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
Unidentified Caribbean 1962 Anguilla (unspecified), Anguilla
Lopinot 4/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago
Plaisance 4/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago
Blanchisseuse 5/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago
Toco 5/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago
Penal 5/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago
Charlieville 5/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago
Indian Walk 5/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago
Syne Village 5/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago
San Juan 5/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago
Charlo Village 5/62 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago
Sainte-Marie 5/62 La Trinité, Martinique
Rampanalgas 5/62 Sangre Grande, Trinidad and Tobago
Radix Village 5/62 Rio Claro-Mayaro, Trinidad and Tobago
San Fernando 5/62 San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago
Port of Spain 6/62 Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Fort De France 6/62 Fort-de-France, Martinique
Le Francois 6/62 Le Marin, Martinique
Unidentified Dominica 6/62 Unspecified (Dominica), Dominica
Massacre 6/62 Saint Paul, Dominica
La Plaine 6/62 Saint Patrick, Dominica
Wesley 6/62 Saint Andrew, Dominica
Irishtown 6/62 Saint George Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis
The Valley I 7/62 North Side, Anguilla
The Valley II 7/62 North Side, Anguilla
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