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Bahamian Music: What Is Rake-n-Scrape?

Every culture on the planet has its unique sounds, and the music of the Bahamas isn’t any exception. As soon as you land on the island archipelago, Bahamian music is the primary welcoming element after the texture of the nice and cozy Caribbean sun. The warmth and the beat are excellent the reason why the Bahamas welcomed greater than
800,000 visitors last yr.

Lots of the influences on Bahamian culture come from a mix of surrounding island nations. Yet, once steeped in tradition, the people music of the Bahamas became wealthy and unique. 

One of the vital distinctive sounds you’ll hear in Bahamian music is rake-n-scrape. The rhythms of strange instruments and melodic sounds can have your body swaying before you realize. Keep reading for those who ever wondered what Rake-N-Scrape is and where it gets its origins.

Origins of Bahamian Music

As with other islands of the Caribbean, the Bahamian culture was born out of the migration of enslaved Africans. They were taken from their homes and boarded onto ships to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The one a part of Africa these unwilling immigrants would carry can be their musical heritage.

Once they arrived at certainly one of the archipelago islands, Africans became assimilated with indigenous people in what was referred to as the ‘seasoning.’ Out of necessity, the combo of African tribesmen created drums from goatskin called the goombay. 

Plantation owners soon became weary of the drum sounds that created large gatherings of individuals. Yet, banning the instrument wasn’t enough to discourage the brand new Bahamian culture from developing their very own folk music.

Evolution of the Folk Music

There have been likely types of indigenous music and rhythms before the slave migration of the fifteenth century. Although that original sound stays a debate, the African influence that got here had a profound effect on the music of the Bahamas. 

Ritual dances of the indigenous people can trace their origins to most islands of the Caribbean. The primary native music is believed to be from a non secular ceremony, a hoop dance called the Areito accompanied by song. The sound of the drum was an everpresent function of the ring dance.

Natives accepted the migration of African people and the people music influences that got here with them. In time, the rhythmic cultures mixed to turn out to be the unique type of Bahamian music of today. 

The European slavemasters also influenced the mix of sounds. Hymns of the Christian church seeped into the musical fabric. Often, traditional musical instruments guided the church music of the time.

Forms of Bahamian Music

Three types of music originate from the region, and all play a critical role in Bahamian culture. Each has evolved from the subsequent to form the people music of the Bahamas and other island sounds.

There isn’t any evidence that enslaved Africans brought instruments to the islands from their homeland. Goombay, then, got here from the drum of the identical name. Enslaved people learned to fashion drums manufactured from goatskin from the indigenous tribes. 

The drumbeat rhythms likely got here with the migration of Africans. But drums were also in use by natives. Goombay music is the earliest form of folks music known to the region.

Junkanoo evolved as a part of the art culture developing within the Caribbean. Festivals held every year rejoice the origins of Bahamian culture with dance and rhythms from the early migration.
Colourful costumes became a part of the ritual, and Junkanoo tells the story of Bahamian history.

The trendy Junkanoo festival features newer instruments like cowbells, horns, and whistles. On Boxing Day and Latest Yr’s Day, the Junkanoo spills onto the streets in a grand parade. 

The unique folk music to the Bahamian culture is Rake-n-scrape. The European and Caribbean mix first appeared on Cat Island. 

What Is Rake-N-Scrape

When people from the Turks and Caicos Islands began immigrating to Cat Island, they brought recent musical devices. Construction tools replaced traditional percussion instruments. For instance, staff devised shakers out of bottles crammed with stones. 

Yet, essentially the most notable innovation was using the handsaw as a musical instrument. When bent against the leg, the player uses a nail or knife to scrape the saw’s edge to create a novel sound. 

Migrants from Turks and Caicos brought ripsaws and various other instruments to create the rake-n-scrape sound that became distinct music of the Bahamas. The migrant staff returned to their homeland, taking Junkanoo with them. But they left behind a recent form of folks music that may evolve as Bahamian music.

Rake-n-scrape performances are an integral a part of the Bahamian Quadrille, a vibrant public dance in elaborate costumes. The rake–n-scrape sound has also been likened to the polka, which European settlers undoubtedly influenced. 

Rake-n-scrape today gets often embroidered into the Bahamian culture. Composers use rake-n-scrape as the material for people operas, musicals, and folk plays.

There are conflicting views on how the term rake-n-scrape originated. Some consider it got here from the mind of a radio host named Charles Carter, who was visiting Cat Island when he first heard the ripsaw sound. Carter denied giving the genre its name, however the influence of radio is liable for bringing rake-n-scrape to wider audiences.

Rake-N-Scrape Instruments

Greater than the ripsaw are regular contributors to the rake-n-scrape sound. The scraping of the ripsaw imitates the shekere from West Africa. The shekere is a spherical instrument comprised of a gourd and surrounded by beads.
The differing rattling sounds come from various styles and sizes of gourds.

After all, the difference with the handsaw is its flexibility. It’s bending the saw while scraping that produces more number of musical nuances. 

The guiro and cabasa from Nigeria may influence the ripsaw tones. Yet the saw introduced harmonic capabilities that picket blocks cannot emulate. 

Other percussion pieces just like the goombay and the washtub are outstanding in Bahamian folk music. The drum gets its tone from goatskin stretched over a picket barrel. The drum is a precursor to the metal kettle drum we frequently see in Caribbean festival music.

Traditional instruments give rake-n-scrape music its melodic tone. Guitars and accordions are sometimes decisions. But horns add an additional layer to the definitive mark of Bahamian music.

Modern Influences 

Much younger musical form can trace their roots back to rake-n-scrape music and Bahamian culture. Although there isn’t any proof, the creole sounds of the American South are very just like the music of the Bahamas. 

Blues and jazz music origins also got here from the African slave migrations of earlier centuries. Rake-n-scrape influences most of the sounds we hear in modern jazz.

As American music developed, bluegrass and zydeco have also borrowed instrumentation from Bahamian music. The varied
genres of Caribbean music permeate modern popular themes. Reggae, in fact, is one other, together with Bahamian music, that influenced rock’s musical explosion.

Finding Live Bahamian Music

Because of the preservation of Bahamian culture, there are
many great venues to enjoy Bahamian music on the island. The most effective time to catch the authenticity of Bahamian folk music is in early June, through the annual Rake-N-Scrape Festival. It’s the one festival on the music calendar, and it provides the traditions of folks music and Bahamian culture in a single setting. 

Other times of the yr, loads of venues exhibit the wealthy culture of Bahamian folk music across the island. Lots of the outstanding resort hotels provide night entertainment featuring the music of the Bahamas. 

Shops on the town at all times play rake-n-scrape and other folk music for his or her customers. Local venues and even beach bars might be excellent sources to seek out Bahamian music. 

Outstanding Bahamian musicians have brought the music of the Bahamas beyond its shores. In 1991, Bahamian music got performed on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the primary time.

The distinct nuances of Bahamian music now take significant roles in plays, stage performances, and operas by indigenous composers. The music of the Bahamas branches out to more global music genres than ever before.

Preserving the Bahamian Culture

Bahamian music has entrenched itself within the wealthy fabric of all Caribbean cultures. Yet, musicians and native leaders work hard to preserve the heritage of the music of the Bahamas.

There is probably not a threat to the survival of local folk music at home. However the word still must get out to preserve and grow rake-n-scrape, goombay, and all types of Bahamian culture.

Musicians from the Bahamas do their part to reveal the rhythms of Bahamian culture across the globe. Tourist centers also help promote the vibrancy of Bahamian music. So if you must learn more in regards to the wealthy culture of Bahamian folk music,
contact us anytime.

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