Sugar cane was brought to the "new world" by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1493 (Umbilical 99). The introduction of this new crop would bring about dramatic change the Caribbean. During the 1600's the Caribbean sugar industry thrived. The native people of Africa's western coast were targeted for slavery. The plantation owners needed slaves who could handle the work to keep sugar cane maintained. The African people were captured from their homes and brought to the Caribbean and America where they were sold. While in the Middle passage, from Africa to the Americas, millions died from the terrible conditions. This horrible journey could take months. When they reached the plantations the work was unbearable to withstand. This painful piece of history would add a new dimension to the rich African culture.
Music played a very important role during and after the slavery era. For example the slaves in the Virgin Islands used a form of song, Caruso, to pass messages among each other, without the slave owners or the overseer's knowledge (Umbilical 14). Because the plantation owners did not want them practicing their African beliefs, they combined Caruso w...
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... for the dead (Carnival 9). These ceremonies were called masked balls. Masks also are worn by the moko jumbies to hide their familiar faces. Moko jumbies originated as West African shamans. They are tall guardians that protect people from the evil jumbie spirits. During carnival they can be seen covered from head to toe and walking on stilts. Today the costumes are made of almost anything as long as the colors are bright and wild. Many of the costumes at carnival are enormous and need the right construction so they are light enough for the dancers to move around in.
The Caribbean and Brazil illustrate a culture with a rich emphasis of their significant past. The two share many similarities expressed in the peoples' identity.
Dance music and celebrations reflects the livelihood of this tropical region.
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