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A Sampling of the History of Caribbean Music

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Caribbean music genres are diverse. They are each synthesis of African, European, Indian,& Indigenous influences, largely created by descendants of African slaves, & contributions from other communities (such as Indo-Caribbean music). Some of the styles to gain wide popularity outside of the Caribbean include, calypso, dancehall, reggae, reggaetón (musical genre coming out of Puerto Rico in the late 1990s that were influenced by hip hop, Latin American, & Caribbean music), salsa, soca, & zouk, among others. The Caribbean is also related to Central American and South American music.

The complex & deep origins of Caribbean music are best understood if you have knowledge of Western Hemisphere colonial immigration patterns, human trafficking patterns, the resulting melting pot of people each of its nations, & territories. Thus, this resulted in an influx of original musical influences.

Colonial Caribbean ancestors were predominantly from West Africa, West Europe, & India. In the 20th & 21st centuries, immigrants also come from Taiwan, China, Indonesia/Java, & the Middle East. In addition, neighboring Latin American & North American (particularly hip hop & pop music) countries have naturally influenced Caribbean culture & vice versa. One must understand these influences to have a deep understanding of the resulting Caribbean music that reflects the culture of the people.

Although there are musical commonalities among Caribbean nations & territories, the variation in immigration patterns & colonial domination tends to parallel the variations in musical influence. Language barriers (Spanish, Portuguese, English, Hindustani, Tamil, Telugu, Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Yiddish, Yoruba, African languages, Indian languages, Amerindian languages, French, Indonesian, Javanese, & Dutch) are one of the strongest influences. Courtesy of Wikipedia.org

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