Early Caribbean Dance Tunes


from www.sixwatergrog.com:

Mandolin Tab for Ten Early Caribbean Dance Tunes – Paseos, Meringues and more

In honor of an upcoming trip to the Spanish Virgin Island of Culebra in Puerto Rico, I’ve assembled ten Afro-Caribbean string band tunes from the recordings of the now defunct Etcetera String Band (Bonne Humeur) and Kansas City based The Rhythmia to work on while there.  Both bands have a knack for uncovering obscure tunes from Haiti, Trinidad, Louisiana, the Virgin Islands, Martinique and Venezuela.

Many of these tunes date back to the 1800’s and share similarities to common fiddle tunes and rags, while still retaining a distinctly “island” feel that helps tag them as being from the Caribbean.  Guitarist Kevin Sanders – a member of both the Etcetera String Band and The Rhythmia – helped me obtain a copy of the out of print Bonne Humeur CD last year which is definitely worth seeking out if you’re interested in this type of music.  All transcriptions posted here were done by Nick DiSebastian.  Here’s a YouTube playlist where some of these tunes can be heard.

This is a collection of dance music as played during the late 19th century and early 20th century in Louisiana, Haiti, Trinidad, Martinique and Virgin Islands. The music represents a blending of European and African music, contains elements later found in ragtime, and is essential to anyone interested in exploring the murky world of “pre-jazz” or examining the fascinating links between the musics of New Orleans and the Caribbean.

2 Responses to “Early Caribbean Dance Tunes”

  1. richard rawlings. Says:

    Fresh and seemingly intricate, with a joy. Lovely music. Thank you.

  2. Fred Wiseman Says:


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