Rhythm, Creolization, and Conflict in Trinidad

Munro Martin

in Different Drummers

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780520262829
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947405 | DOI:
Rhythm, Creolization, and Conflict in Trinidad

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This chapter traces a conventional colonial history of rhythm and its suppression in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Trinidad. It studies the close relationship between music, dances, and slave rebellion, which was established early in a relatively short time. The British authorities in general systematically suppressed the drum and rhythmic popular music, as they were fearful of slave insurrection. As slavery continued, creolization took on a more complex, multidimensional shape, perpetuating the unpredictable play of cultures that characterizes the processes of creolization. During this period, at every point in the cultural history of Trinidad, rhythm was momentarily silenced, only to return via new, improvised instruments such as bottles and spoons, biscuit tins, pieces of bamboo, and finally the steel pan. Repression of rhythmic music only strengthened the bond between rhythm and the popular black culture of the island.

Keywords: colonial history; Trinidad; slave rebellion; slave insurrection; creolization; black culture

Chapter.  25020 words. 

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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