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A Glossary of Musical Styles Heard on The Shake and Bake Show
from the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians


A style of music, dance and song of the southern and eastern Caribbean. Its main development has been in Trinidad alongside the evolution of Carnival celebrations there. Its origins go back to the gayup, a West African work song brought to the West Indies by plantation slaves, with a call and response structure and a lead singer called a chantwell ( chantuelle, shantrelle, shantwell). When sung at competitive events the gayup often had two sections, the first celebrating victory and the second pouring scorn on the losers; both features are still found in calypso performances, as is the call of ‘kaiso', a West African cry of encouragement (the word cayso was used for early forms of calypso).

Musically calypso resembles the Brazilian samba; it is in duple metre, well suited to Caribbean ‘jump up' dancing and Carnival road marches. Most modern calypsos are in the major mode; earlier ones were slower and tended to be in minor mode (locally called ‘me-minor' calypsos). Many have choruses involving enthusiastic group participation. Calypsos are typically played by steel bands, with groups of up to 150 pans accompanying Carnival street dancing, and smaller steel bands or dance band instruments playing for smaller groups on streets and for indoor dancing. From the 19th century calypso lyrics functioned as oral newspapers, with social and political comment, satirical treatment of scandal and topical themes. The words are witty with much double entendre. In keeping with the Carnival tradition of the reversal of power structures and hierarchies, calypsonians adopted sobriquets symbolizing their ability and status. Until the mid-20th century calypso lyrics remained largely local in subject matter, but with the arrival in Britain of emigrants from the West Indies such calypsonians as ‘Lord Kitchener' (Aldwyn Roberts) began to include international themes.

A history of territorial struggle and the defiance of colonial authority lies within calypso. In the days of slavery Carnival was a time of rival celebrations among planters and slaves; the French planters maintained the Catholic tradition of celebrating Lent with masquerade balls and processions, while the slaves, with their permission, set up alternative processions based on West African end-of-harvest celebrations. From this came the tradition of a torchlit procession called canboulay (from Fr. cannes brles) at midnight on Shrove Tuesday. With emancipation in 1834 elements from the two forms of Carnival merged; the masquerades became part of street processions and the gayup became calypso. Other influences on calypso were the early ‘cariso' and ‘caliso', improvised songs for pre-emancipation Creole drum dances such as the ‘belair' and the ‘old kalenda', as well as the ‘bongo' wake dance and the ‘paseo' of Venezuela. With English the language of political control in Trinidad in the 19th and early 20th centuries, French Creole was viewed by the authorities as subversive. Calypsos, sung wholly or partly in French Creole, became associated with kalendas ( kalindas), the activities of stick-fighting batoniers whose combats were accompanied by percussion and boasting songs, with chantwells egging on and commenting on the action. By the 1870s large bands of stick-fighters marched against each other at Carnival time, asserting their neighbourhood identities and territorial dominance. The role of singer gradually became separate from that of the parading bands. By the 1930s competing teams of singers were performing in ‘calypso tents', with new topical compositions each year; each session ended with a verbal ‘war' in which singers in turn improvised stanzas glorifying themselves and disparaging their rivals. Although this tradition is no longer practised, some sound recordings were made. Prizes are still given to the best calypsos each year at the Dimanche Gras show on the Sunday before Lent.


A dance and song genre of Uruguay. The word ‘candombe' (not to be confused with Brazilian camdombl) has had various different but related meanings throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. In the colonial era it denoted the musical practices of the black communities; from the 1930s onwards it has described phenomena associated with the llamada (drum call) of the tamboriles, while in modern times it has designated a song whose rhythm is compatible with the drummed llamada so that it can be superimposed over it.

During the 1940s the term had two further meanings: the first as a form conserved by the conjuntos lubolos, black societies in the official Carnival celebrations of Montevideo (together with milongn and other Afro-Brazilian or Afro-Cuban genres); the second is associated with the ‘traditional', mainly white tango orchestras (especially those of the River Plate), whose repertory - particularly its ‘milonguero', or festive, aspect - was readily compatible with the drummed rhythms of the llamada of the tamboriles.

