Sunday, 26 January 2020

Major Religions in Connecticut

A church in Litchfield, Connecticut.
Christianity is the religion of the majority in Connecticut.

Connecticut is an American state located in the nation’s New England region, and it spans an area of about 5,567 square miles. According to the US Census Bureau, it was estimated that in 2017 the state was home to about 3,588,184 people. Despite being one of the smallest states in the US, Connecticut has one of the highest median household incomes in the country. Religion played a significant role in Connecticut’s history as the Puritans, a Christian denomination, were among the first communities to establish a colony in the region. Religion still plays an important role in the state as a significant portion of the population, more than 70%, claimed to belong to a particular faith.


According to a survey carried out in 2014 by Pew Forum, 33% of the residents of Connecticut identified as Roman Catholics. According to historical records, the first Catholic mass in Connecticut was conducted in the town of Lebanon. In 1881 a celebration was held in the town of Hartford in St. Peter's Parish to mark a hundred years since the first Catholic mass was held in the state. The Catholic Church in Connecticut has constructed many elementary schools and high schools such as the St. Paul Catholic High School and the Notre Dame High School which contribute to improving the education standards in the state. Despite the rich Catholic history in the state, according to Pew Forum, a high number of Catholics in the state are leaving the faith due to some reasons primarily the moral conduct of the priests.


Protestants form a significant majority of Connecticut’s population as in 2014; they comprised roughly 35% of the total residents. One of the first groups to settle in the state’s borders belonged to a Protestant sect referred to as Puritans who were fleeing the religious persecution prevalent in England at the time. Religion formed an integral part of the lives of early Puritan communities in the state as it dominated both their social and political lives. The main Protestant groups in Connecticut are Mainline Protestant and Evangelical Protestants with Mainline Protestants occupying the largest portion at approximately 17%. Evangelical Protestants make up about 13.5% of the state’s Christian community. Evangelicals who follow the Baptist tradition make up about 5% with other notable evangelical groups being the Pentecostal and Restorationist families. The most widespread Mainland Protestant group in Connecticut is the Congregationalist families. One of the Protestant churches in Connecticut, The First Cathedral situated in the town of Bloomfield, has the distinction of being the largest church building in the New England area.

Other Religion in Connecticut

Due to the influx of migrants from other regions, some religions have taken root in Connecticut. About 3% of the people in Connecticut identify as Jews with large populations living in areas such as West Hartford and Greater New Haven. Other religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism also have adherents in the state.

Religious Intolerance in Connecticut

During Connecticut’s history, residents did not believe in religious tolerance as only people who belonged to the Puritan faith were welcome in the colony. However, the US Constitution ensures that the religious freedom of every citizen is respected ensuring that residents from different faiths can live in the state.

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

The Largest Cities In Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut.
Bridgeport is Connecticut's largest city.

The Northeastern US state of Connecticut is home to a population of 3,574,097 individuals (as of 2010). It is located in the New England region of the country. The fundamental administrative level in Connecticut is the New England town. 169 towns are present in the state. Of these, 19 have been chartered as cities. Connecticut has the highest HDI and per-capita income in the county. Here is a list of the largest cities in Connecticut.

The Most Populous Cities In Connecticut


A historic seaport city, Bridgeport is the largest city in Connecticut. It is located in Fairfield County where the Pequonnock River drains into the Long Island Sound. The population of the city is around 144,229 individuals. It is New England region’s 5th most populous city. Previously a thriving industrial center, Bridgeport’s economy is currently primarily service-based. Two hospitals present in Bridgeport, the St. Vincent's Medical Center and the Bridgeport Hospital, are the largest employers in the city.

New Haven

With a population of 129,779 people, New Haven is Connecticut’s second biggest city and the country's first planned city. It is located in the New Haven County on New Haven Harbor along the shore of Long Island Sound. New Haven was founded in 1638 by English Puritans. It now hosts the prestigious Yale University. It is the largest employer and taxpayer in the city. Other important economic sectors of New Haven are biotechnology companies, professional services, financial services, retail trade, etc. New Haven is often regarded as the Cultural Capital of Connecticut since its houses many museums, music and theater venues, etc.


The capital city of Connecticut is Hartford, its third largest city. Located in the Hartford County, the city hosts a population of 124,775 individuals. Due to a large number of insurance companies headquartered in Hartford, the city is often nicknamed as the "Insurance Capital of the World”. The city, founded in 1635, is one of the oldest cities in the country. The country’s oldest publicly funded park, Bushnell Park, is located in this city. The oldest public art museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum, is also in Hartford. Mark Twain, the renowned author, also lived here and completed some of his most famous works in the city.


The fourth largest city in Connecticut, Stamford, hosts a population of around 122,643 people. It is located in the Fairfield County of the state. The city has a thriving economy. It has the second largest financial district in the New York metropolitan region after New York City itself.


The fifth largest city in Connecticut, Waterbury, is located on the Naugatuck River’s banks. It is located in the New Haven County and has a population of around 110,366 individuals. It is New England’s 9th largest city and the 10th biggest city in the New York Metropolitan Area.

