Music in the Hispanic Caribbean

Musicin the Hispanic Caribbean

CreoleChoir of Cuba

TheCreole Choir members through their music celebrate their Haitianancestry, as slaves from West Africa taken to captivity in theCaribbean. They have fostered music through generations since theearly 19thcentury following their first visit in 1996 in Haiti they havegradually adopted modern Haitian sound into their performances.‘Desandann’ is the group’s name in Cuba with its literalmeaning as ‘descendants.` They sing in Creole as its Cuba’ssecond language, a pragmatic blend of other languages, French, andAfrican. The impression of ‘creolization’ is a dominant part ofCaribbean culture. Creolization is apparent in the different physicalappearance and color of people’s skin in the Caribbean. Caribbeanidentity is neither African nor European but rather mergers of bothas most scholars conclude [MHC 19].

Gagamusic in the Dominican Republic

Gagais a religious ritual, dance, and music performed by Afro-Dominicans.The two countries violent socio-political situation led to thedevelopment of Gaga on the bateyes.TheGaga ceremonies highlight quite a lot of significant events such asmarriages, deaths, or births. Gaga music has two key major roles:

  • Ceremonial music used to lead practitioners through rituals and rites for important events by aiding in inducing a trance-like feeling and at times fend off evil spirits.

  • Help neighbors in the community through sad moments such as death or calamity by parading joyful and happy music.

TheRepublic rarely uses Gaga to promote the country as some of the musicmetaphorically mock authorities in high profile positions. Thebateyesfrom which Gaga music originate have been under strict control fromthe Dominican government. Its inhabitants are considered to benon-citizens of the Dominican Republic.


Decimais a more than five-hundred-year-old Ibero-African poetic folklore.It is used to capture or connect with the local communities’spirit. Sonoriginates from Cuba, and its instrumentation includes bothpercussions modeled on African culture and string instrumentsoriginating from Spain. Soncan be associated with the Merenguegenreas it combines a cyclic montunoclimax and cantoor versoa verse section with call-response vocals [MHC 91]. Lyrics to “ComoAbeja Al Panal:” ABBAACDDE, and lyricsto “Los Mangos Bajitos:” ABBABCCDD [MHC 40-41]. `LosMangos Bajitos`fits the decimastructure with ten rhyming lines each with eight syllables. The songhas more than ten rhyming lines in the first stanza contradicting thedecimastructure.


Moore,R. (2010). Musicin the Hispanic Caribbean.New York, N.Y: Oxford University Press.