In the 1950s, when the tango candombe trend was in decline, a third candombe type emerged in the repertory of dance bands strongly influenced by commercial Afro-Cuban dance music, such as those led by Amando Orfice (the Lecuona, later Havana, Cunam Boy), Dmaso Prez Prado and Xavier Cugat. Pedrito Ferreira (Pedro Rafael Tabares, 1910-80), with his Orquesta Cubanacn, became known as the ‘Candombe King' as a result of his Birincunyamba, an erstwhile carnival troupe song that became an anthem for the Montevidean black community in 1956.

From the mid-1960s to the early 70s the candombe evolved further with the development of a fusion between the candombe of the conjuntos lubdos and of the ‘tropical' dance bands with influences deriving from principally from jazz, but also from rock, Brazilian bossa nova and even Indian tabla drums as popularized by the Beatles.

The black composer and singer Rubn Rada was one of the most prominent innovative musicians with the singer, guitarist and composer Eduardo Mateo (1940-90). For a short period in the mid-1960s they established El Kinto, a rock- candombe fusion band that exerted a key influence within the rich creative movement in Uruguay of the period. As a result of subtle racial prejudice at the time, despite the influence of his band Ttem and his recordings, Rada remained a cult figure, but with a small audience, until the 1990s, since when his lyricism and vocal virtuosity has attracted a wider following. Other musicians following in his wake included rock virtuosi Hugo Fattoruso and and his brother Osvaldo (George), who with Hugo (Ringo) Thielman, formed the cult band Opa.

During the repressive period of military dictatorship (1967-85), another group of performers developed a new way of performing candombe with guitar instead of the tamboriles, or drum, to accompany sung candombe by musicians (including Los Olimareos and Alfredo Zitarrosa (1936-89)), who were associated with a new popular song movement whose roots lay in folk music. From the mid-1970s onwards this strand was further cultivated by younger musicians such as Pajarito (Carlos) Canzani while new musical developments came in particular from groups such as Los Que Iban Cantando, Rumbo and singer Leo Maslah. In the 1980s Jaime Roos ( b 1953) enjoyed enormous success by fusing together different candombe currents, notably the llamada drums with solo guitar, becoming one of the most popular musicians since the tango star Carlos Gardel from the 1920s and Los Olimareos in the 1960s. By the mid-1980s with his band Repique, Roos was creating a new dance music, working with the older folk musician El Sabalero (Jos Carbajal, b 1944) who, like many others of his generation, had returned from a long period of exile.


A local and popular music and dance form of East Indian culture in the Caribbean. In the Indo-Caribbean communities of Guyana, Surinam and Trinidad the term chutney traditionally denoted light, fast and often ribald songs in Bhojpuri, a dialect of Hindi, set to variants of the four-beat t\x{0101}la known in India as Kaharv\x{0101}. Chutney songs were most typically performed, often with lewd dancing, by women in sexually segregated contexts at weddings and childbirth festivities. In Trinidad in the mid-1980s chutney, as performed by a solo vocalist with harmonium, d\x{0101}ndt\x{0101}l (a metal rod struck with a clapper) and dholak (barrel drum), became widely popular as a social music and dance genre, enjoyed by both men and women at large public ftes and weddings. In the next decade a hybrid genre called chutney-soca emerged which incorporated dance-band instruments, modern calypso rhythms and mixed Hindi and English lyrics. Although controversial, chutney-soca has become popular among many Creoles as well as Indo-Caribbeans and its appeal has spread to the Indo-Caribbean communities in North America.


The principal traditional musical style of the Columbian Atlantic coast region is the cumbia, with its related genres, porro and vallenato. In the traditional dance known as cumbia proper, couples dance in a circle around seated musicians. The woman dances with shuffling steps, the man in a more animated zigzag pattern around her; there is much hip movement and the couples occasionally pass back to back. The cumbia is traditionally performed at night, lit by the bundles of candles that each dancing woman holds in a colored handkerchief in her right hand. Although this practice is still maintained in remoter parts of the Atlantic coast region, traditional cumbia is now maintained primarily by folklore troupes, performing at Carnival and other festivals.

