“Caribbean music in a new mode” essentially means Caribbean music that has inserted other cultures into its style and technique. Moreover, Caribbean music in a new mode is essentially the same old Caribbean music that one is accustomed to hearing but “modified” or slightly changed because the music has now taken in other forms of music styles. Multiculturalism is a phenomenon that has affected all aspects of culture. When you go outside and into our favorite eateries, you see Chinese food places, Indian food, American food, etc. This is due to multiculturalism, which is essentially the spread of ideas and customs from one region to another, mixing with the native region’s customs to form an entirely new culture that pulls the best aspects from numerous sets.
Moreover, the Caribbean culture has been affected by other cultures in two distinct ways. One of these ways was bad and considered wrong now while the second way, outlined above, is considered positive and good. Furthermore, colonialism really had a daunting effect on the Caribbean Islands, and the traumatic effect of this event still has negative effects on the people today. However, what colonialism did do, unintentionally, was spread culture from the Europeans to the Caribbean people, creating a pseudo-Caribbean culture which still exists today (Williams 4). This multicultural inspired format has only been expanded on with today’s increases in technology and communications across the world. Today, the Caribbean islands are some of the most widely sought after destinations among tourists from all over the world. This has made the entire region a melting pot of different ideas and cultures. One needs to understand that the increased popularity of tourism to this destination has affected the Caribbean culture in all different types of ways. One major way multiculturalism has affected Caribbean culture has been through the changes in Caribbean music.
Caribbean music has all different types of variations due to the numerous cultures that have been there. First and foremost, there are European roots in Caribbean music due to the fact that Europeans colonized the islands and were looking to increase their sphere of influence. Countries in Europe were competing to spread their influence more than other countries, so the Caribbean islands became a cultural warzone when Europe was at its peak power. Every aspect of Caribbean culture was influence by European expansion, but music is especially the case.
Caribbean music also has a lot of influences from Africans as well. Slaves brought to the Caribbean islands their own variations of music from their tribes. This allowed African and European culture to “mix,” creating very unique music styles that will be talked about later on. Moreover, the biggest influence that slaves had on the music of the Caribbean culture was the insertion of the drum, or percussion, into music of the natives of the Caribbean.
Fast forward to the formation of the U.S. and its development, the Caribbean culture was a place that encouraged outside influences and cultural mixing to create new ideas. Reggae music was a creation of this American – Caribbean multiculturalism. Reggae music is slow, and it combines the cool jazz of New Orleans, the rhythmic folk music of Jamaica, and the traditional African roots that have existed on the island since the first communities developed. Reggae music emphasizes harmony and friendship, and many believe that the climate influenced this genre of music because people could not play high tempo, fast songs in extremely hot temperatures (Bradley 1). All in all, the Caribbean islands have been abused by colonialism and blessed with avid tourism, both of which have ultimately led to new forms of music being formed in this very diverse cultural center.
- Bradley, Lloyd. This is reggae music: the story of Jamaica’s music. Grove Press, 2001.
- Brereton, Bridget, and Winston Dookeran. “East Indians in the Caribbean: Colonialism and the struggle for identity.” New York: Kraus (1982).
- Hebdige, Dick. Cutn’Mix: Culture, Identity and Caribbean Music. Routledge, 2003.
- Williams, Eric Eustace. From Columbus to Castro: the history of the Caribbean, 1492-1969. No. 04; F1621, W5.. London: Deutsch, 1970.