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Ways In Creolization

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Creolization is the coming together of new-comers and cultural strangers in a subordinate society. Creolization has highly influenced the development of Caribbean Art form in quite a few ways; Caribbean literature, fashion and music, all due to the colonial experience. Creolisation has played a major role in the evolution of music into several subgenres and fusions. Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the early to mid 20th century. Its rhythms can be traced back to West African Kaiso and the arrival of French planters and their slaves from the French Antilles in the 1600s. These slaves, brought to toil on sugar plantations, were stripped of all connections to their homeland and family and not allowed to talk to each other. They used calypso to mock the slave masters and to communicate with each other. English replaced patois as the dominant language and calypso migrated into English. Modern calypso, however, began in the 19th century, a fusion of disparate elements ranging from French Creole and stick-fighting chantwell. Calypso’s early rise was closely connected with the adoption of Carnival by Trinidadian slaves, including canboulay drumming and the music masquerade processions. Chutney music is a form music indigenous to the southern Caribbean, popular in Guyana, Trinidad and Suriname.

This contemporary fusion of genres was created by Indo-Caribbean indentured labourers whose ancestors were from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal and the South Indian area around Madras. Chutney music evolved to chutney soca . Chutney soca music is a mixture of Indian folk tunes influenced by calypso and soca rhythms, and it has been blended with many of the other varieties of music on the islands. Chutney soca is a genre of music derived from Indian and Creole influences that became increasingly popular in the 1990s, but to describe it as “merely an Indianised version of calypso” suggests that the Indians are simply becoming assimilated. Through time, evolution and tremendous growth in culture and technology, the layers of colonialism have moulted away, paving way for old and new fashion. Via the slave trade, the Caribbean adopted many aspects of the African, European and Indian culture, forming an exceptional combination of traditions. Expressing an identity through costume, Caribbean fashion is heavily steeped in culture and in some islands remains an important element of their history.

However through the emergence of urban popularity and pop mass culture, fashion change has been allowing the younger generation and new breed of designers to portray their own unique awareness of style, mixed with their culture and roots. Europe played a big part in defining early fashion, India gave their indigenous cloth while West Africa lent its head wrapping fashion technique. African influence is still visible across the Caribbean and can be seen through movements such as Rastafarian, where the wrapping of head ties is still part and parcel of the dress, often playing an important part in defining Rastas. In addition head ties are often worn on women practicing religions such as Jonkonnu, Oriesha and Kumina. Throughout carnivals around the world we have seen the heavy use of feathers. Feathers were frequently used by Africans on masks and headdresses as a symbol of their ability as humans to rise above problems, pains, illness and also a way of travelling to another world to be reborn and to grow spiritually. Today these feathers adorn the backs of many masqueraders, playing an important part in the costume making process.

South to the islands of Trinidad & Tobago, a significant Indian culture has contributed to the fashion as well. Often Caribbean men and women can be seen wearing elaborately beautiful rich designs such as the kurta, shalwar, sari, and lehenga. Accessorising through jewellery such as bangles and bindi is also common and popular. Additionally, another art form, Caribbean literature, generally refers to the literature of all Caribbean territories regardless of language, whether written in English, Spanish, French, or Dutch, or one of numerous creoles. Indentureship and migration were key factors in shaping Caribbean literature. One unique and pervasive characteristic of Caribbean literature is the use of “dialect” forms of the national language, also termed as termed ‘creole’. The various local variations in the language adopted from the colonial powers such as Britain, Spain, Portugal, France and the Netherlands, have been modified over the years within each country and each has developed a blend that is unique to their country. In conclusion, creolization has played a significant role in the evolution of Caribbean art forms and lead to progress in modern day society due to the hybridization of cultures.

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