Music of Dominica
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Dominica's music scene includes a variety of genres including all the popular genres of the world. Popular music is widespread, with a number of native Dominican performers gaining national fame in imported genres such as calypso, reggae, soca, kompa, zouk and rock and roll. Dominica's own popular music industry has created a form called bouyon, which combines elements from several styles and has achieved a wide fanbase in Dominica. Groups include WCK (Windward Caribbean Kulture), Native musicians in various forms, like reggae (Nasio Fontaine, Lazo, Brother Matthew Luke), kadans (Ophelia Marie, (Exile One, Grammacks) and calypso (The Wizzard), have also become stars at home and abroad.
Like the other Francophone musics of the Lesser Antilles, Dominican folk music is a hybrid of African and European elements. The quadrille is an important symbol of French Antillean culture, and is, on Dominica, typically accompanied by a kind of ensemble called a jing ping band. In addition, Dominica's folk tradition includes folk songs called bélé, traditional storytelling called kont, masquerade, children's and work songs, and Carnival music.
Until the late 1950s, the Afro-Dominican culture of most of the island was repressed by the colonial government and the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, both of which taught that African-derived music was evil, demonic and uncultured.1 This perception changed in the mid- to late 20th century, when Afro-Dominican culture came to be celebrated through the work of promoters like Cissie Caudeiron.2
- 1 History
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Folk music
- 4 Popular music
- 5 Alternative music
- 6 Music institutions and festivals
- 7 References
- 8 Notes
- 9 External links
Dominican contemporary music, that is the music played by the dance bands from the 1950s, has played a very important role in Dominica national life. Dominica musical landscape has seen many changes in the intervening period from 1950. In the forties and fifties, there were bands such as the Casimir Brothers of Roseau. The Swinging Stars emerged at the end of the fifties. All these bands played music of the Caribbean and elsewhere such as calypso, bolero, samba, merengue, meringue and funk. They all had the big band sound with lots of horns. Traditional rhythms of Dominica such as lapo kabwit or jing ping were not played by the big bands.
In the sixties, calypso and steelband music became very popular and indeed replaced lapo kabwit and chanté mas as the music of carnival, particularly in the capital Roseau. Many of the traditional carnival songs were performed in the new calypso beat. Calypsonians and calypso monarch competitions emerged and became extremely popular. Steelbands emerged all around the country. The older musicians and bands had moved on and were replaced by the younger musicians. Bands such as Swinging Stars, The Gaylords, De Boys an Dem, Los Caballeros and Swinging Busters surfaced and began to cut records. The emergence of radio, first WIDBS and later Radio Dominica helped to spread the music.
It was in the sixties that the trend towards drawing on original music, traditional music and songs of Dominica began. This was probably best exemplified by the music of the Gaylords and to a lesser extent, De Boys and Dem. Gaylords unleashed a string of hits such as "DouvanJou", "Ti Mako", songs in Kwéyòl as well as powerful nationalist songs in English, as "Lovely Dominica" and "Pray for the Blackman". These songs were performed to calypso rhythms and later the new reggae beat coming out of Jamaica.
In the late sixties and early seventies, the influence of rock, soul and funk music from the United States was reflected in our contemporary dance music. New groups originating from mainly the high school student population emerged. Groups such as Every Mother's Child, Woodenstool and Voltage Four specialized in rock and funk. The Latin-rock music of Carlos Santana and Afro-rock music of Osibisa became powerful influences on our younger bands, and were very popular in the dance halls.
The Cadence Era
In the early sixties, Haitian musicians introduced to the Caribbean, specifically, Dominica & the French Antilles (Guadeloupe and Martinique) the kadans or compas, a sophisticated form of music that quickly swept the islands and helped unite all the former French colonies of the Caribbean by combining their cultural influences. In the early 1970s, the Dominican band Exile One was born. Its members were top rate Dominican musicians originating from bands such as Woodenstool, Voltage and De Boys and Dem. Exile One popularized a style of cadence music called cadence-lypso by combining the Haitian compas/cadence rampa and the Trinidadian calypso, however, most of the bands repertoire was kadans. The band also featured Jamaican reggae and others.
