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Music for Work and Play: Carriacou, Grenada 1962

by Various Artists

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about

In August, 1962, folklorist Alan Lomax and his young daughter, Anna, arrived in Carriacou, a small island of the Eastern Caribbean nation Grenada. Using state-of-the-art equipment, Lomax spent the next five days recording a wide range of traditional music and song. On three-foot high loudspeakers, Lomax played the music back to those recorded and then conducted both formal and informal interviews about the music and culture—encounters that were also captured on tape and that were as light-hearted as they were informative.

Among the many hours of recordings that Lomax gathered were the songs and music performed by Carriacouans to pass the time at work. He recorded group and solo sea chanties sung by seamen to coordinate physical work, alleviate boredom, and express the homesickness that was often felt by sailors. Lomax also documented the music that Carriacouans performed to entertain themselves and each other, including “pass play” songs—a social music and dance performed by unmarried young men and women—waltzes, polkas, calypsos, and other string-band tunes, and he captured the stunning polyrhythmic music played for quadrille dancing by solo violinists and accompanied by often virtuoso percussionists. Featuring 33 remastered tracks from Lomax’s original stereo recordings, "Music for Work and Play: Carriacou, Grenada, 1962," is snapshot of Lomax’s warm welcome to Carriacou as well as a portrait of this rich, diverse, and vital musical culture.

"Music for Work and Play" was compiled and annotated by Dr. Rebecca Miller, who also filmed these later instances of quadrille music in Carriacou. They feature Canute Caliste and Sonnel Allert, both of whom were recorded by Lomax in 1962 and appear on the album. Rebecca Miller received a PhD from Brown University in ethnomusicology and is currently Associate Professor of Music at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. She conducted dissertation research as a Fulbright Fellow in Carriacou (Grenada). Her book, Carriacou String Band Serenade: Performing Identity in the Eastern Caribbean (Wesleyan University Press, 2008) examines social upheaval, political change, and post-colonial identity formation through the performance of traditional music and dance in Carriacou. A public sector folklorist, Miller has documented and presented the traditional arts from a number of immigrant and refugee communities throughout the United States. Her work has culminated in publications, recordings, festivals, and award-winning radio and video documentaries. A fiddler, Miller performs a variety of traditional musics for dances and in concert.

Download the liner notes here:
culturalequity.org/albums/liner-notes/WAP

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released July 7, 2015

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Alan Lomax Archive

Alan Lomax (1915–2002) was a documentarian, ethnologist, cultural activist, and arguably the foremost folklorist of the 20th century. Over his seven-decade career he collected thousands of audio recordings of folk and traditional music from around the US and the world, and dedicated himself to the pursuit of what he called "cultural equity." 100% of proceeds go to the Assoc. for Cultural Equity. ... more

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