Kantan Chamorro

One of Guam’s favorite traditions is “Kantan Chamorro,” a playful tradition of improvised poetry and silly, taunting song. A Kantan Chamorro session might start with one singer choosing a familiar four-line chant and using it to tease another member of the group, who then pick up the musical challenge and tease back. This interplay can last for hours. The poetic interplay of Kantan Chamorrita is part of a widespread global tradition of jousting through poetry and song, which appears in the Caribbean as an “extempo war,” in Lebanon as “zajal,” in Greenland as a “drum dance” and in the U.S. as a rap battle.