There was a virtual explosion of kadans bands - Exile One, Grammacks, Liquid Ice, Midnight Groovers, Black Affairs, Black Machine, Mantra, Belles Combo, Milestone, Wafrikai, Black roots, Black Blood, Naked Feet and Mammouth among others. Leading vocalists of the period include Gordon Henderson, Jeff Joseph, Marcel "Chubby" Marc, Anthony Gussie, Mike Moreau, Tony Valmond, Linford John, Bill Thomas, SinkyRabess and Janet Azouz among others. Cadence-lypso music became popular in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti and other islands in the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa, blazing a pathway for the development of related styles such as zouk and soca music.
The music of Santana and Osibisa also influenced this new form as evidenced in the use of guitars, keyboards, horns and percussion. At that time too, the society was in nationalist ferment. The Black Power and Rastafarian Movements, with their black pride, pro-African and anti-colonial ideological positions, influenced the young musicians tremendously. This was reflected in the music in terms of band names such as Wafrikai, Black Machine, Black Roots, Black Affairs and Black Blood, a definitive identification with blackness, with Africa. This was reflected in the melody, in the use of certain instruments such as keyboards, guitars and horns. This was also reflected in lyrical content, the positive, nationalist and social commentary of cadence-lypso. Songs like "TwaveyPouAnyen" which addressed the rigours of slavery, impacted on our collective consciousness more than the politicians or Black Power advocates ever could. Cadence-lypso reflected and exuded the nationalist ferment of the seventies.
There were a number of other important aspects of cadence-lypso music which impacted on our culture and society as well as the future direction of Dominica's contemporary music. Cadence-lypso used the Kwéyòl language as its prime means of expression, again feeding into our language traditions and our folk song traditions. Oral traditions such as proverbs were every much utilized in the music. Cadence-music united the generations. It was popular among the young and the old. This music was popular among the older folk because of its similarity or relationship to rhythms of jing ping music and the use of the Kwéyòl language. For the younger people, this music represented a truly Dominican music which was making Dominica famous overseas and was also serving as a platform of protest against the ills of society and for conscious-raising.
The period of the eighties saw the demise of most Dominican bands of the Cadence-lypso era. During that period, Ophelia emerged and became Dominica's first kadans female singer to achieve international star status. The same too can be said of her with respect to the French Antilles. Gordon Henderson, Jeff Joseph and Julie Mourillon were all pursuing solo careers and releasing albums.
By the mid-eighties, there emerged two powerful influences on our contemporary dance music. Firstly, the Digital new compas music sound and the fast carnival zouk music pioneered by Kassav of Guadeloupe and Martinique became popular in Dominica. Kassav' was formed in 1979 by Pierre-Edouard Décimus (former musicians from the Les Vikings de Guadeloupe) and Paris studio musician Jacob F. Desvarieux. Together and under the influence of well-known Dominican and Guadeloupean kadans or compas bands like Experience 7, Grammacks and Exile One,3 they decided to make Guadeloupean carnival music and record it in a more fully orchestrated yet modern and polished style.
Kassav' created its own style by introducing an eleven-piece gwo ka unit and two lead singers, tambour, ti bwa, biguine, cadence-lypso: calypso and mostly cadence or compas with full use of the MIDI technology. In the 1980s they took Caribbean music to another level by recording in the new digital format. Their first album, Love and Ka Dance (1980), established the sound of zouk. Zouk's use of the Kwéyòl language, its rhythmic connections to cadence-lypso and its excellent technical and sound quality, were the main reasons for its success.
