Mento Music Essay

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Before the West Africans were brought to the Caribbean by the Europeans, they engaged in many pastimes that can still be seen throughout the Caribbean today. One significant aspect of the West African culture that is still present in the Caribbean society today is their West African Kaiso music. This type of music has evolved into “Calypso music” and is popular in countries all over the Caribbean such as Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Lucia and The Bahamas. This music seemed to be the voice of the people. Significantly, the basic beat of all versions of Calypso music consists of various instruments such as the clave, congas, bongos, concertina and maracas with the addition of improvised Jazz. The similarities that can…show more content…
It is a style of Calypso folk music that greatly influenced Reggae and Ska in Jamaica and was adapted from the West Africans that settled on Jamaica during the time of slavery. The lyrics of Mento music often described everyday life in a humorous manner. Artists who came up during Mento’s “golden age” include, Hubert Porter, Lord Lebby, Count Lasher, and Lord Flea. The golden age of Mento music was the peak of the Calypso era in Jamaica and the birth of Jamaica’s music industry. According to Piero Scaruffi (2003), the first Jamaican recording studio opened in 1951 and had recorded Mento music. Later, in 1959, Mento music was later transformed into “Ska” which combined Mento with American jazz and blues rhythms. Then in the 1960’s, “Rocksteady” became a popular successor of Ska, but less energetic. It was characterized by a slow tempo. When Rocksteady died out in the late 1960’s, Reggae music became predominantly popular which incorporated early Mento and Calypso music in addition to American blues and jazz music. The band, Bob Marley and The Wailers, is one of the most recognized bands in Jamaica that effectively transitioned through the three early stages of Jamaican

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