The Largest Cities In Connecticut

Rank City County Population

1 Bridgeport Fairfield 1,44,229
2 New Haven New Haven 1,29,779
3 Hartford Hartford 1,24,775
4 Stamford Fairfield 1,22,643
5 Waterbury New Haven 1,10,366
6 Norwalk Fairfield 85,603
7 Danbury Fairfield 80,893
8 New Britain Hartford 71,254
9 Bristol Hartford 61,353
10 Meriden New Haven 59,653

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

The Ethnic Composition Of The Population Of Connecticut

The state of Connecticut has a diverse population.
The state of Connecticut is slowly becoming more ethnically diverse.

Connecticut is a US state which is on the southern parts of the New England region. It is surrounded by Long Island Sound, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York. According to the 2010 census, the state had the top median household income, HDI (Human Development Index), and per-capita income in the country. The most highly populated city in Connecticut is Bridgeport, and its capital is Hartford. It is the fourth most densely populated state in the United States and the twenty-ninth most populous state in the country. The state is slowly becoming more ethnically diverse. From 1990 to 2010, the percentage of the population identifying as White dropped from 87% to 77.6%.

History of Connecticut

The first settlers in this region were Dutchmen who developed a small settlement known as Fort Hoop. Over 50% of the state was previously part of the Dutch colony, and during the 1630s the English developed the first main settlement in the territory. Thomas Hooker led a group of settlers from Massachusetts to this place and helped create the colony of Connecticut. Other settlers from Massachusetts established the New Haven and Saybrook colonies. These colonies were merged in 1662 to create a crown colony known as Connecticut.

Demographics of Connecticut

The estimated population of the state by July 1, 2015, was 3,590,886, which was a 0.47% increase since 2010. Connecticut had a growth of approximately 16,789 people from 2010 to 2015 which included a natural growth of about 67,427 people (154,795 deaths and 222,222 births). It also included an increase due to the net-migration of 41,718 individuals. Immigration from other countries resulted in a growth of about 75,991 residents while relocation within the United States created a net loss of approximately 34,273 individuals.

The population is fairly evenly divided between the sexes with males representing 48.4% and females representing 51.6%. When looking at age, 13.8% of the residents are over 65 years old, 24.7% are below 18 years of age, and 6.6% are under five years. In 1790, 97% of the population was classified as rural. The 2010 census classified only 12.3% of the residents as rural.

Ethnic Composition of Connecticut

As of 2010, over 77.6% of the people living in Connecticut identified as White, and this included White Hispanics (6.4%) and non-Hispanic Whites (71.2%). The largest non-White population is the Latinos or Hispanics representing 13.4% of the state's population followed by African Americans of Blacks at10.1%. The state also has smaller populations of Asians (3.8%) and Alaska Natives or American Indians (0.3%). The percentage of Whites in Connecticut decreased from 87% in 1990 to 77.6% in 2010 while that of Blacks increased from 8.3% to 10.1% during the same time period.
Over 11.4% of the residents were foreign-born in 2004. English is the dominant mother-tongue with 81.69% of the residents aged five and above speaking English in 2010. Other languages include Polish (1.2%), French (1.31%), Italian (1.59%), and Spanish (8.42%). The biggest ancestry groups in the state are Italians (19.3%), Irish (17.9%), English (10.7%), German (10.4%), and Polish (8.6%).

Religion of Connecticut

A pew survey of the state in 2014, confirmed that Catholics adherents in the state had dropped from 43% in 2000 to 33% in 2014 while the number of Protestants had increased from 27% to 35%. The number of Jews had decreased from 3.2% in 2000 to 3% in 2014. The number of non-religious individuals grew to 28%. Other smaller denominations in Connecticut include Muslims, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormons, and Eastern Orthodox among others.

By Geoffrey Migiro

•culled from

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Son, Ranchera and Mariachi Musical Styles in Mexico

Blend Images - Jeremy Woodhouse/Brand X/Getty Images
Mexico has a musical history that is full of many different musical styles and influences, such as music from the Aztecan indigenous culture, music from Spain and Africa, songs from ranching life or festive mariachi bands.

Mexico's Rich Musical History

Dating back more than a thousand years before any contact was made with Europeans in the 16th century, the area was dominated by the Aztec culture, a culture that maintained an important and complex musical tradition.

After Cortes’ invasion and conquest, Mexico became a Spanish colony and remained under Spanish dominion for the next two hundred years. The music of Mexico incorporated their Pre-Columbian, Aztecan roots together with Spanish culture. Then, add a third dimension to the mix, the music of the Spanish-imported African slaves to the land. Mexican folk music draws from all three of these cultural influences.

Mexican Son

Son Mexicano means "sound" in Spanish. The music style first appeared in the 17th century and is a fusion of music from indigenous, Spanish and African traditions, much like the Cuban son.

In Mexico, the music exhibits lots of variation from region to region, both in rhythm and instrumentation. Some of these regional differences include son jarocho from the area around Vera Cruz, son jaliscenses from Jalisco, and others, such as son huasteco, son calentano, and son michoacano.


