Caribbean Music

TDS @ Drummers Collective NYC Day 3

Day 3 was filled with the music of the Caribbean Islands and than 60’s Rhythm & Blues via James Brown, Motown  & others. Thank you for reading. Kris Russell

Day 3 was filled with the music of the Caribbean Islands and than 60’s Rhythm & Blues via James Brown, Motown & others.
Thank you for reading.
Kris Russell

Good Evening TDS Students, family and friends.

Today was another extremely exciting, challenging yet fulfilling day.
Our first glorious adventure started in the 1930’s Caribbean Islands, needless to say it was “Party Time”. Anyone ready to LIMBO while sipping on your favorite wonderfully exotic drink nestled inside a perfectly ripe, luscious pineapple, with a tiny yet colorful umbrella hanging out of the top? I see you out there.

I felt that way after Mr Katz’s description of some of those beautiful places.
We jumped right into the Calypso groove, it’s origins and some of the important artist that helped spread it’s music.
If you’re not familiar with Calypso music please take a moment to check out this link from the great Harry Belafonte (Banana Boat Song) slow Calypso
(Jump in the LIne) uptempo Calypso

We then separated the Islands by musical style, language and/or the country that occupied them. Here’s short list

British Islands – Trinada and Tobago, Antiqua, Barbados, Grenada, St Croix, St Thomas, St John, St Lucia and more.

French Islands – Haiti, Martinque, Guadalupe, half of St Martiin, Monseratt and more.

Spanish Islands – Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and more.

The main focus of the session was the history of SKA, ROCK STEADY AND REGGAE all from Jamaica.

SKA was a dance that evolved into a musical style  that is faster than Reggae.

Rock Steady – is medium tempo Reggae.

Reggae was slowed down and settled in with the great Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, both of which found the landmark Reggae group The Wailers along with Bunny Livingston Wailer.

Reggae, as it was first introduced, was a way for RASTAFARIANS to express the oppression they felt during those times and to talk about neighborhood, stately and worldly politics and concerns.

We tend to associate Rastas with dreadlock hair and think it may be a movement started by Bob Marley and the Wailers. NOT TRUE. The Rastafari have a deep and devoted belief system that would take another few chapters to speak about. Suffice it to say that Reggae,like so many other folk music styles from around the world, became a true voice of the sentiment and emotion of the people that had the least but were charged with doing the most. Reggae was meant to make one think and act to create positive change.

Important characteristics of Reggae drums grooves are the One Drop, Four Drop and Stepper grooves.

Listening examples of Reggae
Bob Marley and the Wailers This song features the “One Drop” groove. Count 1 2 3 4 medium tempo so the guitar strums are on 2 & 4 and the kick and snare drop together on 3. Give it a try.  This one features the “Four Drop” groove. Four beats in the kick and crashes on beat 4 or the & of 4 and sometimes on beat 3.

Take a listen to these beautiful tunes and don’t fight that happy feeling, it’s OK to tap your feet to the Reggae beat.

Kris Russell