The second major influence was soca music. New bands such as WCK, First Serenade and RSB emerged playing zouk and soca. With regards to instruments, the horns were replaced by keyboard synthesizers and the drums by drum machines. The new musicians were largely untrained and lacking in the nationalist consciousness of the seventies. It was only in calypso and in the newly developing performance poetry that the social commentary was still to be found in the music of the eighties.
In the eighties, there was also the beginnings of exploring the lapo kabwit and jing ping rhythms by the newly regrouped Exile One, a trend which deepened in the nineties.
The Godfather of Soca was Trinidadian Lord Shorty. A prolific musician, composer and innovator, Shorty experimented with fusing calypso and elements of Indo-Caribbean music for nearly a decade before unleashing "the soul of calypso,"...soca music.
Shorty was the first to really define his music and with "Indrani" in 1973 and "Endless Vibration" (not just the song but the entire album) in 1975, calypso music really took off in another direction. Later in 1975 Shorty visited his good friend Maestro in Dominica where he stayed (at Maestro's house) for a month while they visited and worked with local cadence artists. You had Maestro experimenting with Calypso and Cadence ("Cadence-lypso"). Sadly a year later Maestro would die in an accident in Dominica and his loss was palpably felt by Shorty, who penned "Higher World" as a tribute.
Shorty had been in Dominica during an Exile One performance of cadence-lypso, and collaborated with Dominica's 1969 Calypso King, Lord Tokyo and two calypso lyricists, Chris Seraphine and Pat Aaron in the early 1970s, who wrote him some creole lyrics. Soon after Shorty released a song, "Ou Petit", with words like "Ou dee moin ou petit Shorty" (meaning "you told me you are small Shorty"), a combination of calypso, cadence and kwéyòl. Shorty's 1974 Endless Vibrations and Soul of Calypso brought soca to its peak of international fame.
Soca's development includes its fusion of calypso, cadence, and Indian musical instruments—particularly the dholak, tabla and dhantal—as demonstrated in Shorty's classic compositions "Ïndrani" and "Shanti Om".
The Bouyon Generation
The nineties in Dominica have been dominated by a new musical form called bouyon music. Bouyon emerged from the attempt of the new generation bands like WCK to develop their own style. Bouyon in effect represents a fusion of zouk and soca music but also draws upon cadence-lypso, jing ping and lapo kabrit elements in terms of rhythm. Bouyon music is very dependent on the drum machine, cowbell and keyboards with guitars receding into the background. As such, it has a very strident rhythm and is aptly referred to as jump up music by the population in Guadeloupe and Martinique. Bouyon is truly that, music for jump up.
From a language perspective, Bouyon draws on English and Kwéyòl. The lyrics are very trivial. Bouyon involves chanting rather than singing and is very much influenced by dancehall-reggae-rap language style, coming out of Jamaica. Bouyon-muffin is an off shoot of this tendency. While bouyon lyrics comment on everyday life in the cultural sense, they are not explicitly social commentary in the political sense. The present crop of musicians do not have the rich cultural, political and nationalist experience of the seventies to draw on in their creativity. Bouyon perpetuates the wine and jam music trend sweeping the Caribbean at the moment.
With the emergence of bouyon music and tax concessions on musical instruments, new bands have emerged, including Seramix, Wassin Warriors, Rough and Ready and other lesser known bands in rural villages. All however use the same production formulas and thus sound alike. The emergence of computer-based recording studios in Dominica has meant a great increase in the production of local recordings. Unlike cadence-lypso, bouyon does not unite the generations. It is really the music of young people.
Recently, efforts have begun to revitalize cadence and creole music generally through the holding of the World Creole Music Festival here in Dominica. This festival attracts top bands of the French Creole-speaking world and in Africa. Exile One, Jeff Joseph//new Generation Grammacks, Anthony Gussie and Tony Valmond/Liquid Ice have released a number of albums as well as remastered vintage cadence hits of the 70s.