The accompaniment for the cumbia is provided by either of two ensembles: the conjunto de cumbia (or cumbiamba) and the conjunto de gaitas. The first consists of five instruments. The only melody instrument is the caa de millo (‘cane of millet'), known locally as the pito, a transverse clarinet consisting of a tube open at both ends with four finger-holes pierced near one end and a reed cut from the tube itself near the other end. The reed and the area of the tube immediately adjacent to it are covered by the mouth in playing. This instrument is a modified version of similar millet-cane clarinets of the Sudanic regions of Africa. In most cases the Colombian instrument is now made of caa de lata, the thin trunk of a small palm tree. The remaining four instruments of the ensemble are percussion. The tambor mayor and the llamador are single-headed drums of different sizes. The tambor mayor is held between the legs and played with both hands, the llamador on one knee and played with one hand. Both are of African origin. A third drum, the bombo, has two heads attached in the same manner but tuned by a connecting rope lace. It is played with two sticks without heads or balls and is hit on either the right head or on the wood of the shell. The right hand usually strikes the head and the left the shell but both may strike either. Similar instruments are found in both Europe and Africa. The fifth player shakes one or two rattles; usually these are guaches (tubular rattles) made of bamboo or tin and filled with dried seeds, but sometimes large, round maracas are used instead.


African popular music genre performed by the Yoruba of south-west Nigeria. Jj music combines indigenous praise-singing and proverbs, the flowing rhythms of social dance drumming and the traditional rhetorical role of the Yoruba talking drum with a variety of foreign influences, including electric guitars and synthesizers, African American soul music, country and western music and themes from Indian film music. Jj is performed in a variety of social contexts, including urban nightclubs and life-cycle celebrations such as naming ceremonies, weddings and funerals.

Jj music emerged during the early 1930s in the colonial capital of Lagos. The typical ensemble during this early period was a trio consisting of a leader who sang and played the banjo, a shekere bottle-gourd rattle player and a jj (tambourine) drummer. The melodic and harmonic materials of early jj were influenced by Yoruba folksongs, Christian hymns and contemporaneous urban genres such as palm wine guitar and ashiko music. The pioneers of jj music included Tunde King ( b 1910), who in 1936 made the first recordings to bear the name of the genre, and Ayinde Bakare, a Yoruba migrant who began recording on the HMV label in 1937.

The first major change in jj performing practice was the introduction in 1948 of the talking drum, with its traditional repertory of proverbs and praise-names. The increasing availability of amplified instruments and microphones catalyzed an expansion of ensembles during the 1950s, enabling musicians to incorporate more percussion instruments without upsetting the aural balance between singing and instrumental accompaniment. By the early 1960s, a typical jj band included eight or nine musicians. The channelling of singing and guitar through cheap and infrequently serviced tube amplifiers and speakers augmented the dense textures and buzzing timbres of the music. The most influential jj musician of the 1960s was i.k. Dairo (1930-96), an Ijesha Yoruba musician who had a series of hit records around the time of Nigerian Independence (1960). Dairo's recordings for the Decca company were so popular that he was awarded the MBE in 1963.

The most important jj performer during the closing decades of the 20th century was ‘king' sunny Ad ( b 1946), who expanded his group to include 16 musicians; the instruments used included five guitars, a keyboard synthesizer, two talking drums and a variety of percussion instruments, and the group also included four chorus vocalists. Ad, who was nicknamed ‘Golden Mercury of Africa, Minister of Enjoyment', became one of a small number of Nigerian popular musicians to achieve significant success in the international market. In 1982 Island Records released the album Jj Music, which reportedly sold 200,000 copies worldwide; but subsequent releases were less successful, and Ad lost his contract with Island later in the 1980s. At the end of the 1990s, he continued to play to mass audiences in Nigeria and occasionally toured the United States and Europe.

A contemporary jj band comprises three main sections made up of singers, percussionists and guitarists. The singers stand in a line at the front of the band; the praise-singer or ‘band captain' stands in the middle, flanked on either side by chorus singers. The percussion section includes from one to three talking drums, several conga drums, a set of bongos played with light sticks (‘double toy'), a shekere bottle gourd rattle, maracas and an agogo iron bell. Larger and well-financed bands may also include ‘jazz drums' (a trap set). These large bands help to boost the reputation of patrons who hire them to perform at parties; they play a role in sustaining an idealized image of Yoruba society as a flexible hierarchy.


