Barbadian Music

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Information about Barbadian Music

Published on March 19, 2014

Author: StefanWalcott



An overview of indigenous Barbadian styles.

Folk and Modern

Barbados  Barbados is one of the first colonies in Western Hemisphere.  In 17th and 18th centuries it was one of the most wealthy and treasured possessions in the British crown.

Pre-Independence  The black middle classes and educational systems emphasised all things English.  Retentions, including dialect speech were common mostly among working classes.

The Landship  After independence in 1966 Barbados actively sought out identity.  Looked back to pre- independence traditions that defined it such as the Landship.  A black co-operative similar to Regiments in F. Caribbean and TnT.

Tuk  Tuk music is the soundtrack to Landship performances.  Drum and fife music.  Performed in 3 movements. With last movement being called Tuk.

Spouge  Spouge music was popular song form of 1970’s.  A creation of Dalton ‘Jackie Opel’ Bishop who returned from Jamaica with rhythmic idea.  Similar in instrumentation to 70’s reggae.

80s to Today  Soca music became part of Crop Over and Barbados introduced two important ‘modes of operation’.  Ring Bang- which gave birth to the modern rhythm heavy sound of modern Soca.  Ragga Soca – A fusion of Dancehall American R+B and Soca.

Ring Bang  A variation of the traditional Tuk.  Was created in 90’s in Eddie Grant’s Blue Wave Studio.

Ragga Soca  A slower form of Soca.  Created in 90’s with Key track being Red Plastic Bag’s- “Ragga Ragga.”  Came out of Nicholas Brancker’s ‘Chamber Studios’.

Bashment Soca  A very minimalised form of Soca.  Emphasis is on speech rhythm.  Watershed record: “Hard Wine” by Lil’ Rick.

Artist Names  Red Plastic Bag (calypso and soca)  Mighty Gabby (calypso, folk and soca)  Poonka (Tuk and calypso)  Alison Hinds (soca)  Edwin Yearwood (soca)  John King (calypso and soca)  Kid Site (Bajan dancehall and calypso)  Lil Rick (Bajan dancehall and soca)  Draytons Two (Spouge)

Sources   Best, Curwen. Barbadian popular music and the politics of Caribbean culture. Rochester, Vt., Schenkman Books, 1999.  ---. Culture @ the cutting edge : tracking Caribbean popular music. Kingston, Jamaica, University of the West Indies Press, 2004.  ---. Roots to popular culture. London; Oxford, Macmillan Caribbean, 2001.  Burrowes, Marcia. “History and cultural identity Barbadian space and the legacy of empire.” Boston Spa, U.K., British Library Document Supply Centre, 2000.  Meredith, Sharon. "Tuk in Barbados: The History, Development and Recontextualisation of a Musical Genre" Diss. University of Warwick, 2002.

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