Caribbean 1962

In 1962, the British West Indies were on the verge of independence. With funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and sponsorship from the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, Alan Lomax arranged to record the music of the Lesser Antilles, the chain of islands that form the south-eastern edge of the Caribbean archipelago. His idea was to document the region’s musical and cultural commonalities in order to support the Trinidadian and Jamaican plan for post-colonial Caribbean unity, which it was hoped would be realized through a West Indian Federation. He also wished to continue and expand the Caribbean research he had begun in the Bahamas (1935) and Haiti (1937).

This collection samples the rich linguistic and stylistic variety of then still-living and growing folk traditions in the Caribbean, rooted in West and Central Africa, Britain, France, Spain, Central America, and the Bhojpuri-speaking regions of India. Work songs of numerous types, lullabies, pass-play songs, antique French ballads, chant-fables, beguines, Shango, Nation dances, chaupai, steel band music, funerary music, Doption, anthems, string band (a-cling a-ling), tamboo-bamboo, parang, and calypso were recorded on portable stereo equipment. Folklorist J. D. Elder, Minister of Culture for Trinidad under Eric Williams, worked with Alan Lomax on the project; other collaborators included Dan Crowley, Roger Abrahams (Nevis and St. Kitts), and Derek Walcott (St. Lucia). Antoinette Marchand and Anna Lomax assisted in the field.

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Session Region,Country Date
Blanchisseuse I 5/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago 05/02/1962
Diego Martin II 4/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago 04/25/1962
Indian Walk 5/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago 5/6/1962
L'Esterre 8/62 Carriacou, Grenada 8/1/1962
La Plaine II 6/62 Saint Patrick, Dominica 6/25/1962
Mahaut II 6/62 Saint Paul, Dominica 6/23/1962
Roseau II 7/62 Roseau, St. Lucia 7/19/1962
The Valley I 7/62 North Side, Anguilla 7/4/1962
Anse La Raye I 7/62 Anse la Raye, St. Lucia 7/18/1962
Anse La Raye II 7/62 Anse la Raye, St. Lucia 7/25/1962
Bellevue 7/62 Carriacou, Grenada 7/30/1962
Blanchisseuse II 5/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago 5/2/1962
Brick Kiln Village 7/62 Nevis, St. Kitts and Nevis 7/10/1962
Calibishie 6/62 Saint Andrew, Dominica 6/28/1962
Capesterre Belle-Eau 7/62 Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe 7/15/1962
Charlieville 5/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago 5/6/1962
Charlo Village 5/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago 5/12/1962
Colombier 7/62 Ile-de-France, France 7/8/1962
Copse Eastern 7/62 Anguilla (unspecified), Anguilla 7/5/1962
Cumana 4/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago 4/26/1962
Dennery 7/62 Dennery, St. Lucia 7/21/1962
Diego Martin 5/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago 5/19/1962
Diego Martin I 4/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago 4/25/1962
Flamands I 7/62 Ile-de-France, France 7/7/1962
Flamands II 7/62 Ile-de-France, France 7/8/1962
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