Caribbean Voyage

Recorded in 1962 by Alan Lomax, and in Trinidad & Tobago with Jacob D. Elder. 

Series compiled and edited by Kenneth Bilby and Morton Marks

Released for the first time, Caribbean Voyage anthologizes Alan Lomax’s 1962 recordings of the rich and many-stranded musical traditions of the Lesser Antilles and Eastern Caribbean. Work songs, pass-play songs, story songs, calypso, ritual music, East Indian chaupai, cocoa lute, string bands, tambu-bambu, and steel band music reflect the Central and West African, French, English, Celtic, Spanish, and East Indian contributions to Caribbean culture.

“Everywhere I found tidal pools and freshets of indigenous music and dance styles… Each island had a treasure of music, potentially unlimited.” —Alan Lomax

The Caribbean Voyage Sampler

Notes by Kenneth Bilby and Morton Marks 
A spectacular introduction to Alan Lomax’s previously unreleased 1962 Caribbean recordings, culled from his trips to Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Carriacou, St. Lucia, St. Barthelemy, Anguilla, Trinidad, and Nevis.

“The music is utterly delightful; the presentation priceless.” —Music City
“Buy it and get ready to sing and dance!” —Musical Traditions

Brown Girl in the Ring

Notes by Bess Lomax Hawes, Alan Lomax, and Jacob D. Elder

Delightful and inventive game and pass-play songs, sung by children and adults from Trinidad, Tobago, Dominica, St. Lucia, Anguilla, Nevis, and Carriacou. A mix of African, British, French, and Spanish rhythms and traditions flow into joyful and absorbing lessons in memorization, comportment, socialization, and preparation for life. Accompanies book by the same name, with an Introduction by Jacob D. Elder, Ph.D. Both CD and book are designed especially for use by the classroom and teacher.

Carriacou Calaloo

Recorded by Alan Lomax, assisted by Anna Lomax
Notes by Winston Fleary, Lorna McDaniel, and Donald R. Hill
A sampling of musical styles from Carriacou, a tiny island in the Grenadines that has produced a cornucopia of heartfelt music. With roots in Africa and Europe, this music is pure Caribbean — big drum songs, Spiritual Baptist anthems, lullabies, dance tunes and calypsonian political commentary.

“This is more than a record. It’s a stunning recovery preserved through the visceral warmth of ‘old-fashioned’ analog equipment, a triumph of essence over technology.” —Elena Oumano,

Dominica: Creole Crossroads

Recorded by Alan Lomax, assisted by Antoinette Marchand

Notes by Kenneth Bilby and Morton Marks

These recordings connect the oldest and deepest layers of Western and Central African music in the Americas, capturing the once-flourishing work song tradition, as well as later developments in Eastern Caribbean popular music in which tiny Dominica has played such a pivotal role. Music in this collection has influenced both soca and zouk, styles that have entered the world music mainstream.

East Indian Music in the West Indies

Recorded by Alan Lomax, assisted by Antoinette Marchand

Notes by Peter Manuel

A panorama of traditional East Indian and newly-created creolized South Asian music. Trinidadian “local classical” tan singing, Hindu devotional and wedding songs; Muslim tassa and Madrasi funeral drumming; and a unique excerpt from a Guadeloupan Kali ceremony all testify to the rich East Indian contributions to Caribbean music.

The French Antilles: We Will Play Love Tonight!

Recorded by Alan Lomax, assisted by Antoinette Marchand

Notes by Dominique Cyrille and Julian Gerstin, with Monique Desroches

Music from Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St. Barthélemy, former French colonies with allied yet distinct musical cultures. Guadeloupe and Martinique enjoy a strong Afro-Creole heritage of drum dances, wake songs, stories, quadrilles, and vibrant urban dances such as the beguine, while their small East Indian populations preserve the Kali sacrificial rituals. St. Barthélemy’s French heritage includes European ballads dating from early Colonial times. This collection offers an exciting portrait of these diverse traditions.