A dance of Venezuela, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It combines rural, folk and urban popular traditions. In the Dominican Republic it was originally the music of the peasantry, people who were marginalized politically, socially and economically in the country despite being a majority. In the Trujillo years, the merengue of Cibao was promoted as a national dance in ballroom adaptation; its status was raised to that of the folk music which most represented the country's identity, so that by the late 20th century it had become a symbol of national identity, epitomizing the creolism of Dominican culture.

Merengue may by played by merengue orquestas (large urban ensembles). As rural traditional merengue tpico or perico ripiao, it was formerly played on stringed instruments of the guitar family but is now performed using the accordion, the gira or guaya (scraper), the tambora (double-headed hand drum) and sometimes the marimba or the marmbola (large lamellophone). Accompaniment can be in duple and triple metres, sometimes creating 5/8 effects. Afro-Cuban cinquillo and tresillo rhythmic figures are predominant. Early merengue lyrics from the mid-19th century typically concerned current events of local or national import. With a call-and-response vocal structure, often regional in subject matter, the verses of the merengue use typical Hispanic copla (quatrain) and estribillo (refrain) form in a European-style couple dance with African influence, involving hip and pelvis movements. Following the death of Trujillo, who while promoting merengue had repressed popular music's function as social commentary by forbidding song texts not supporting his regime, song texts again began to address a wide range of topics.


The modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora. It also refers specifically to a rhythmic format that originated in 1968, sparked a worldwide cultural trend in the 1970s, and has continued as the bedrock of the digital forms that have come to dominate Jamaican pop music.

Reggae origins

The origins of reggae are found in Mento, Jamaica's Cuban-inflected calypso music that dates from the late 19th century. Mento was a celebratory, rural folk form that served its largely rural audience as dance music and an alternative to the hymns and adapted chanteys of local church singing. As the Jamaican population began to shift in the late 1950s, urban migration and the social changes that accompanied industrialization created a demand for a faster, electrified dance music. In the capital of Kingston and in the larger island towns, entrepreneurs set up mobile sound systems to bring in the powerful rhythm and blues of American stars like Fats Domino and Louis Jordan. By 1959, as rhythm and blues declined under the commercial shock wave of rock and roll, local record producers sought a new dance music. Absorbing the instrumentation of the swing bands and the pulse of rhythm and blues, infused with bass-driven mento, Jamaican musicians developed a native rhythm called Ska. This used a 4/4 shuffle rhythm close to classic rhythm and blues, with an afterbeat originally played on piano, whose sound the term sought to approximate. In these ensembles, horns and reeds emphasize the guitar's chordal beat, and the trombone came to dominate solo sections after the Jamaican virtuoso Don Drummond rose to prominence around 1960, playing with the leading band, the Skatalites. In the early 1960s, Ska songs like Oh Carolina captivated Jamaica and helped launch a proud post-independence cultural identity, while the style also followed a generation of Jamaicans to England, where the music was known as bluebeat.

Members of the Skatalites quickly became local celebrities as they began to identify with a new millenarian religion spreading through the shantytowns of western Kingston. The Rastafarians, who worshipped the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I and preached redemption through African repatriation, began to capture the imaginations of Jamaican artists who saw in the movement a viable spiritual nationality and a soulful alternative to the black power movements sweeping the cities of North America.

By the mid-1960s, popular singers were the heroes of the western Kingston ghettos where new musical forms were created. Singers like Desmond Dekker and Joe Higgs trained the young vocal harmony trios, patterned after the Chicago soul group the Impressions, and who would soon take over the music. Trios like the Wailers and the Clarendonians developed close harmony styles in a milieu where musical instruments were scarce and expensive, and electricity was not supplied. As the turbulence of the decade spread through the ghettoes and anarchic youth went to war against society and each other, the ska singers turned to protest, spawning the Rude Boy movement, with uptempo ska-style songs of caution (like the Wailers' Simmer Down), judgment and incarceration. By 1967, the ska tempo had slowed to almost half its early metre, and Jamaican music changed again. Horns faded from the texture, replaced by bubbling, monochromatic guitar figures, and the drum and the bass-line also became locked together. Called Rock steady, it bears traces of resurgent American soul music, with new sounds from Latin America, especially the bossa nova and samba nova of Brazil. Social commentary in the form of increased calls for justice and equality became the norm of rock steady. Most crucially, the electric bass became the most important instrument of the rock steady ensemble. Rhythmic statement and strength took priority over melodic and harmonic considerations. As the foundation of the reggae bass aesthetic, the electric bass was a talking drum that played a definite rhythm, but did not necessarily play a distinct melody line. A great number of the most seminal bass lines (‘riddims') underpinning reggae are the work of Leroy Sibbles, who played bass in ‘Sir Coxone' Dodd's Studio One band in this period.

