the slave trade into Cuban and broader Caribbean culture. The rumba selections are performed by Afrocuba de Matanzas during the 1989 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
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27 Dec 2013
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Growing out of the ska scene in 1960s Jamaica, reggae became strongly entwined in the Rastafari movement, an African-based spiritual ideology. The songs in this playlist provide an introduction to the early days of reggae and to the artists and genres (namely ska and rocksteady) that influenced it. Early recordings of Bob Marley and the Wailers are included.
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27 Dec 2013
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