ACPA alumnus Clarence Charles on functions of calypso music as a cultural expression
Charles wrote an article 'Assimilating Afro Caribbean Carnivalesque Culture' for the publication 'Understanding América. The essential contribution of Afro-American music to the sociocultural meaning of the continent'
Assimilating Afro Caribbean Carnivalesque Culture
It has been successfully established and sufficiently documented that Calypso music has been an agent for the construction and maintenance of identity among African and Afro-Caribbean slaves and their descendants who have inhabited several regions in the ‘New World’ from the early 17th Century onward. These peoples were the creators of the genre and have been responsible for its propagation and the innovations that have shaped and continue to shape its evolution; an evolution which coincided with the saga of repression, conflict and confrontation that had characterized the colonial era, and which has as its backdrop the tumultuous events that have contributed to the dismantling of colonial ideology during ‘post-colonial’ times, as defined by Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin (1989).
Based on premise that although there remains some residue of European cultural identity from the colonial era during the post-colonial period, ‘now’ as proposed by Childs and Williams (1997), this article revisits functions of calypso music as a cultural expression relative to the Afro-Caribbean carnivalesque culture in which it is embedded.
Understanding América. The essential contribution of Afro-American music to the sociocultural meaning of the continent
Editor: Fernando Palacios Mateos
Understanding America aims to establishing an approach in order to comprehend the meanings of the Afro-descendant musical manifestations in the American continent diverse social and cultural contexts, highlighting the essential contribution these sound practices made to the configuration of the territories. In addition, the different texts address some of the syncretic processes that occurred in various African regions with the arrival of Afro-American music and musical instruments to their original lands.