Ranchera is an outgrowth of son jaliscenses. Ranchera is a type of song that was literally sung on a Mexican ranch. Ranchera originated in the mid-19th century just before the Mexican revolution. The music was centered on traditional themes of love, patriotism, and nature. Ranchera songs are not just one rhythm; the style can be like a waltz, polka or bolero. Ranchera music is formulaic, it has an instrumental introduction and conclusion as well as a verse and refrain in the middle.

Mariachi Origins

We tend to think of mariachi as a style of music, but it's actually a group of musicians. There is some disagreement about where the name mariachi comes from. Some music historians believe that it is derived from the French word mariage, meaning "wedding," and indeed, mariachi groups still form an essential part of weddings in Mexico.

An alternate theory posits that the word comes from a Coca Indian word that originally referred to the platform on which the orchestra performed.

A mariachi orchestra is composed of at least two violins, two trumpets, a Spanish guitar, and two other types of guitars, the vihuela, and guitarron. The charro suits, or ornate horseman suits, worn by the band members are attributed to General Portofino Diaz who, in 1907, ordered the poor peasant musicians to don these outfits in order to look good for a visit by the U.S. Secretary of State. The tradition has lived on ever since.

Mariachi Evolution

Mariachis play many different types of music, although the style is closely tied to ranchera music. Originally mariachi and ranchera music was mostly about romantic themes, but as the Mexican economy worsened, the haciendas could no longer afford to have their own mariachi band on the premises and they let the musicians go. As a result of unemployment and harder times, the mariachi began to change themes singing about revolutionary heroes or current events.

By the early 20th century, mariachi previously known only through their various regional styles began to coalesce into a uniform musical genre, one that became recognizable throughout all of Mexico. That was due, in large part, to musicians Silvestre Vargas and Ruben Fuentes of the mariachi group "Vargas de Tecalitlan" who made sure that the popular music was written down and standardized.

In the 1950s, trumpets and a harp were introduced to the orchestra, and that instrumentation is what we can currently find in mariachi bands of today.

By Tijana Ilich

•culled from

Friday, 24 January 2020

Rara Started With The Talking Drummers

In those days, when there was nothing like the modern stage which we have today. I mean, modern stage with light effects, props and costumes to enhance theatrical performance, the talking drummers were always having their ways at shows putting up shows that were always attracting their audience from everywhere. No modern buildings called theatres today that time. Their shows were always put up on the roads and streets.

They were unique in both drumming and singing at the same time which is lacking in our today's young talking drummers. The talking drummers then had access to oral tradition which they made use of quite a lot during their performance. As a matter of fact, they were very deep rooted in oral tradition hence they would be chanting, singing and drumming at the same time using the three qualities to woo and enhance their performance.

What is known as Rara today started with the talking drummers. What is Rara? It is a Yoruba term used to the describe the 'call and respond style' used most often during their musical shows. The drummer beats something on his drum and he uses his mouth to interpret it. This style is very common in music today and it has become a universal acceptance in music.
Rara was the style used in those days by versatile talking drummers to make their performance magical and thrilling whenever they needed to do it.

Their instruments are namely Gudugudu, Omele Ako, Omele Abo and Iya Ilu. The ensemble perform for kings, chiefs, marriages, namings e.t.c. Sometimes, a man playing the big maracas  with the drummers is made to interpret what the talking drummers are saying. He chants, sings and dances to uniquely statue the all attentive audience watching and enjoying their performance with keen interest. But all in all, it still falls within what is known as Rara today.

In one of my musical works, I made use of the 'call and respond style' from the beginning of the song to the end. Rara is depicted in our rendition of the song. This is to show the beauty of Rara in song writing, composing and singing. This video explains it better.

Conclusively, Rara is a musical style which musicians are consciously or unconsciously using today. And homage should be paid to the travelling drummers who started it a long time ago. We pay homage to the first talking drummer! Agalu a gbe wa o!! Ase!!!

By Olalekan Oduntan

Thursday, 23 January 2020

What Is The Religious Composition Of The Adult Population Of Colorado?

Saint Catherine of Siena Chapel, better
known as Chapel on the Rock.
64% of the adult population of Colorado are followers of Christianity.

The US state of Colorado is located in the west-central region of the country. It is home to a population of around 5.54 million individuals. The racial and ethnic makeup of this state is as follows: White (81.3%), Hispanic (20.7%), African American (4%), Asian American (2.8%), and Native American (1.1%). At least 7.2% identify as a different race and 0.1% identifies as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. In addition to the racial and ethnic diversity of this population, the residents of Colorado are also diverse in terms of religious identification. This article takes a closer look at the religious composition of the adult population of this state, according to the Pew Research Center.


The majority of the adult population of Colorado (64%) identifies as a follower of Christianity. The Christians in Colorado are predominantly white (71%) and between the ages of 18 and 49 (55%). The educational demographics as reported by these individuals is as follows: high school or less (34%), some university (33%), university (20%), and post-graduate education (13%). The majority are married (61%) and most (66%) are not parents.

