The Big Drum Ritual of Carriacou: Praisesongs in Rememory of Flight

The Big Drum Ritual of Carriacou: Praisesongs in Rememory of Flight

The Big Drum Ritual of Carriacou: Praisesongs in Rememory of Flight

The Big Drum Ritual of Carriacou: Praisesongs in Rememory of Flight

Synopsis

The Big Drum is the lively ancient dance rite of the small island of Carriacou, Grenada. This book introduces 120 of the song texts & dances that call & entertain the ancestors who are central to Carriacou religious experience. Performed since the early 1700s, the Big Drum dance reveals an African-Caribbean religion at its inception as practiced by enslaved people & in its current expression as a vital, living aspect of Carriacou society. No other Caribbean ritual like it still exists. The author maintains that the nine coded rhythms of the boula drums hold the history of the nine African "nations" that inhabited early Carriacou, keeping alive their memories of Africa & of family lineage. In discussion of the spiritual bases of the Yoruba dances of Grenada, Trinidad, Cuba, & Jamaica, the author illustrates the connection between the liturgical symbols of danced religions & the ancient myth of "The Flying Africans." The author concludes with an analysis of a single calypso that memorializes the 1983 invasion of Grenada & illustrates the history-keeping function of the calypso & Big Drum. She uncovers a structural relationship between ancient praisesongs & modern political songs & suggests the continuing impact of music on the memory of the Caribbean people.
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