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Caribbean Culture

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Boukman Eksperyans
Duration 6:13

On June 26th, 2010 the GRAMMY-nominated group Boukman Eksperyans performed at the 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in honor of the Haitian people affected by the earthquake in January, 2010.

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La India Canela
Duration 5:07

La India Canela is a much revered accordianist of Dominican merengue típico. Here she performs at the 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival for the Las Américas program.

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Influences on Merengue Típico
Duration 3:22

La India Canela shares how modern musical and cultural influences are changing the traditional merengue típico sound.

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Passion for the Accordion
Duration 4:07

La India Canela demonstrates her dynamic ability during recording sessions for Smithsonian Folkways in Santiago, Dominican Republic, in 2007.

A Traditional Bomba
Duration 6:23

Bomba is percussion-driven music created by enslaved Africans in Puerto Rico during the 17th century. This Viento de Agua performance demonstrates the gracimá and hoyoemula rhythms.

Drums in the Plena
Duration 1:27

Plena is an Afro-Latino tradition that developed out of bomba music around the beginning of the 20th century in southern Puerto Rico. Los Pleneros de la 21 demonstrate the pandereta and explain its role in plena music.

Performance of "El Testigo"
Duration 4:31

Los Pleneros de la 21 perform in this live performance at the 2005 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The performance shows rich instrumentation blended with rhythms and melodic lines.

Performance of "Carmelina"
Duration 3:36

Los Pleneros de la 21 perform "Carmelina," a traditional plena in tribute to the great plenero Marcial Reyes Arvelo, a founding member of the group and author of the piece.

Música Jíbara
Duration 2:00

The Puerto Rican group Ecos de Borinquen brings the traditional sounds of jíbaro's past into the present. Their song "El Cuatro" references the cuatro, an instrument unique to música jíbara.

"Mujer Borinqueña"
Duration 1:59

Miquel Santiago-Diaz, founder of Ecos de Borinquen, demonstrates the aguinaldo style from the town of Orocovis with "Mujer Borinqueña," a song extolling the virtues of a Puerto Rican woman.

Bahamian Medley
Duration 3:22

A sampling of the rich heritage of Bahamian music and dance illustrated in performances from the 1994 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Bahamian Junkanoo Parade
Duration 2:41

Master Bahamian drum maker John Chipman explains the role of drums in Junkanoo and drum-making techniques used in The Bahamas.

Sons of Andros
Duration 1:44

Sons of Andros is a contemporary gospel group from the Bahamian island of Andros. In this interview, they explain the importance of spirituality and family to Bahamian music and culture.

Puerto Rican Community
Duration 0:49

Master Puerto Rican plena drummer Tito Matos discusses the importance of teaching music to younger generations in local communities.

Musical Traditions
Duration 1:12

Tito Matos discusses how he and his bands keep Puerto Rican musical traditions alive and popular in the community without big record labels or radio play.