Dominica's terrain is rugged, which has fostered distinct regional traditions. The northern, eastern, southern, western and central parts of the island are music areas. The villages of Wesley and Marigot are also unique in their preservation of English language and music rather than the more French-based styles of the rest of the island.2
Dominican folk music is an oral tradition, learned informally through watching others perform. As of 1987, most performers of traditional music were either over fifty years old or under thirty-five, which indicates an ongoing revival of previously declining traditions.1 Music is evaluated based on both characteristics of the music, such as complex syncopated rhythms, as well as social factors, such as the ability of the performers to improvise and respond to their surroundings and to keep the audience excited and participating in the music.2
Characteristics of Dominican music include the West African use of call and response singing, clapping as a major part of rhythm and lyrical, dance and rhythmic improvisation. Lyrics are almost all in French Creole, and are traditionally sung by women (chantwèl), while the instrumental traditions are predominantly practiced by men. Drums, generically known as lapo kabwit, are the most prominent part of Dominica's instrumental tradition.2
Dominican folk music includes, most influentially, the French Antillean quadrille tradition, the jing ping style of dance music, as well as bélé and heel-and-toe polka. Traditional Carnival music includes chanté mas and lapo kabwit. Folk music on Dominica has historically been a part of everyday life, including work songs, religious music and secular, recreational music.4
The quadrille is one of the most important dance of the Dominican folk tradition, which also includes the lancer and distinctive forms of several dances, many of them derived from European styles. The bidjin (biguine), mereng (merengue), sotis (schottische), polka pil (pure polka), vals o vyenn (Viennese waltz) and mazouk (mazurka) are particularly widespread.2
Bélé are folk songs of West African origin, traditionally performed recreationally in the evening during the full moon, and more rarely, lavèyé (wakes). The bélé tradition has declined in the 20th and 21st century, but is still performed for holidays like Easter, Independence Day, Christmas, Jounen Kwéyòl and patron saint festivals held annually in the Parishes of Dominica, especially in the Fèt St.-Pierre and the Fèt St.-Isidore for fishermen and workers respectively.2
All bélé are accompanied by an eponymous drum, the tanbou bélé, along with the tingting (triangle) and chakchak (maracas). Bélés start with a lead vocalist (chantwèl), who is followed by the responsorial chorus (lavwa), then a drummer and dancers.5 Traditional dances revolve around stylized courtship between a male and female dancer, known as the kavalyé and danm respectively. The bélé song-dances include the bélé soté, bélé priòrité, bélé djouba, bélé contredanse, bélé rickety and bélé pitjé.2
The quadrille is a dance form that is an important symbol of French Antillean culture, not just in Dominica, but also Martinique, Guadeloupe and other Francophone islands. Dominican quadrilles are traditionally performed by four sets of couples in subscription picnics or dances, and in private parties. However, the quadrille tradition now only survives at holidays and festivals.2
The Dominican quadrille generally has four figures, the pastouwèl, lapoul, lété and latrinitez. Some regions of Dominica, such as Petite Savanne, are home to local variants such as the caristo. Many quadrilles are found across Dominica under a wide variety of names. In addition to the standard quadrille, the lancer is also an important Dominican dance.2
Accompaniment for the quadrille is provided by a four instrument ensemble called a jing ping band.
Jing Ping is a kind of folk music originated on the slave plantations of Dominica, also known colloquially as an accordion band. In Dominican folk music, jing ping bands accompany a circle dance called the flirtation, as well as the Dominican quadrille.