Of the adult Christians in Colorado, over one-quarter (26%) report following the Evangelical Protestant sect. The Evangelical movement is considered multi-denominational and its doctrine relies heavily on the idea of spiritual rebirth. Its origin dates back to the late 18th century. In Colorado, Evangelical Protestants are predominantly white (77%) and between the ages of 18 and 49 (58%). Their educational level tends to be below a college degree, 37% report having a high school education or less and another 36% report having received an incomplete college education.

The second largest Christian group (16%) identifies as Catholic. One of the central ideas of this church is the Apostolic succession of its bishops, a name used to refer to one of its religious leaders. Catholicism is recognized for its long-lasting influence over the development of the majority of the world. This percentage of individuals identifying as Catholic represents a decrease from the 2010 results, when the number of Catholic followers was larger. This decrease could partially be explained by the relatively small sample size of the most recent survey.

Other Christian sects in Colorado include (as a percentage of the total Christian population): Mainline Protestant (15%), Black Protestant (2%), Mormon (2%), Orthodox (1%), Other (1%), and Jehovah’s Witness (less than 1%). Mainline Protestant refers to a variety of Protestant denominations that may include: Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, and Quaker to name a few. The term Black Protestant refers to a Protestant church that has traditionally been attended primarily by African American worshippers.


The second largest religious identity in Colorado are those who identify as non-religious or unaffiliated with a particular religion. Approximately 29% of the adult population of this state report this religious identity. The non-religious category is divided into 3 parts: those with no particular belief system (20%), agnostic (5%), and atheist (4%). Agnostics believe that humans lack sufficient scientific evidence to determine if a supernatural deity actually exists or not. Atheists, in contrast, do not believe that the existence of a supernatural deity is possible.
The non-religious adults in Colorado are predominantly white (75%) and between the ages of 18 and 49 (64%). The level of educational attainment as reported by these individuals is: high school or less (32%), some university (35%), university (21%), and post-graduate education (12%). Only 45% of these individuals report being married and another 35% report having never been married. Just over one-quarter of non-religious individuals in Colorado (26%) are parents.

Minority Religions

Of the adult individuals polled by the Pew Research Center, 5% identified as belonging to a minority religion. These minority religions include Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and others. Of these denominations, the Jewish and Buddhist faiths have the largest following, each with 1% of respondents under this category. Islam and Hinduism each have less than 1% of the adults in this category. Approximately 2% of respondents identified as belonging to some other world religion. The majority of the adherents to these minority religions can be found living in the Denver metropolitan area, which is the capital of Colorado. Of these groups, the Jewish population has most likely been in this state for longer than the others, with records of their arrival dating back to the Gold Rush era of the late 19th century.

Religious Behavior In Colorado

The 504 respondents in this poll were asked questions about both their religious identity and their religious behaviors. For example, adults were asked about how certain they are of the existence of a god. To this, 55% of respondents claimed to be absolutely certain of their belief in a god. This was followed by: fairly certain (23%), not too certain (7%), don’t know (1%), do not believe at all (10%), and not sure (3%). Additionally, 47% of the adults polled responded that religion plays a very important role in their lives. Around 28% answered that religion is only somewhat important to them, 12% said it is not too important, and 13% said it is not important at all.

Of those individuals who identified with some type of religion, only 30% reported attending a religious event or service once a week. An additional 31% reported attending once a month or a few times every year, while 38% said they never attended religious services. The act of praying, however, seems to be more commonly practiced with 50% of respondents claiming to participate in prayer at least once a day. Around 28% of the group reported never or rarely ever praying. The vast majority of adults who identify as religious in Colorado also responded that they rarely ever get together in religious study or prayer groups. Only 18% of respondents said they attend these groups at least once a week.
In terms of the spiritual beliefs, thoughts, and attitudes held by Colorado adults (whether religious or not), 55% of individuals polled claimed to feel a sense of spiritual well-being most of the time. Additionally, 47% of respondents reported feeling in awe of the universe on a weekly basis. Around 43% of Colorado adults rely on their innate sense of right from wrong to guide them through their daily lives, rather than on spiritual or religious scripture.

By Amber Pariona

•culled from

The Population Of Colorado

Cyclists in downtown Denver, Colorado
The population of Colorado was 5,456,574 on July 1st, 2015, as per estimates made by the United States Census Bureau.

The Population Of Colorado

Colorado is a western state in the US. The name Colorado is a Spanish word meaning ‘colored red.' The state is also referred to as ‘The Centennial State’ because it was established on the 100th Anniversary of American Independence. The state is famous for its mining industry and Agriculture. The people of Colorado are referred to as Coloradans.

Current Population Of Colorado

According to the Census Bureau of the US, the population of Colorado was 5,456,574 as of July 1, 2015. Out of the total population, 23% of the residents are below 18 years while 13% of the residents are over 65 years. Men outnumber women by a small margin. The population of men constitutes 50.3% of the population while women make up 49.7%. Whites are the dominant race and represent 87.5% of the population. African Americans are the leading minority race at 4.5% of the population. Asians make up 3.2% while Natives make up 1.6% of the total population.

