Aruba Bonaire Curaçao: ABC Island Primer
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Aruba Bonaire Curaçao: ABC Island Primer
Musica Negra in the Americas
Network Medien

cd cover Wrested by Holland from Spain in the 1630s as a salt source for the Dutch herring industry, the so-called "ABC Islands" became a center of the transatlantic slave trade, a product of Curaçao's attractions as a natural port and its strategic location off the coast of Venezuela. An early global crossroads, the islands would assimilate the many musical traditions of West Africa, South Asia, Europe and the indigenous Americas, recombining their influences according to shifting political, economic and historical circumstance. The resonant aural array that resulted, echoed in the intertwined linguistic veins of Papiamento (a Creole language of hybrid Dutch, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and West African origins), continues to evolve in the present. Likewise, this contemporary 17-track survey, culled from local independent labels, makes the various cultural strains of ABC history vividly audible: indigenous Amerindian, African-Caribbean, East Indian, Colombian, Venezuelan, Trinidadian, Afro-Cuban, Dominican merengue, Puerto Rican salsa, and European country dance, chamber music and vocal polyphony. This is an often-surprising, thoughtfully compiled and well-documented compilation that brings a little-appreciated realm of Caribbean roots music to well-deserved attention, making it indispensable to any serious student of the music of the African Diaspora, and to any listener seeking an alternative to the tired predictability of the region's generic commercial slew. - Michael Stone

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