Jing ping bands are made up of a boumboum (boom pipe), syak or gwaj (scraper-rattle), tambal or tanbou (tambourine) and accordion. The double bass and banjo are also sometimes used.6 Bamboo flutes led the jing ping ensembles before the 1940s, when accordions were introduced. The Dominican flute tradition declined as a result, despite their additional use in serenades, until being revived after the National Independence Competitions.7
The chanté mas (masquerade song) tradition is based around pre-calypso Carnival music performed in a responsorial style by partygoers. The Dominican Carnival masquerade lasted for two days of parading through the streets, with a singer dancing backwards in front of the drummer on a tanbou lélé. Chanté mas lyrics are traditionally based on gossip and scandal, and addressed the personal shortcomings of others.2
Dominica's folk musical heritage includes work songs, storytelling, children's music and masquerade songs. Dominican work songs are accompanied by the tambou twavay drum, and are performed by workers while gathering fruit, building roads, fishing, moving a house or sawing wood. Many are responsorial, and are generally short and simple, with the lyrical text and rhythm tying into the work to be accompanied. On modern Dominica, work songs are rarely performed.2
The kont, or storytelling, folk tradition of Dominica was focused around entertainment for night-time festivals, funeral wakes and feasts and festivals. Modern kont is mostly performed during major festival competitions. Most kont storytellers work with local traditions, such as legends and history, and provide an ethical or moral message. A one line theme song, often based around a duet between two characters, recurs throughout most kont performances.8
Unlike most Dominican folk songs, children's songs and musical games are mostly in English. They were originally in the same Creole as the rest of the island, but have come to be primarily of English, Scottish, and Irish derivation. Children's musical traditions include ring games and circle dances, and music accompanied by thigh-slapping and circle dancing.9
The first internationally known bands from Dominica were 1970s groups like Exile One and Grammacks. These bands were the stars of the cadence-lypso scene, which was the first style of Dominican music to become popular across the Caribbean. By the 1980s, however, Martinican zouk and other styles were more popular. In 1988, WCK formed, playing an experimental fusion of cadence-lypso with the island’s jing ping sound. The result became known as bouyon, and has re-established Dominica in the field of popular music.4
Dominican popular music history can be traced back to the 1940s and 50s, when dance bands like the Casimir Brothers and later, The Swinging Stars, became famous across the island. Their music was a dance-oriented version of many kinds of Caribbean and Latin popular music, such as Cuban bolero, Brazilian samba, the merengue from the Dominican Republic, Trinidadian calypso, and American funk.
By the beginning of the 1960s, calypso and Trinidadian steelpan became the most popular styles of music on Dominica, replacing traditional Carnival music like chanté mas and lapo kabwit. Early recording stars from this era included Swinging Busters, The Gaylords, De Boys an Dem and Los Caballeros, while chorale groups also gained fans, especially Lajenne Etwal, Siflé Montan'y and the Dominica Folk singers.2 These early popular musicians were aided by the spread of radio broadcasting, beginning with WIDBS and later Radio Dominica.10
Of these early popular musicians, a few pioneering the use of native influences. The Gaylords’ hits, like “Ti Mako”, “Pray for the Blackman”, “Lovely Dominica” and “Douvan Jo”, were either English or the native Creole, kwéyòl. By the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s, American rock and roll, soul and funk had reached Dominica and left lasting influences. Funky rock-based bands like Voltage Four, Woodenstool and Every Mother's Child became popular.10
In the sixties, calypso and steelband music became very popular and indeed replaced lapo kabwit and chanté mas as the music of carnival, particularly in the capital Roseau. Many of the traditional songs were performed in the new calypso beat. Calypsonians and calypso monarch competitions emerged and became extremely popular. Steelbands emerged all around the country. The older musicians and bands had moved on and were replaced by the younger musicians. Bands such as Swinging Stars, The Gaylords, De Boys an Dem, Los Caballeros and Swinging Busters surfaced and began to cut records. The emergence of radio, first WIDBS and later Radio Dominica helped to spread the music.
Calypso has been popular in Dominica since the 1950s; the first Calypso King was crowned in 1959. Popular calypso in Dominica has always been closely associated with steelpan music. The first wave of Dominican steelpan includes bands like Esso, Shell and Regent, Vauxhall and Old Oak.
