Written by 12:51 am Music

Popular Varieties of Music within the Bahamas

Read the words, “tropical vacation,” and you’ll likely take into consideration going to the Bahamas. You are not alone.
Nearly 700,000 people visited the Bahamas in January 2020 alone. 

Many individuals head out to the islands to soak within the sunshine on beautiful beaches. But, that is only slightly little bit of what the Bahamas has to supply. One in every of the hidden gems of the islands is its wealthy music scene. 

What are the preferred music types within the Bahamas? How do they incorporate drums, vocals, and guitars? Who’re some notable Bahamian musicians? 

Answer these questions and you’ll be able to enrich your understanding of Bahamian culture. Here is your quick guide. 

Rake and Scrape 

Rake and scrape is a type of experimental music. It originated with African slaves who sought to make music on the islands. Because they may not own instruments, they made music with whatever that they had available. 

Carpenter saws produce low scraping noises once they are applied to picket barrels. Musicians could also tap them against sheepskins, turning them into drumsticks. The noises weren’t too loud, so the musicians could sing over the rhythms they made. 

Rake and scrape music became a crucial outlet for enslaved people to specific themselves. A lot of them would gather together and form drum circles, defying the plantation owners’ authority. 

The music is rhythmic and joyous. Bands can incorporate
quite a lot of instruments, including accordions and screwdrivers that create different timbral sounds. Many individuals perform dances to it, including traditional Bahamian ones just like the heel-toe-polka. 


Junkanoo is a street parade that takes place from December 26 to January 1. People dress up in costumes and march through the road to different types of music. 

junkanoo music involves goatskin drums and cowbells. The style combines West African drum rhythms with Caribbean elements, including rake and scrape. The music is extremely rhythmic, encouraging people to bounce and step to it. 

More modern junkanoo music includes reggae and jazz. It’s possible you’ll discover a band that plays modern songs with traditional instruments. 

Goombay and Calypso

Goombay is a variety of drum music. Musicians beat a drum made with goatskin and perform their lyrics over it. 

Goombay influenced calypso, one of the crucial popular sorts of Caribbean music. It’s a highly poetic art form, with lyrics that assume the structure of a ballad. The singer comments on a sociopolitical event, sometimes mocking essential figures. 

The 2 kinds of music share similarities of their rhythms. Each are offbeat, throwing off the listener’s expectations of what’s going to follow. This draws the listener into the music, encouraging them to follow the story that the singer is telling. 

Notable performers include Harry Belafonte. His 1956 album of calypso songs was the primary album to sell multiple million copies in a yr. 

Story Songs 

Because the name suggests, story songs are songs that tell some type of narrative. Many songs come from a private experience that the singer went through. They could talk in regards to the heartbreak they’ve endured or an experience that they had out in nature. 

Others may tell historical accounts, keeping them alive for future generations. One notable example of a story song is “Sloop John B.” 

The song tells the story of a gaggle of sailors who arrive in Nassau. They change into intoxicated and get into fights, driving the narrator to need to go home. The song became well-known after the Beach Boys covered it. 

Individual singers, quartets, and choirs can perform story songs. It’s possible you’ll find someone singing one over a drum or guitar. But many Bahamians are comfortable singing without musical accompaniment. 

Spiritual Music 

The Bahamas has had a wealthy tradition of spiritual songs. Religious anthems date to the antebellum era, when enslaved people from North America brought hymns with them to the islands. 

As time went on, Bahamian residents began to alter them. The Bahamian rhyming spiritual is what emerged. 

A chorus with a lead singer performs the rhyming spiritual. They tell a spiritual story, which will likely be made up on the spot by the singer themselves. 

The songs adopt a verse-chorus-verse form. The lead singer starts the verse, improvising the lyrics and melody. The chorus chimes in to accompany the music, providing timbers and countermelodies. 

Spiritual music has grown less popular with time. In modern services today, it’s possible you’ll encounter African American gospel music or traditional hymns as an alternative. But organizations are attempting to preserve rhyming spirituals by recording them. 

Guitar Island Music 

Guitar music is very talked-about throughout the islands. It’s possible you’ll encounter a guitarist in a bar or at a social dance. Most improvise their very own music, though many will perform classics in the event that they are asked to. 

Perhaps probably the most notable Bahamian guitarist was Joseph Spence. He was known for his finger-picking style, which allowed him to create elaborate melodies.

He accompanied his guitar with humming and vocalizations that included speaking gibberish. Spence influenced many notable musicians, including the Grateful Dead. 

Take heed to the Music of the Bahamas

The Bahamas has one of the crucial sophisticated music scenes on the earth. Rake and scrape involves tools like saws and screwdrivers to create joyous tunes. Junkanoo music is rhythmic, incorporating bells and drums. 

Goombay is drum music that inspired calypso, the leading type of island music. Story songs tell elaborate narratives, including personal accounts. 

The Bahamian rhyming spiritual tells a spiritual story with wealthy vocals. Guitar music is elaborate, much like rock-and-roll. 

The body content of your post goes here. To edit this text, click on it and delete this default text and begin typing your personal or paste your personal from a distinct source.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)