What is caribbean music

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written by owen on 2006-May-06.

So with the unset of a new "caribbean music" cable channel I instantly noticed something odd. It seems to be pushing this thing they call "caribbean music". The first time I heard this connotation I wondered what in the world is the "caribbean music" of which they speak of? Because I listen a-lot of music. And by "a-lot" I am not referring to the radio, music videos or stuff that people consider as "popular". And one thing I have learn is that music isn't just a sequence of notes, some lyrics and instruments on a beat. It is a form of expression, a conversation, a culture of a people and a part of history itself. No matter how annoying it sounds.

Now back to this "caribbean music" thing. It appears to me that what they are inadvertently trying to do is create a new genre. A genre in which they can cluster all that is original and diverse about the Caribbean ( possibly south america ) into a single, neat and manageable form. I don't know, maybe I'm the only person that noticed this but I see this as a negative rather than a plus for the musicians. As far as I see it once they have this "caribbean music" thing established, your going to start having the "caribbean music" awards in which Soca, Dancehall, Samba and Reggaton are all going to be sub-secs of something called "caribbean music". As if they are not genre in themselves.

As I'm typing my computer's New Oxford American Dictionary highlighted the words "Soca" and "Dancehall" as incorrectly spelled. It suggests that Dancehall is actually Dance-hall. I hate when it does that. Right now this document is littered with red underlines. Hasn't Soca and Dancehall music been around for like 15 years now? Or maybe we are still trapped in the closet. Either way this "caribbean music" thing that I see them selling really doesn't seem quite right. I watch the channel and most of the time they are either playing Reggaeton, or Dancehall music. Every now an again they will drop in some Old Reggae, Dub, Rap, HipHop and Latin music which I can't classify yet. I don't even know where this station is maybe it operates from an island in the middle of the caribbean ocean. Either way I would prefer they keep it as "music of the caribbean" rather than "caribbean music".

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  1. Damien Marley has been being played a lot lately on Triple J here in Asutralia.

    by tristan 2006-May-06 

  2. I think I like it. Consider "North American Music" : Hip Hop, Rock, Country, etc..." Each a subset of North American music, and yet still, a <b>genre in themselves!</b> See, it goes for them too.
    The next thing is, do you think there is such a thing as "Caribbean" which does not only describe the Caribbean Sea, but also, the people of the Islands therein? And do you think that these people have a culture? I think they do. And where does these music forms come from? They come from those islands within the Caribbean, hence Caribbean Music. And yeah, even though they come from there... they are genres unto themselves. I don't have any issues with it.

    by Mad Bull 2006-May-06 

  3. mb: nobody uses the phrase North American Music nor do they say European Music. If they do then it would not be enough make it common place. And so this I am even more suspicious of the increased use of Caribbean Music. I am still searching a similar connotation.

    As to where the music comes from check out the Genealogy cuban music.

    by owen 2006-May-06 

  4. We need to start calling all US music as North American. It seems the US always generalize things that don't belong to them.

    by Stunner 2006-May-07 

  5. I don't understand the need to label everything these days. Blech.

    by Brea 2006-May-07 

  6. I can't say it has ever bothered me, I have two categories for music, the stuff I like and the stuff I don't. Whatever it may be.

    by Gracie 2006-May-08 

  7. Once I wrote to Tower records to ask why they classified a Hawaiian pop group as World Music if Hawaii is a state of the US. They wrote back and said it's origins are not American and it's history extends beyond annexation. I wasn't satisfied.

    I say that to say--you're not going to be satisfied. Consider the music that isn't being heard--Zouk for example. Yes, the music is being lumped together but some good can come of it. Exposure is everything.
    Name for me 1 type of music that comes from Africa, off the top of your head--don't look it up.

    by Gods Child 2006-May-08 

  8. @God's Child: Here is the thing... I can tell you of a few songs I have heard, sung by Africans that I like. I can't tell you what they call that form of music. Still, if I like it enough, I may well go find that out and go get it.
    Now if I knew what form of music it was and didn't like it, I still wouldn't buy it. I don't think that knowing what genre a particular type of music belongs to will necessarily predispose me to buying it. What do you think?

    @Owen: So you think they don't all it North American music. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. Americans wouldn't call it that though, because they all know it to be theirs anyway. If all you listen to is American media, you are unlikely to hear it discussed as North American music.

    by mad bull 2006-May-08 

  9. I think the lumping together is more of a problem than solution to increased popularity. Gregary Issacs doesn't sing "caribbean music". Its a "practice makes perfect" slash "mental slavery" concern.

    by owen 2006-May-09