Alan Lomax

Caribbean Voyage: Nevis and St. Kitts Tea Meetings

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Alan Lomax was a folklorist and ethnomusicologist on par with the brilliant Harry Smith. Lomax's collections vary far and wide and the Nevis and St. Kitts album of the Caribbean Voyage series beautifully collects recordings that he and Roger Abrahams made in the Caribbean in 1962. At that time, dance music of the area (including calypso, habanera, and conga) had received international recognition, but Lomax realized that there was other important music from rituals and folk traditions that deserved equal stature as cultural capital. This album includes lesser-heard songs from Christmas sports, official tea meeting ceremonies, and children's songs. Guitars and flutes dance through uplifting melodies, songs like the instrumental "Old Sailors Never Die" jaunt along happily, and children's songs like "One, Two, Three" and "Aunty Nanny Thread the Needle/Loose Me, Johnny, Loose Me" have a precious, otherworldly quality. But the best recordings on the album are joyful folk songs sung by Santoy, an artist so sublime that his music should really be released as albums all over the world so that listeners can be exposed to a musician sadly absent from their collections and Santoy can get the recognition he deserves.

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