Origin And Growth Of Colorado's Population

The earliest occupants of Colorado were hunters who lived 20,000 years ago. In around 100BC, Basket makers moved to South Western Colorado where they grew corn and squash. By 800AD, Pueblo Indian had settled in Colorado and practiced advanced farming and pottery-making. Pueblo Indians built apartment-like structures in the Colorado canyons. Spanish explorers moved to the southeastern region of Colorado in the 17th century. In 1858, multitudes of Americans moved into Colorado following reports of a gold strike in Cherry Creek. Subsequently, mining towns such as Blackhawk, Central City, Gold Hill, Boulder, and Colorado City emerged. The 1860s witnessed conflicts between Indian and white settlers. Colorado was established as a state in 1876. Establishment of rail lines, refineries, and coalfields attracted immigrants from as far as Germany and Russia. Another boom in the oil and mining industry in the 1980s attracted more immigrants from other states.

Religion Of The People Of Colorado

Lutherans, Methodists, and Episcopalians were among the earliest settlers in Colorado. Later, Spanish settlers in the 18th century brought Roman Catholic religion to Colorado. Currently, Protestants make up the largest religious group at 44% of the population. Roman Catholics comprise 19%, Mormons 3%, Jews 2%, Muslims 1%, while Buddhists and Hindus make up 1%. 25% of the population is not affiliated with any religious group.

Ethnicity Of The Population of Colorado

Colorado is a state of multiple ethnic groups. In 2010, the whites including white Hispanics were 81.3% of the population of Colorado. The blacks comprised 4.0%, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander were 0.1%, other races 7.2%, and two or more races (Multiracial Americans) were 3.4% of the total population of Colorado. Most of the Whites have German ancestry. Whites of Swiss ancestry and Austrian origin also make up the Non-Hispanic Whites.

Sources Of Livelihood Of The People

In the 19th century, Colorado was famous for its booming mining and oil industry. Mining and oil are still huge contributors to the Colorado economy. Advanced agriculture is another important sector particularly in the adaptation of farming technology. Tourism and real estate are major income earners for the state. Denver, Colorado's capital city, is a financial hub. Furthermore, several famous brands have their factories and headquarters in Colorado. Colorado is known for raising cattle, dairy goods; sheep are some of the commercially important activities. The crops common in Colorado include corn, wheat, hay, and Sugar beets. From the 1950s, manufacturing has played a significant role as a source of income in the state. Other major industries of Colorado include food processing, manufacturing of computer equipment, transportation equipment, aerospace products, printing and publishing, electrical equipment, and chemicals among others.

The Population Of Colorado

Rank Racial composition 2010

1 White (includes White Hispanics) 81.3%
2 Black 4.0%
3 Asian 2.8%
4 Native 1.1%
5 Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander 0.1%
6 Other race 7.2%
7 Two or more races (Multiracial Americans) 3.4%

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

What Is The Ethnic Composition Of Colorado?

The city of Denver, Colorado.
The largest demographic groups in Colorado are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and more.

The US state of Colorado is located in the southern side of the Rocky Mountains. In terms of population, the state had an estimated 2016 population of about 5,540,545 people, which makes it the 21 st most populous state in the US. Compared to the census of 2010, the population had increased by around 10.17%. Denver, which is also the capital, is the most populated city of the state.

Data from 2016 shows that 3,796,733 people in Colorado are white, which translates to about 68% of the entire population. The second largest ethnic group is Hispanic at 1,181,218 people (about 21%). The black population of Colorado is 220,728, or around 4% of the state's population.
Some of the biggest ancestry groups in Colorado include Germans, Austrian, Swiss, Mexican, Irish, English, Chinese, Vietnamese, and more.

Languages in Colorado

While English is the most spoken language in Colorado, Spanish comes in second place. There is only one Native American language that is spoken in Colorado, called Colorado River Numic.

Religion in Colorado

The majority of the population of Colorado is protestant Christian, representing around 44% of the population. Other sizeable religions include Roman Catholic, Mormon, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist. A growing number of people living in Colorado do not affiliate with any religion. They represent nearly one-third of the entire population.

By Ferdinand Bada

•culled from

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Music & Dance In Jamaica

Mento and Folk
find Reggae Roots and Culture in your holiday rhythm

Come and discover the island through our endless amounts of great music. From rocksteady to reggae and island “riddims,” hear for yourselves why we’re the peaceful and world-changing paradise we are today.

Music is at Jamaica’s heart. Every pulsing beat pushes forth the creativity and soul of a bold, strong and resilient people.

There is no beat that is too difficult to complement with the art of movement; no tune that doesn’t make us groove. No condition that we cannot master through the rhythm and word combination. We feel the vibrations, we live the lyrics and we redefine our space and place with music.

Jamaican music is world famous, not only for making you want to sing along and shake your hips, but also for being a powerful tool for ‘change.’ Although Reggae is commonly used to define Jamaica’s music, the island’s traditional or folk music is rich – heavy with the substance of African rhythms and collective experiences – and has continued to evolve into an extraordinary legacy. Drawing from several different influences, our music reflects the tides of the time with the sounds and rhythms, each possessing its own distinctive beat.

