Diaspora encounters: the Indo-Caribbean world

Afropop Worldwide, July 31, 2008

Produced by Siddhartha Mitter. Follow link for audio. Competition between communities of Indian and African descent has been a mainstay of politics and culture in the former British colonies of Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana.  This rivalry plays out in institutions from the University of the West Indies to the West Indies cricket team, and of course, popular music.  At the time of Trinidad’s Independence, the Afro-Caribbean political elite of the day sought to enshrine calypso as the country’s national music, but new genres have emerged, from the steel-pan jazz and calypso of the 1960s to soca and its successor, chutney-soca, which for the first time in the 1980s fully integrated Indian and African influences in a local popular music. This Hip Deep edition explores all of these styles, and also the music of diaspora communities in the U.S. and the U.K..  Ethnomusicologist Peter Manuel of the City University of New York shares his ground-breaking research on Indo-Caribbean music in all of its geographic and social contexts.  His music and insights reveal a fascinating, overlooked story of hybrid Caribbean culture.