Lesson 1: The Caribbean–Genres of Music


So. Much. Music.We shouldn’t let too many words get in the way of it. Let’s take a video tour of some of Caribbean musical genres. Pick a couple at random and dive in.

Danzón: a formal Cuban “contradanza”

Punto Guajiro: poetic music from rural Cuba

— The three kinds of Cuban rumba (all three rock): Guaguancó | Columbia | Yambu

Trova: Cuban Spanish-style guitar ballads

Changüi: Elemental Cuban music from the island’s East

Son: Western Cuban syncopated African-Spanish fusion

— Conga: from Havana | from Santiago de Cuba

Mambo: syncopated Cuban dance

Cha Cha Chá: one, two, cha cha cha!

Timba: modern fusion of many Latin genres with a “street” feel

Bomba: Afro-Puerto Rican percussive dance

Plena: “the sung newspaper” with African beats

Guaracha: once-upon-a-time, humorous Cuban theater music

Salsa: Puerto Rican international dance phenomenon

Reggaeton: Puerto Rican rhythmic danchall

Merengue: Domincan dance (1-2, 1-2)

Bachata: Passionate Domincan Spanish-influenced crooning

Mento: Essentially, Jamaican calypso

Ska: Next generation mento, dancing on the upbeat

Rocksteady: Slower, groovier ska

Reggae: Political Jamaican groove

Dancehall: Jamaican dance “riddims”

Calypso: Trinidadian island folk

Chutney: Indian fused Trinidadian dance

Soca: Infection Trinidadian party music

Steelpan: melodic Trinidadian percussion

Zouk: Party dance music from Martinique

Explore these genres of music from The Caribbean:
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