The Eastern Caribbean, 1962

In partnership with:

Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College, Chicago, IL

Selections from the Alan Lomax Archive

Associated Field Trips

The Eastern Caribbean (1962-91). Sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and the University of the West Indies, Lomax recorded the music of the Lesser Antilles, the chain of islands forming the eastern rim of the Caribbean. Over six months, Lomax made 1,859 field recordings and 1,093 photographs in Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Grenada, Carriacou, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Barthèlemy, Anguilla, St. Kitts, and Nevis. Jacob D. Elder, Dan Crowley, Roger D. Abrahams, Philip Sherlock, and Andrew C. Pearse were advisors to the project. A complete copy on open-reel tape was deposited at the University College of the West Indies at St. Augustine, Trinidad.

In 1967 Lomax made a few hours of recordings in St. Eustatius and the Dominican Republic. He returned to Carriacou (Grenada) to film the Shakespeare Mas in 1991.

From this material, ACE curated seventeen CDs, which were released on Rounder Records: Caribbean Voyage Sampler; Carriacou Calaloo; Tombstone Feast: Funerary Music of Carriacou; Saraca: Funerary Music of Carriacou; Grenada: Creole and Yoruba Voices; The French Antilles: We Will Play Love Tonight; Neville Marcano: The Growling Tiger; Bahamas Shanties and Anthems; Bahamas Ring Games; Nevis and St. Kitts; Martinique: Cane Fields and City Streets; Dominica: Creole Crossroads; East Indian Music in the West Indies; Trinidad: Carnival Roots; Brown Girl in the Ring; Calypso at Midnight; Calypso After Midnight.

In 2000, J.D. Elder, Bess Lomax Hawes, and Alan Lomax's Brown Girl In the Ring was published, a book and CD of Caribbean children's game songs, with music transcriptions, song notes, game instructions and Dr. Elder's essay about the function of game songs in Caribbean society.

Alan Lomax in Haiti, a box set with notes by Haitian music scholar Gage Averill, was released in 2010 and nominated for two Grammies. The collection is accompanied by film footage and Lomax's diary and correspondence, illustrated with diagrams and drawings, chronicling the trip.

In 2010, in collaboration with the Grenadian Consulate and Delegation to the U.N., ACE and Winston Fleary produced a series of concerts and workshops on the Big Drum tradition of Carriacou held at schools and other venues in Brooklyn.

In 2011, ACE and the Green Family Foundation were invited to film a private Big Drum ceremony held in honor of Lucian Duncan, dancer and chantwell at Mt. Desir, Carriacou. Sequences from the Big Drum, a boat launching with string band music, and interviews, may be seen on the Cultural Equity channel on YouTube.