Music & Arts
Wild, soulful, vibrant rhythms are a central part of Barbadian culture, born from the beating of slave drums and the merging of African and Caribbean beats. Today, the most popular forms of Music are:
Calypso is a genre of music has evolved over the years, originally stemming from the arrival of the first African slaves to the Caribbean in the 17th century. Developed as an art-form in Trinidad, Calypso also has other influences, such as European, North American, and other Caribbean cultures, and is seen as the art of story-telling.
It was only until the 1970s that calypso became more organized in Barbados, and tied in with the revival of the Crop Over season. Interestingly, prior to the 1930s, calypso in Barbados was called Banja. Despite its evolution through the years, Calypso is first and foremost a form of political satire and social commentary. The other form of calypso is strictly for partying and the Bajan dance form ‘wukking up’- simply performed by gyrating one's waist to the rhythm of the music. This music form is more festive than its social commentary counterpart, and this is what you will usually hear when jumping in the biggest street party of the Crop Over season - Kadooment.
Ragga-Soca is the merger of two genres which are highly popular in Barbados, reggae, and soca. This fusion carries a rhythm which is faster than reggae but slower than usual up-tempo soca. This art form is said to be an invention of long-standing Barbadian calypso legend, Red Plastic Bag.
During the time of the rise of the sugar cane industry, Brazilian exiles were brought to Barbados and as such, their culture came to Barbados as well. The Samba, Latin music with African influences, was a part of that culture which was introduced to the island. As the rhythms of the island incorporated with the Samba, a new beat, indigenous to Barbados, developed. This beat was then called Soca-Samba.