Wabaruagun Ensemble

Honduras: Songs of the Black Caribs

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Honduras: Songs of the Black Caribs is of prime interest to ethnomusicologists interested in noting the traditions of the Garifuna people. But with the rise of punta rock -- a descendant of Garifuna music -- on the world music scene, this makes for a fascinating roots record. It's a society, in Caribbean Central America, that was never assimilated by conquering whites, made up of escaped slaves. While they existed as essentially a separate society, keeping the African side of their nature very firmly alive, change and progress is seeing them become more integrated in 21st century society. It's notable that there's a separation of musical roles within the society -- women sing and dance, while the men play percussion instruments, the distinctive conch-shell horn, and occasionally sing. And much of the music concerns the same type of ancestor-oriented music found in religions that survived the West African diaspora. The Wabaruagan Ensemble do a wonderful job with this ritual and trance music, and the notes put everything in an honest, understandable perspective.

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