Folk is the earliest music form in Jamaica and remains one of the most influential aspects of our heritage. Its beat shakes social barriers and unifies our nation with its intensity and ingenuity. Its power to heal, inspire and incite makes it an essential part of the Jamaican identity. The music is characterized by three main groups – tunes for work and entertainment, religious melodies, and dance music. Each group has its own harmony, but all share a commonality in the types of accompaniments used, primarily the drum and small wind and string instruments.

Towards the turn of the 20th century we soaked up calypso, tango and samba, fusing to create a vibrant Jamaican music form called Mento. Its medley of banjos, hand drums, guitars and rhumba boxes created a fascinating beat with light-hearted and often times comical lyrics.

Awaiting our Independence during the 1960's, we became saturated with optimism. Filled with high hopes and huge dreams, Ska’s buoyant jazz rhythms, though influenced by American Rhythm and Blues, became Jamaican naturalized. Everywhere you went it was ska, ska, ska! When the sound hit abroad, it spread like wild fire through London’s underground scene, scoring ‘big time’ with Millie Small’s ‘My Boy Lollipop’.

The ‘giddy-up’ bug took a hiatus, the music beat slowed and a heavy bass emerged in the 1970’s. Social messages were turned into song. Dance moves became languid and ‘rude boys’ found kinship with the new sound that epitomized the times. This was Rock Steady but this epoch was transitory, for it had to make way for the inevitable scorching, rebel music – Reggae!

Reggae is Jamaica’s most internationally recognized music and the heartbeat of our people. The music form has undergone a series of phases including Roots, Ragga, Dub, and Dancehall. Nevertheless it remains a primary platform used by Jamaican artistes to express their thoughts on social and political conditions. Still, Reggae in its purest form continues to dominate. Bob Marley’s posthumous greatest hits compilation, ‘Legend’, has sold over 15 million copies and he was awarded the Grammy Life Time Achievement Award for 2001. TIME Magazine named Marley’s ‘EXODUS’ the best album of the 20th century, and his song ‘One Love’ was adopted by the British Broadcasting Corporation as its Millennium Anthem.

As a genre, reggae music reverberated with the dispossessed.  Jamaican legends Burning Spear, Bunny Wailer, Bob Marley, Dennis Brown and Peter Tosh helped to shape the music form. The sounds dominated the recording studios, filled record shops, bellowed from sound systems and reigned supreme at street dances. Jamaicans from all walks of life descended on downtown lawns and halls and various night clubs to ‘level the vibes’.

Reggae music is synonymous with both hardship and a good time, both the endurance of and the celebration of overcoming a struggle. The feel-good experience of reggae music blaring from sound system speakers is had both at the local corner store and a major reggae festival. Closely linked with the Rastafarian religion, reggae invokes a sense of upliftment and an appreciation of life in all its forms. It's music for the people.

Reggae remains popular on the international scene from roots rock to dancehall. It has gained success abroad and has been credited for the birth of the popular American genre, ‘Hip-Hop’. Modern artistes continue to fuse the reggae rhythms with other music forms to create new sounds, infusing their messages and spreading cool island vibes. Without doubt, Jamaica has left an indelible imprint on the musical landscape. Our music continues to uplift and inspire, possessing that natural groove that keeps you feeling good.

Dancehall is one of the most prominent forms of reggae that has found much favour with the younger generation. It emerged in the late 80s and early 90's as an outgrowth of reggae.  The high energy and hardcore ‘riddims’ capture the vibrant popular culture from the slangs to fashion and dance moves. The experience of local street dances and 'dance halls' equipped with sound systems and stereo boxes stacked high is unlike any other entertainment event in the world. Hardcore lyrics toasted over computerized ‘riddims’, deejay clash (face offs), sound systems and new dance styles and fashion statements are standard trademarks. Deejays’ reputations are built on their prowess for versatile rhymes, catchy new phrases and their ability to ‘ride’ a riddim. Popular deejay acts ‘King’ Yellowman, Shabba Ranks, Shaggy, Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Lady Saw, Capleton, and Bounty Killa attained celebrity status and became the keepers of young Jamaica’s hype.

Dancehall is credited as the predecessor of Hip Hop music and is a popular choice as the undercurrent of today's top billboard hits. Though easily experienced anywhere on island, the city of Kingston has drawn visitors from far and wide, eager to learn the latest dance moves at a weekly street dance. If reggae is music for your soul, dancehall is music for your feet.

Come Experience It

The National Dance Theatre Company showcases Jamaica’s colourful history and contemporary ideas, while groups like the Jamaica Folk Singers and University Singers perform traditional song and dance that honour the country’s past. Kingston's lively theatre scene offers a rich variety of locally themed and topical plays. A hallmark of Jamaican theatre is the Ward Theatre’s LTM Pantomime- an annual Jamaican folk musical with original song and dance and dramatic costumes. The season opens each year of December 26th and runs for several months.

Join us at any of these annual music festivals and events.