In the 1970s, a wave of Haitian, mostly musicians, to Dominica and the French Antilles (Guadeloupe and Martinique) brought with them the kadans, a sophisticated form of music that quickly swept the island and helped unite all the former French colonies of the Caribbean by combining their cultural influences. This was followed by mini-jazz like Les Gentlemen, Les Leopards, Les Vikings de Guadeloupe and others.
Later in the decade and into the 1980s, the French Antilles became home to a style of cadence music called cadence-lypso. Gordon Henderson's Exile One added to the guitar-dominated mini-jazz a full-horn sections and keyboard synthesizers, paving the way for the success of large groups like Grammacks, Experience 7, Kassav and others.
The most influential figure in the promotion of Cadence-lypso was the Dominican group Exile One(based on the island of Guadeloupe) that featured mostly the cadence rampa of Haiti and calypso music from the English speaking caribbean.11 It was pushed in the 1970s by groups from Dominica, and was the first style of Dominican music to find international acclaim.12
Dominica cadence music has evolved under the influence of Dominican and Caribbean/Latin rhythms, as well as rock and roll, soul, and funk music from the United States. By the end of the 1970s, Gordon Henderson defined Cadence-lypso as "a synthesis of Caribbean and African musical patterns fusing the traditional with the contemporary".
Aside from Exile One, other bands included the Grammacks, Black Roots, Black Machine, Naked Feet, Belles Combo, Mantra, Black Affairs, Liquid Ice, Wafrikai, Midnighte Groovers and Milestone, while the most famous singers included Bill Thomas, Chubby Marc, Gordon Henderson, Linford John, Janet Azouz, Sinky Rabess, Tony Valmond, Jeff Joseph, Mike Moreau and Anthony Gussie. Ophelia Marie is a popular singer of cadence-lypso in the 1980s.
Cadence-lypso was influenced by nationalist movement that espoused Rastafari and Black Power. Many groups performed songs with intensely ideological positions, and much of the repertoire was in the vernacular kwéyòl language.
Gordon Henderson, Exile One's leader and founder coined the name "Cadence-lypso" in his full band that used a full-horn section and was the first to use the synthesizers in kadans. Many mini-jazz from Haiti and the French Antilles followed this format. Exile One was the most promoted creole band of the Caribbean. The first to sign a production contract with major label Barclay Records. The first to export kadans music to the four corners of the globe: Japan, the Indian Ocean, Africa, North America, Europe, The Cape Verde islands.
During the 1980s, cadence-lypso’s popularity declined greatly. Some Dominican performers remained famous, such as Ophelia, a very renowned singer of the period. Popular music during this time was mostly zouk, a style pioneered by the French Antillean band Kassav, who used styles of folk music of Martinique and Guadeloupe. Soca, a kind of Trinidadian music, was also popular at the time, producing bands like Windward Caribbean Kulture. The 80s also saw a rise in popular for jazz and the formation of several jazz bands, while groups like Exile One began exploring tradition rhythms from jing ping and lapo kabwit.13
The inspiration for Zouk's style of rhythmic music comes from the Haitian compas, as well as music called cadence-lypso - Dominica cadence popularized by Grammacks and Exile One. Elements of gwo ka, tambour, ti bwa and biguine vidé are prominent in zouk. Though there are many diverse styles of zouk, some commonalities exist. The French Creole tongue of Martinique and Guadeloupe is an important element, and are a distinctive part of the music. Generally, zouk is based around star singers, with little attention given to instrumentalists, and is based almost entirely around studio recordings.
The band Kassav' remain the best known zouk group. Kassav' drew in influences from balakadri and bal granmoun dances, biguine's and mazurka's, along with more contemporary Caribbean influences like compas, reggae and salsa music. Zouk live shows soon began to draw on American and European rock and heavy metal traditions, and the genre spread across the world, primarily in developing countries.
