One African instrument that is commonly used is the quijada . It is literally made from the jawbone of a donkey, horse, or mule. The bone is stripped of tissue, then dried so that the teeth become loose. They rattle when the jaw is shaken, or when a stick is rubbed or tapped against it. Musical Styles from Europe Starting with Christopher Columbus’s first trips to the Caribbean in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, Europeans began colonizing the islands. Their first goal was to find gold and silver. But not all places had an abundance of these precious metals. So the colonists had to find other ways to extract riches from the new lands. One way they did this was to begin producing and selling certain crops that could not be grown in Europe. Sugar was popular in Europe, but was expensive and hard to find. So the Spaniards established plantations to grow sugar cane, and shipped large quantities of sugar back to Europe. They also grew other crops for export, such as coffee, rice, and indigo. The Dutch, British, French, and Spanish were all involved in the colonization of the Caribbean islands. However, the Spanish and French colonists probably had the strongest influence. They brought classical music from composers like Bach and Handel, along with folk songs and popular dance music. Many of these songs and musical forms had similar features to and a high level of compatibility with African music. For instance, many Spanish traditional songs used two and three part vocal harmonies, as did African music. The tradition of dancing in lines shows up in both European courts and African communities. European Christians celebrated seasonal festivals that live on as Caribbean carnivals today. These forms all came together with other influences to create a modern music that is a unique combination. The degree of each place’s influence will depend on the makeup of the population during their formative era. In a place like Puerto Rico where


Chapter 1: The Roots of Latin and Caribbean Music

Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online