Accompong Maroon Festival
The Accompong Maroon Festival is a cultural celebration that commemorates over 200 years since the signing of the peace treaty between the Maroons and the British. The festival marks the victory of the First Maroon War against the British in which they fought for their freedom, led by their late...

Emancipation Jubilee
Jamaica’s rich culture and heritage will be celebrated during the 21st staging of the Emancipation Jubilee at the Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann. The annual event, will be held from July 31 into Emancipation Day on August 1. Emancipation Jubilee honours the contribution of our ancestors through...

Jamaica Music Conference
Gearing up for its 7th staging, JMC brings an industry invested in and/or enamored with the sounds and culture of Jamaica to its shores for authentic cross-pollination experiences. The 4-day intensive conference encompasses community service opportunities, authentic nightlife, fun in the sun across...

Reggae Sumfest
The year 2020 marks the 28th anniversary of Jamaica's biggest summer reggae festival, Reggae Sumfest. The event has 6 nights of activities which will include an All White Blitz party, A Sound system Explosion, Beach Party along with the main concert nights. Reggae Sumfest is known for electrifying...

•culled from

Monday, 20 January 2020

Religious Beliefs In California

Saint Ignatius church in California.
California has the highest number of Roman Catholics in the US.

California is the most populated state in the United States, with an estimated 39 million people living within its borders. With a population of this magnitude, diversity is displayed, particularly when it comes to religion. Being home to representatives of virtually every race on the planet, the state of California has Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Mormons, and Atheists.

Protestants - 32%

Protestants make up the largest religious group in California with about 32% of the population subscribing to the faith. There are more than 200 mega churches in the state with some dating back to the late 19th century. Some of the most famous Protestant churches in California include Hillsong LA, Tapestry Church LA, and the Renew Church.

Catholics - 28%

Until 2000, Catholics formed the most significant part of the population in the state of California, but now the Protestants have the largest following, however, California still has the largest number of Catholics in the whole of the United States making up 28% of the population. The Catholic faith has been part of California for 250 years and has been growing stronger over the years. Some of the most majestic and historical edifices in California are Catholic churches with the most notable one being the Serra Chapel located in San Juan Capistrano that was established in 1776. Others include the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi and the St. Timothy Church.

Non-Religious - 27%

The third largest group in California is incidentally made up of people who are not affiliated with any known religion. This group makes up about 27% of the total population of Californians. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that California has one of the highest numbers of atheist, non-affiliated theists, and agnostics.

Jews - 3.2%

California is home to more than 1 million Jews which makes it the second state with the largest population of Jews after the state of New York. Jews make up 3.2% of the population. Some of the iconic synagogues include the Beth Jacob Congregation located in Beverley Hills and Temple Israel in Stockton.

Muslims - 1%

Muslims make up 1% of California’s population which, despite their low numbers in comparison to the other religions is still the highest number of Muslims by any state. Most of them live in the San Diego area. Besides being home to the most number of Muslims, the state of California has the highest number of mosques among all the states.


Other religions prevalent in California include Buddhism, Shinto, Sikhism, Hinduism, and Taoism that became part of California thanks to the Asian emigrants who constitute a sizeable percentage of the population. California is also home to the 2nd largest number of Mormons after the state of Utah. Mormons trace their origin back to the 1800s which is the time they came from Brooklyn to make San Francisco their new home. About 780,000 Mormons live in California.

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

The Richest Cities in California

Santa Clara, California is home to Silicon Valley.
Santa Clara has the highest household median income out of all cities in California.

California is the largest state in the US with a population of about 40 million and its economy is dominated by trade, farming, science and technology, and media. The majority of economic activities is concentrated in the coastal cities of the state while the inner regions of the state are largely focused on farming. The strongest economic areas are located around Los Angeles where tourism, media, and trade play a significant role. Other regions include San Francisco where the major economic drivers include trade, technology, and tourism. The state of California is located as a coastal state where it plays a significant role of trade movement in and out of the United States. By 2018, the economic output of the state of California was only surpassed by the US, Japan, China, and Germany. Its economy is now larger than the economy of UK, and if it were a country, it would be ranked as the 5th largest in the world. Some of the richest cities in the state of California based median household income include the following.
California's Richest Cities

Santa Clara

Santa Clara city is found in the county of Santa Clara in California. The city had a population of 116,468 people in 2010. Now it has a population of 1,841,569, and a population density of 1,427.3 per square mile ranking as the 6th most populous city in the whole of San Francisco bay area. The city is about 45 miles to the south-east of San Francisco and was founded in 1777. Santa Clara was incorporated as a city in 1852 and is located in the center of the Silicon Valley, and several high tech companies have headquarters in the city which include giants such as Intel. The city is among the richest in California and has a median household income of $93,854 and per capita income of $42,666.


