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Music &Culture. Where are we?. Trinidad is located in the Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela It shares land with its neighbor Tobago These two countries are often called twins because of there simular cultures and geographical friendship. Background.

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where are we

Where are we?

Trinidad is located in the Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela

It shares land with its neighbor Tobago

These two countries are often called twins because of there simular cultures and geographical friendship

  • Music is heavily dominated by many secular and religious holidays
  • The music has roots in many mixed desendent cultures on the island including, African, Indian, French, Spanish and British.
  • One of the greatest celebrations of music is the world-renowned Carnival, a music festival preceding the season of Lent that’s filled with Parades, Music Competitions and Roadside tents.
  • This country is known for it’s drumming and steel drum band competitions
-Over 100 years old

-Largest musical genre in Trinidad throughout it’s history

-A classic African derived style

-Has a strong international presence

-Found it’s roots in the Carnival celebration in the 19th Century, however the crowds gathered at Calypso Carnival tents are usually older musicians and fans

-Many singers and composers came out of this genre including; Harry Belafonte, Mighty Sparrow, Lord Kitchener

-Performances can last up to 4 hours!



Engaged Listening:

While listening to this Calypso piece, pretend you are on a Caribbean Island and move your body to the music!

Activity: Active Listening “Who Let the Dogs Out” and “Feelin Hot, Hot, hot”


Developed from Calypso

Has a very rhythmic Latin beat and is associated with strong rhythmic dancing and drumming

Draws young crowds and is often heard in Carnival celebrations

Leading artists include; MachelMontano, Destra Garcia and ShurwayneWinchester

Popular pieces have become international such as the famous; “Who Let the Dogs Out”, and “Feelin Hot HotHot”


“Who let the dogs out”

“Feelin Hot, Hot, Hot”



-Developed from mixing rap beats with those of Calypso and Soca

-Has developed into its own form with its own artists and has taken on a culture of its own.

--Includes a blend of street poetry from both Trinidad and Tobago

-This genre of music devopled as a way of picketing during political unrest in the 1970’s during the Black Power Movement and pro- African Sentiment

-Rapso artists include; Cheryl Byron, and Lancelot Layne

Active Listening: Reflect on how this example is different from other examples of Trinidad music we have heard.

steel pan
Engages and Active Listening:

Steel Pan!:

-One of Trinidad’s greatest achievements was the invention of the steel pan of steel drum (names are used somewhat interchangeably)!

-Steel bands of over 150 members gather to compete in Panorama, a competition at the annual Carnival Festival.

-Steel pans are individually pitched to cover different parts, soprano, alto, tenor, or bass.

-Steel drum music is extremely versatile and can play anything from Calypso to Classical music

-Steel drumming had developed over decades originally started using dented oil drums

-Since its start, the steel drum has been an important asset to almost all the music in Trinidad

Traditional music often gets overlooked when learning about Trinidad Culture, however there are quite a few children’s songs sung at celebrations, in schools, or at bedtime!


Traditional Songs of Trinidad

Dodo Petit Popo: Lullaby


Works Cited