Reggae: 1968-75

The reggae beat and the word applied to it both date from approximately 1968, when the vocal group the Maytals released the single Do the Reggay in Kingston, in which the rock steady pulse was slowed down. A new regular two-chord guitar pattern provided persistent counterpoint to the bass and drum riddims. The chords of the guitar and keyboard were meshed so that their accents took on reggae's characteristic pulse-like metre. Producer Clement ‘Sir Coxone' Dodd has said that the beat and the sound evolved spontaneously during rehearsals within the recording milieu of Kingston, where, in addition to Dodd, producers Lee ‘Scratch' Perry and Leslie Kong maintained groups of players who cross-pollinated musical ideas in the city's clubs and nightspots. The Maytals' lead singer Frederick ‘Toots' Hibbert, credited with the first use of the word reggae, defined the term: ‘Reggae just mean comin' from the people, an everyday thing, like from the ghetto. When you say reggae you mean regular, majority. And when you say reggae it means poverty, suffering, Rastafari, everything in the ghetto. It's music from the rebels, people who don't have what they want'.

In its formative years, reggae stayed mostly in Jamaica, with a few of the island's singers, such as Jimmy Cliff and Desmond Dekker, occasionally heard on radio in Europe and North America. In 1972 the locally produced film The Harder They Come, starring Cliff and featuring performances by other Jamaican artists, achieved cult status in metropolitan music markets. Using proceeds from his English rock music business, Island Records' Chris Blackwell pledged international backing to reggae music and especially to its rising star, the singer and writer bob Marley. As leader of the Wailers vocal trio and band, Marley (1945-81) had been active in Jamaican music since 1962 and had worked with all the leading producers, including Coxone, Leslie Kong and, most successfully, Lee Perry. Heavily influenced by James Brown and the tenets of Rastafarianism, Marley's rebellious lyrics and piercing tenor voice, joined to the infectious swing of the Wailers' band, propelled reggae into cultural arenas all over the world. Beginning in 1973 the Wailers began to experiment with reggae forms in order to appeal to international audiences. By 1975 the re-named Bob Marley and the Wailers accelerated the basic reggae tempo, and added blues-heavy, amplified rock guitar and a gospel-inflected female trio, the I-Threes, to help propel Marley's messages of personal liberation and human rights. The Wailers also integrated the archaic African-Jamaican hand-drumming Burru rhythms, which had been absorbed by the burgeoning Rastafarian movement, into their cosmopolitan reggae ensemble. Throughout the 1970s and into the 80s albums such as Exodus (1977), Survival (1979) and Uprising (1980) established Bob Marley as the leading figure of reggae and a Third World prophet with a worldwide audience.

Reggae: 1975 onwards

While Bob Marley served as the spearhead of the reggae movement, in the 1970s other musicians began to transform the music. In 1975 the drummer Carlton ‘Santa' Davis originated the flying cymbals or ‘flyers' reggae pattern. While his left hand played the steady reggae beat, his right hand played the half-open hi-hat cymbal in a sizzling pattern of afterbeats. The following year, drummer Sly Dunbar and bass player Robbie Shakespeare, in association with Dunbar's mentor, the drummer Leroy ‘Horsemouth' Wallace, began to play an even faster reggae style, known as rockers, or militant. More strictly patterned than before, this style featured a military-sounding snare figure on top of an eight-to-the-bar marching figure on the bass drum. With the advent of the rockers style, the original ticking reggae beat was relegated to a rhythmic category styled roots reggae, where it languishes today as a respected if dated form.