Grenada: Creole and Yoruba Voices

Recorded by Alan Lomax, assisted by Anna Lomax
Notes by Kenneth Bilby and Maureen Warner Lewis
From Grenada, the home of many legendary calypsonians (including the Mighty Sparrow himself), come these rare recordings of carnival bands, kalinda drumming, the cocoa lute, and the deeply spiritual Yoruba songs of Shango or “African Work” — a vital but little-known branch of Afro-American religion that links Grenada with other expressions of the Yoruba Diaspora in Cuba, Brazil, Trinidad, and New York.

“The sun of the Caribbean is carried upon the voices of these singers, and their history will fascinate the listener.” —Rambles

Martinique: Cane Fields and City Streets

Recorded by Alan Lomax, assisted by Antoinette Marchand

Notes by Julien Gerstin and Dominique Cyrille

With its striking Afro-French Creole culture, Martinique nurtures a unique musical heritage: drum dances, quadrilles, chant-fables, and popular urban styles such as the beguine and mazouk. Caught at a pivotal moment in the island’s history, Lomax’s recordings feature powerful traditional composer/musicians such as Ti Raoul Grivalliers, and foreshadow zouk and ragga.

“This CD is magical.” —Rambles

“Yet another landmark CD in the ‘Caribbean Journey’ sector of Rounder’s Lomax series.” —Musical Traditions

Nevis and St. Kitts

Recorded by Alan Lomax in collaboration with Roger Abrahams, assisted by Antoinette Marchand

Notes by Roger Abrahams

Excitement and love of life imbue these recordings of grandiloquent speech-makers, cross-dressing gossipers, and chantey-singing fishermen from Nevis and St. Kitts. Fife-and-drum groups, string bands, and effusive toastmasters offer engaging and often comical examples of these islands’ holiday sporting (merrymaking) traditions.

“I encourage you to seek this out…Wrap yourself around a beverage of choice and allow yourself to be carried off to a faraway beach with these gifted musicians from Nevis and St. Kitts.” —Rambles

“This is an innovative and satisfying collection and recommended for purchase by all” —Musical Traditions

Saraca: Funerary Music of Carriacou

Recorded by Alan Lomax, assisted by Anna Lomax

Notes by Lorna McDaniel and Donald R. Hill 

From Carriacou, a tiny island in the Grenadines with a cornucopia of musical traditions, here are Sankeys, anthems, Nancy-story-songs, chanteys, and Big Drum songs performed for the Old Parents (the ancestors) recorded at wakes and prayer meetings for the Dead.

“This is a splendid compilation of recordings.” —Musical Traditions

“The music is exciting, the stories interesting, the singing heartfelt.” —Rambles

Tombstone Feast cover
Tombstone Feast: Funerary Music of Carriacou

Recorded by Alan Lomax, assisted by Anna Lomax

Notes by Lorna McDaniel and Donald R. Hill

A collection of magnificent Big Drum songs and Nation Dances from Carriacou, a font of African and European musical traditions. Music and dance for the Old Parents are performed at the Tombstone Feast, which is held years after death or burial, when a tombstone is finally erected and the spirit of the departed may at last rest in peace.

“It’s the splendour of the music itself which signals the richness of the cultural matrix which formed it, and which it has formed in turn.” —Musical Traditions

Trinidad: Carnival Roots

Recorded by Alan Lomax and Jacob D. Elder, assisted by Antoinette Marchand and Anna Lomax

Compiled and with notes by John Cowley

With Trinidad’s famous Shrovetide festival as its focus, this collection of Kalendas, Bélè, Maypole songs, Castilians, Pasillos, Calypso, and Hosay drumming, expertly assembled and annotated by John Cowley, explores the bridge between pre-Emancipation African-American traditions and the cosmopolitan character of the twenty-first century Carnival.

“It’s nice to be able to recommend and album both for being and doing good!” —Ramble