On a Tropical Isle

DESCRIPTION: "In this wonderful isle Everyone is wearing a smile Come on enjoy yourself. Don't stay up there in the shelf ... native guitars ... take a buggy ride and watch the moon ... with your lover by your side"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1952 (Blind Blake Higgs: see WIHIGGS01)
KEYWORDS: music nonballad lover travel
FOUND IN: West Indies(Bahamas)
RECORDINGS:
Blind Blake Higgs, "On a Tropical Isle" (on WIHIGGS01)
NOTES: The current description is based on Higgs: probably intended primarily for tourists.
"The goombay drum" is a feature of the Jamaican Maroon culture.
Pages references below are to Olive Lewin, Rock It Come Over (Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, 2000).
Very briefly, the Jamaican Maroons originated as Spanish slaves who escaped when the British took Jamaica in 1655. Over the next two centuries there were guerrilla wars and accomodations between the Maroons and British that left the Maroons with independent enclaves within Jamaica. The Maroons in those enclaves were isolated, culturally, from other Jamaicans and remain so today, to an ever-shrinking degree. There was a distinct Maroon music and dance culture. [pp. 152-156]
"The most important Maroon drums are the prenting and the goombeh.... The drums were vital in relaying messages and inducing trances during which special persons went into a state of Myal and warned of impending [British] attacks.... Both drums are used on religious and secular occasions.... The goombeh is the prime symbol and revered instrument of Accompong Maroons.... Goombeh rhythms are quick and sharp, in keeping with the darting, angular dances that they accompany." [pp. 159-160] - BS
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