As it branched out internationally, reggae still had to serve the needs of its home audience in Jamaica, which continued to get its local dance music from mobile sound systems, as opposed to live performances, and which underlines the origin of reggae as a recorded music rather than a performed one. In the late 1960s and early 70s, sound system DJs began to talk over the instrumental passages of the records they were playing, spreading messages of comically exaggerated braggadocio and social awareness, and developing into popular entertainers rivalling the leading singers of the day. To accommodate early talking DJs like U Roy, I Roy and Big Youth, reggae producers began to release singles whose flip-sides contained a version of the same song with the original vocals dubbed-out, or deleted, by the studio engineer. Consequently, the DJs could ‘toast' or ‘rap' over the pared-down drum and bass riddim. These versions, sometimes enhanced with echo and sound effects, quickly became a popular new form, known as dub, which evolved in time into various forms of pop, including Techno. The rapping Jamaican DJs in turn heavily influenced the early practitioners of American rap music.

Bob Marley's death in 1981 from cancer signaled a broad change in reggae. While pop singers like Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown crooned a sub-genre known as lovers rock, DJs like Yellowman injected a misogynistic stream of boasting and invective into the music. Soon this ‘slackness' style merged with the new digitized rhythms called dancehall. Dancehall originated around 1982 when a Jamaican producer accidentally sped up the pre-set reggae rhythm on a digital synthesizer and became intrigued by the possibilities of mechanizing the essential beat. This style has ruled Jamaican music ever since, spawning other pop variations such as bam bam, effectively dancehall without bass as the guitar carries the rhythm with the drums, and ragga, played solely on digitized instruments. Roots reggae, however, remains the heartbeat of Jamaica, and no other modern form of popular music can claim reggae's astonishing success in its global dissemination.


An urban popular dance genre developed in New York City and Puerto Rico during the 1960s and '70s, based on Cuban dance styles and incorporating Puerto Rican elements and influences from jazz and rock. The term ‘salsa' literally means ‘sauce', the culinary metaphor of a spicy concoction mirroring the music's hybrid origins and infectious appeal. In general stylistic terms, salsa closely resembles its Cuban antecedents, fusing West African rhythmic and textural principles with Iberian melodic and harmonic structures. Most salsa compositions derive from the Cuban son and related forms such as the upbeat guaracha. Songs are based on a two-part formal structure, with verses sung by lead vocalist, followed by a call-and-response section known as the montuno. The montuno section features driving rhythms, solo improvisation and punchy brass choruses known as mambos. A salsa ensemble typically includes vocals, Cuban percussion, piano, bass, trumpets, trombones and saxophone, and usually ranges in size from ten to 14 members. The percussion instruments include small two-headed bongos and the long, cylindrical single-headed tumbadoras, more commonly known outside of Cuba as conga drums. Other important percussion instruments include timbales, a pair of toms mounted on a stand with accompanying cymbal, cowbells and woodblock; claves, two wooden sticks struck together; maracas (rattles); and giro, a notched scraper of Amerindian origin.

Despite the oft-repeated claim that salsa is just ‘Cuban music', New York and Puerto Rican salsa differs from its Cuban antecedents in several ways: the style of playing is more strident, with prominent use of trombones; Afro-Puerto Rican rhythms such as bomba are used (e.g. for contrast during instrumental interludes); the Puerto Rican cuatro (a small ten-stringed lute, shaped like a violin) is incorporated in the ensemble; there is a strong use of jazz harmonies and solo improvisation; and references are made in the lyrics to life in Puerto Rico and in particular to the harsh experiences of the New York Latino barrio. Important salsa innovators and performers include Eddie Palmieri, Ray Barretto, Willie Coln, Ruben Blades, Johnny Pacheco, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamara, Louie Ramrez and Larry Harlow.


An Afro-Brazilian couple-dance and popular musical form. Originally ‘samba' was a generic term designating, along with batuque, the choreography of certain circle-dances imported to America from Angola and the Congo. A characteristic element of the folk samba is the umbigada, an ‘invitation to the dance' manifested by the touching of the couple's navels. Singing always accompanies the dancing. Melodic contours are generally descending and melodies isometric. In the caipira (i.e. rural So Paulo) folk samba, singing is almost always in parallel 3rds. Mostly in binary metre, samba melodies and accompaniments are highly syncopated: a semiquaver-quaver-semiquaver figure is particularly characteristic. The dance gradually became urbanized by the late 19th century and urban versions differ substantially from rural folk sambas, but both feature responsorial singing between a soloist and chorus who sing alternating stanzas and refrain.

