By Peter Manuel

The contradance and the quadrille, of their various varieties, have been the most well-liked and demanding genres of creole Caribbean song and dance within the 19th century. during the zone, they have been websites of interplay for musicians and musical parts of alternative racial, social, and ethnic origins, they usually grew to become crucibles for the evolution of genres just like the Cuban danzon and son, the Dominican merengue, and the Haitian mereng. Creolizing Contradance within the Caribbean, the 1st booklet to discover this phenomenon intimately and with a pan-regional viewpoint, comprises chapters at the Spanish-, French-, and English-speaking Caribbean. each one covers the musical and choreographic positive aspects, social dynamics, old improvement, and importance of the genres and discusses them relating to the wider Caribbean ancient context.

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Additional resources for Creolizing Contradance in the Caribbean (Studies In Latin America & Car)

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Regiments brought from one island to another exchanged musical materials with the populations of the areas they were posted in. Oral traditions also attribute several genres to specific military occasions, including the Haitian and Dominican carabinier/carabiné (supposedly first danced by carbine-wielding Haitian soldiers invading Santo Domingo in 1805), or the merengue (allegedly first created as a song mocking a cowardly Dominican general after an 1844 battle against the Haitians). Military bands also provided much of the instruments, the musical training, and the orchestration models for smaller dance bands in the nineteenth century.

Most of these laborers came from Jamaica and elsewhere in the English-speaking West Indies, but Haitian workers are the likely source for the Garifuna contradance style called “kujai,” presumably from the Haitian coup d’ jaill (Kreyòl: koudjay) discussed in Chapter 6. Connections between the contradanza (especially “danza”) efflorescences in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic are especially overt and are scarcely surprising given the shared European origins of these traditions and the historical links between the three sites themselves.

A variety of factors may explain the different patterns of musical creolization in the different colonial zones of the Caribbean. One argument would attribute the early and more intensive creolization in the Spanish and perhaps French Caribbean to a more open cultural attitude on the part of the colonists. The early Iberian colonists, unlike the bourgeois, more economically advanced English, were in some ways premodern, precapitalist people who, however racist in their own way, seem to have recognized Africans as human beings with their own culture.

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