Music authors Charles De Ledesma and Gene Scaramuzzo trace zouk's development to the Guadeloupean gwo ka and Martinican bèlè (tambour and ti bwa)14 folk traditions. Ethnomusicologist Jocelyn Guilbault, however, describes zouk as a synthesis of Caribbean popular styles, especially Dominica cadence-lypso, Haitian cadence, Guadeloupean biguine.15 Zouk arose in the late 1970s and early 1980s, using elements of previous styles of Antillean music, as well as imported genres.16
Zouk Love is the French Antilles cadence or compas music, characterized by a slow, soft and sexual rhythm. It has its origin in a slow tempo form of cadence sung by Ophelia Marie of Dominica. The lyrics of the songs often speak of love and sentimental problems.
The music kizomba from Angola and cabo-love from Cape Verde are also derivatives of this French Antillean compas music style, which sounds basically the same, although there are notable differences once you become more familiar with these genres. A main exponent of this sub-genré is Ophelia Marie of Dominica. Other Zouk Love artists come from the French West Indies, the Netherlands, and Africa.
Soca, a kind of Trinidadian music, was also popular at the time, producing bands like Windward Caribbean Kulture. The Godfather of soca is Lord Shorty. Shorty had been in Dominica during an Exile One performance of cadence-lypso, and collaborated with Dominica's 1969 Calypso King, Lord Tokyo and two calypso lyricists, Chris Seraphine and Pat Aaron in the early 1970s, who wrote him some creole lyrics. Soon after Shorty released a song, "Ou Petit", with words like "Ou dee moin ou petit Shorty" (meaning "you told me you are small Shorty"), a combination of calypso, cadence and kwéyòl. Soca's development includes its fusion of calypso, cadence, and Indian musical instruments—particularly the dholak, tabla and dhantal—as demonstrated in Shorty's classic compositions "Ïndrani" and "Shanti Om".
Bouyon soca:, sometimes referred to as Jump up soca, is a fusion-genre that typically blends old bouyon rhythms from the 90s' and soca music. This style of soca is mostly, but not exclusively produced in Dominica and Saint Lucia. Bouyon is a popular music of Dominica, also known as jump up music in Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Bouyon is a fusion of Jing ping, Cadence-lypso and traditional dances namely bèlè, Quadrille, chanté mas and lapo kabwit, Mazurka, Zouk and other styles of Caribbean music, developed by a band called Windward Caribbean Kulture (later WCK).17 WCK was among the most prominent of 80s Dominican soca bands. They began using native drum rhythms such as lapo kabwit and elements of the music of jing ping bands, as well as ragga-style vocals. Bouyon is popular across the Caribbean, and is known as jump up music in Guadeloupe and Martinique.
The best-known band in the genre was Windward Caribbean Kulture "WCK"citation needed in 1988 by experimenting a fusion of Jing Ping and Cadence-lypso. While the Cadence-lypso sound is based on the creative usage of acoustic drums, an aggressive up-tempo guitar beat, and strong social commentary in the local Creole language, this new music created by the "WCK" band focused more on the use of modern technology with strong emphasis on keyboard rhythmic patterns.
A modern offshoot of bouyon is bouyon-muffin, uses more prominient elements of the Jamaican raggamuffin music. Elements of Hip hop and Dancehall are incoperated into the genre - a style dubbed reketeng music.
WCK (Windward Caribbean Kulture) is one of the most prominent popular musicians of Dominica, and has performed styles such as bouyon and soca.