De Andrade, who studied the rural So Paulo samba in the 1930s, held that the samba was defined by its choreography rather than its musical structure. Its short texts, simpler than those of the urban forms, usually dealt with daily activities and followed the traditional seven-syllable verse pattern of Portuguese poetry, although variations of metre might occur as a result of improvisation in most texts. This variety influenced the caesura of the melodic line of the early urban sambas, in which the texts follow a strophic structure. In the rural samba the typical accompanying ensemble includes the bombo (a large bass drum), snare drum, tambourine, cuca (friction drum), reco-reco ( giro type of scraper) and guai (a shaken rattle). Regional variants with slightly different choreographic organization are the southern samba de leno and samba-roda, and the northern samba-de-roda and samba-de-matuto. Folk versions in Rio de Janeiro are the partido-alto and the pernada-carioca, the latter influenced by capoeira.

The urban samba became standardized during the 1920s, particularly in Rio de Janeiro. The first recognized samba to be recorded was Pelo telefone, by Ernesto dos Santos (‘Donga') in 1917. Among the most important composers of urban sambas from 1920 to 1950 were Jos Barbosa da Silva (‘Sinh'), Noel Rosa, Alfredo da Rocha Viana (‘Pixinguinha'), Ari Barroso, Lamartine Babo, Joo de Barros and Ataulfo Alves. Several species of the form appeared from the late 1920s to the mid-1940s including the samba de morro, sometimes also referred to as batucada, cultivated by people of the favelas (hillside slums) of Rio de Janeiro. Its accompaniment was performed predominantly by percussion instruments. In the 1930s the urban samba acquired the character of a sung ballroom dance, with the backing of a colourful orchestra whose percussion section was considerably reduced compared with the concurrent Carnival samba. Other forms include the samba de breque (with spoken words interjected at cadences) and the samba de enredo, created by composers associated with the samba schools for their annual Carnival parade.

The samba school ( escola de samba) has been the most important carnival institution of the century. The first school, called Deixa Falar (‘let them speak'), was founded in 1928. Up to that time the carnival groups, known as cordes and blocos and drawing their membership mostly from the black and mixed race populations, had difficulty obtaining permission to parade in the downtown area. The idea of a ‘school' emerged not only to give the somewhat ironic impression of respectability to the groups, but mostly to institutionalize them. The two most prestigious samba schools have been Estao Primeira de Mangueira (founded in 1929) and Portela (1935), the former rather traditional and the latter innovative. Numerous other shcools appeared in subsequent decades and compete with each other in official competitions. For this purpose, the ‘sambadrome' (a structure of some 700 m long that can accommodate up to 90,000 people) was inaugurated in 1984. The presentations of samba schools are judged for their music, choreography, subject of presentation ( enredo) and costumes. Parades can include up to 5000 participants and their enredo must be national, historical, political or a homage to famous national figures, such as writers, composers or poets. A number of composers and vocalists associated with samba schools have enjoyed national acclaim, as in the cases of Cartola, Z Keti, Paulinho da Viola, Ivone Lara and Martinho da Vila. The history of samba schools and their sambas represents a strong affirmation of the poor, predominantly black and mixed race population of the city of Rio de Janeiro. The impact of Afro-Brazilian musical aesthetics on the national popular culture is due in great part to the samba schools.

Samba-cano, samba-choro and samba-fox were hybrid forms whose lyrics dealt with love and unhappiness, often melodramatically; they were mainly ballroom and later night-club genres. The urban samba remained basically unchanged until the advent of Bossanova in the late 1950s. Beginning in the 1980s various sub-genres of urban samba have emerged, the most significant of which have been the samba-pagode and the samba-reggae. The pagode movement was initiated in the mid 1970s by working-class people in response to the overly touristic and commercialized sambas associated with the samba schools. But by the early 1990s, a new samba, also labelled pagode, had replaced the oder version. Samba-reggae developed in the 1980s in Salvador, Bahia out of the bloco afro movement, as part of the vindication of black ethnicity. A potent symbol of black pride, Jamaican reggae was incorporated into this hybrid genre of great cultural significance.


A style of Jamaican popular music and dance. From 1961 to 1965 it was the predominant popular style in Jamaica, and can claim to be its first truly indigenous music. A stylistic amalgam of African-Cuban and New Orleans influences, jazz, quick-time rhythm and blues and Rastafarian rhythms, it primarily originated with the Skatalites, who recorded under a variety of names and provided ska's chief musicians. The group's line-up consisted of piano (Jackie Mittoo), guitars (Ernest Ranglin, Lyn Tait and Jah Jerry), bass (Lloyd Brevett), drums (Lloyd Knibbs), and a horn section (Lester Sterling, alto saxophone; Tommy McCook?, ‘Ska' Campbell and Roland Alphonso, tenor saxophones; Karl Bryan, baritone saxophone; ‘Dizzy' Johnny Moore and Baba Brooks, trumpets; Don Drummond, trombone). It was popularized by the seminal Clement ‘Sir Coxsone' Dodd of Studio One, and ‘Duke' Reid of Treasure Isle, and its influence has now flourished worldwide. Using a staccato guitar to accentuate the upbeats of its distinctive double-time shuffle rhythm in simple quadruple metre, ska's chugging melodies and propulsive horn section represented youthful emancipation as Jamaica celebrated its independence.

Ska's many early stars included Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, the amusingly salacious Prince Buster, the father of reggae music Joe Higgs and his partner Roy Wilson, Alton Ellis, Carlos Malcolm and his Afro-Jamaican Rhythm, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, and early Bob Marley and the Wailers. Ska has experienced two revivals in the United Kingdom: in the late 1960s its rhythm patterns were adopted by Judge Dread, then in 1980 the ska-based ‘Two Tone' movement united black and white musicians in groups like the Beat, the Specials, Selector and Madness. In the 1990s American pop groups influenced by ska, such as No Doubt, Sublime, the Toasters and Let's Go Bowling, achieved commercial success.


A song and dance genre directly related to Calypso. In the 1970s, at a time of new oil wealth and modernizing tendencies on Trinidad, technological and musical influence from North American soul and dance musics inspired a new form of calypso. Singer Lord Shorty's ‘Soul Calypso' gave its abbreviated name ‘So-Ca' to the new sound which mixed elements of soul and disco drum features with funk, mid-tempo ska and traditional calypso. While the satire, metaphor and political comment of calypso did not disappear entirely, the emphasis shifted from song lyrics to the rhythms of dance and the culture of partying. Soca artists like David Rudder have kept calypso values while embracing international musical ideas, while Arrow (Alphonse Cassell), who wrote the soca party anthem ‘Hot, Hot, Hot', focuses on creating a Caribbean music, with merengue, zouk and salsa influences that enables people to forget their problems and feel good. With soca continually cross-fertilizing with other contemporary popular musics such as rap, (called rapso) the calypso genre has shifted its lyrical priorities, gaining a more international musical focus and in consequence a larger audience inside and outside the Caribbean.



Generic term for Central African dance music. More specifically in the Democratic Republic of Congo, soukous refers to a dance style first popularized in the late 1960s. The style developed directly from Congolese rumba that was introduced in the 1950s. The first period of soukous in the 1960s can be characterized by heavy arrangements; highly orchestrated horns and vocals fill the sounds of early soukous, while large numbers of guitars and rhythm instruments support these arrangements. Tabu Ley Rochereau, Dr Nico ( see Kasanda, nicolas), Kiamanguana Verckys, Sam Mangwana and Joseph ‘le Grand Kalle' Kabasele contributed greatly to early soukous efforts. A second wave of soukous occurred in the 1970s led by the group Zaiko Langa Langa and by Papa Wemba and Bozi Boziana, both former members of Langa Langa. Groups such as Quatres Etoiles and artists such as Mbilia Bel and Abeti Masekini were at the forefront of these new Paris-based recording efforts. In the 1980s there was a broadening of the international soukous market, introducing a smoother, cleaner and more produced soukous sound. Artists of the newer Parisian soukous, such as Kanda Bongo Man, Pepe Kalle and Kofi Olomide, developed a dance party music that was heavily guitar driven. Perhaps the greatest instrumentalist to emerge during the latest incarnanation of soukous was Diblo Dibala whose guitar playing was a critical feature in the success of Kanda Bongo Man's bands. His own bands, loketo and Matchatcha, have brought the appeal of soukous to worldwide audiences.

-- Main.chri2397 - 02 Jul 2009

Topic revision: r1 - 02 Jul 2009 - 15:18:14 - LarsChristensen
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