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Religious music, influenced by American gospel, has become an important part of Dominican popular music in the 1990s. Calypso has also retained much popularity in Dominica, as has Jazz. The band Impact has fused jazz with Caribbean music. Other styles include steelpan, which has declined popularity despite the efforts of groups like Dancehall.10
The Caribbean Carnival is an important part of the Dominican culture. Originally featuring masquerade songs (chanté mas) and other local traditions, traditional Carnival, Mas Domnik, came to be dominated by imported calypso music and steel bands in the early 1960s; calypso appealed to Carnival-goers because the lyrical focus on local news and gossip was similar to that of chanté mas, despite a rhythmic pattern and instrumentation which contrast sharply with traditional Dominican Mas Domnik music. After a fire in 1963, the traditional Carnival was banned, though calypso and steelpan continued to grow in popularity.2 Modern Carnival on Dominica takes place on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, and is a festive occasion during which laws against libel and slander are suspended. The modern Dominican Carnival is heavily based on the Trinidadian celebration, but is not as commercialized due to a lack of corporate sponsorship.18
The World Creole Music Festival takes place on the island of Dominica, in Festival City, Roseau, which is run by the governmental Dominica Festivals Commission.19 The National Independence Competitions are an important part of Dominican musical culture. They were founded by Chief Minister of Dominica Edward Olivier Leblanc in 1965, and promote the traditional music and dance of Dominica. The government of Dominica also promotes Dominican music through the Dominican Broadcasting Station, which broadcasts between 20% and 25% local music as a matter of policy.2
- Cameron, Sarah (1996). Caribbean Islands Handbook with the Bahamas. Passport Books. ISBN 0-8442-4907-6.
- Guilbault, Jocelyne (1999). "Dominica". Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Volume 2. Routledge. pp. 840–844. ISBN 0-8153-1865-0.
- "Bouyon Music". Music in Dominica. Retrieved December 3, 2005.
- "Dominica's Quadrilles". Division of Culture. Retrieved December 3, 2005.
- Philip, Daryl (1986). Twenty Years of Traditional/Folk Dance in Dominica. Thesis for a certificate in dance education. Jamaica School of Dance. cited in Guilbault, pp 840–844.
- Guilbault, pp 840–844.
- Neva Wartell. "Zouk - Tracing the History of the Music to its Dominican Roots". The Dominican. Reprinted from National Geographic. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- "Some Instruments Used In Traditional Music". Division of Culture. Retrieved December 3, 2005.
- > "YouTube:Dominican bèlè". YouTube:Dominican bèlè. Retrieved September 10, 2005.
- Division of Culture is the source for the term accordion band and confirms the primary instrumentation with Guilbault, pp. 840–844; Guilbault does not confirm the use of double bass or banjo.
- Cardinal, José. La Flûte de Bambou dans Quatres Îsles des Antilles (Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominique et Sainte-Lucie). Master's thesis. Université de Montréal. cited in Guilbault, pg. 842
- Caudeiron, Maude "Cissie" (1988). "Music and Songs of Dominica". In Lennox Honychurch (ed.). Our Island Culture. Barbados: Letchworth Press. pp. 48–54. cited in Guilbault, pp 840–844
- Stubbs, Norris (1973). Survey of the Folk Music of Dominica. Roseau: Dominica Arts Council, Hilton Services. and Okada, Yuki. JVC Smithsonian Folkways Video Anthology of Music and Dance of the Americas, 4 (1995). The Caribbean (Video). Montpelier, Vermont: Multicultural Media VTMV-228. both cited in Guilbault, pp 840–844.
- "Contemporary Music In Dominica: 1950–2000". Division of Culture. Retrieved December 3, 2005.
- Jocelyne Guilbault. Zouk: world music in the West Indies. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
- Jocelyne Guilbault. Zouk: world music in the West Indies. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- > Exile One exploring tradition rhythms from jing ping and lapo kabwit. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- "Martinican bèlè". YouTube. Retrieved September 10, 2005.
- Guilbault, Jocelyn, Gage Averill, Édouard Benoit and Gregory Rabess, Zouk: World Music in the West Indies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), cited in Manuel, pg. 142
- Jocelyne Guilbault. Zouk: world music in the West Indies. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- "Bouyon Music". Music in Dominica. Retrieved December 3, 2005.
- Cameron, pg. 658
- "Our Festivals and Events". Dominica Festivals. Archived from the original on November 27, 2005. Retrieved December 3, 2005.