The city of Marin is a Census-Designated Place (CDP) and unincorporated community located in Marin County, California in the US. It is approximately 1.5 miles to the northwest of downtown Sausalito and almost five miles north of the city of San Francisco from the Golden gate bridge. It started as a housing community in 1942 where houses were built to accommodate the shipyard workers and other migrants in the state of California. Among the migrants were the African Americans who moved from the south during the great migration which went on until the 1970s. In 2010, the population of Marin city was about 2,666, but now the population is about 56,802 with a population density of 493.4 per square mile. The city is regarded as one of the richest in the state of California based median household income with income standing at $91,529. By 2010, the racial composition of the city of Marin was made up of 38.9% whites and 38.1% African Americans and approximately 14% Hispanic community.

San Mateo

San Mateo in the County of Mateo in California is situated in the high-tech region of the Silicon Valley found in the San Francisco Bay area. San Mateo is a Spanish name for Saint Mathew, and in 2016 the city of San Mateo had a population of 103,959, and presently the population stands at 739,837 translating to a population density of 1,649.7 per square mile. The city was incorporated in 1894, and it is now one of the largest 300 cities in the US. It is the third richest city in California based on median household income which stands at $91,421. The economy of San Mateo is highly diversified with most jobs being found in healthcare, technology, government, financial services, and retail trade. Some of the companies found in the city include Fisher Investment, Franklin Templeton Investments, GoPro, Roblox, SolarCity, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Solstice Netsuite, and Marketo, which are also the biggest employers in the city.

San Francisco

San Francisco is a Spanish name which means Saint Francis. The city of San Francisco is located in the county of San Francisco, and it is a financial, commercial, and cultural center in northern California which occupies an area of approximately 46.89 square miles. It is the 4th most populous city in California and the 13th most populous in the whole country. The city is also ranked as the 5th most densely populated urban area in the US after the five New York City boroughs as of 2016. The city of San Francisco was the 7th with the highest income in the country of $110,418 per capita personal income. The city was founded 1776 and is one of the richest cities in California based on median household income which is $78,378. The population of San Francisco is 829,072 people with a land population density of 1,768.01 people per square mile. During the gold rush of 1849 in California, there was a rapid growth of population in the city making it one of the largest on the west coast at the time. It became a consolidated city-county in 1856, and in 1906 about three-quarters of the city was destroyed as a result of the earthquake which led to a fire breakout. However, the city of San Francisco was rebuilt almost immediately to host an international exposition some few years after the earthquake.


The city of Ventura also serves as the county seat of Ventura County in California, and the region was inhabited for several thousands of years, and the earliest Europeans explorers encountered the Chumash or the Shisholop villages in the Pacific coast, who had exceptional navigation skills. Ventura is part of Los Angeles metropolitan area, and it is considered one of the richest cities in California based on household median income which stands at $77,335.

Population of Cities in California

The state of California has three cities with populations exceeding 1 million people, and 72 cities with populations varying from 100,000 to 1 million people. There are 300 cities with populations ranging from 10,000 and 100,000. The largest city in the state is Los Angeles with a population of slightly less than 4 million people. It is also the most populated city in California and the second most populous in the whole country.

The Richest Cities in California

Rank City Median Household Income

1 Santa Clara $93,854
2 Marin $91,529
3 San Mateo $91,421
4 Contra Costa $79,799
5 San Francisco $78,378
6 Ventura $77,335
7 Orange $75,998
8 Alameda $73,775
9 Placer $73,747
10 Napa $70,925

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

What Is the Population of California?

Pedestrians on Pier 39 in San Francisco, California.

There are an estimated 39 million people living in California.


The United States Of America

California is the third-largest American state by land area and the most populated . The population of California is estimated to be 39 million people. The exact population estimate is 39,557,045. This is a higher population than countries like Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Poland, and Morocco.

The state’s $2 trillion economy is bigger than that of Florida, and Texas combined and larger than the economy of any American state. California would have the world’s fifth-biggest economy if it were a country.

Population Growth

The population of California grew by 6.18% from 2010 (37,253,956 people) to 2018 (39,557,045 people). California’s population is projected to exceed 40 million by 2020. The number of residents in California increased by 3,090,016 people (5,058,440 births minus 2,179,958 people) from 2000 to 2009. A research conducted by the Manhattan-Institute for Policy-Research confirmed that over 3.4 million Californians have migrated to other American states since 1990. A huge percentage of Californians migrated to Arizona, Nevada, and Texas.
The second-most highly populated sub-national region in the western Hemisphere is California. It is the third-most highly populated sub-national entity outside Asia. The county of Los Angeles is more-populous than 42 American states. Four out of the top 15 highly populated American cities are from California.

Ethnicity Of California's Population

California is a multicultural and a multiethnic place. The largest ethnic group in California is white (including Hispanic white), accounting for 72.7%. The next largest ethnic group is Asian (15%) followed by Black (6.2%).

Languages Spoken In California

The de facto and de jure official language of California is English. About 57.02% of Californians over the age of 5 years used only English at home while 42.98% used another language by 2010. Other than English, there are more than 16 languages being used in California as the primary languages by over 100,000 Californians. The second most spoken language in the state is Spanish. California has the highest Chinese and Vietnamese speaking populations in the U.S. and third-highest Tagalog-speakers. Historically, California has been the most linguistically diverse place of the planet with over 70 Inidigenous languages.

What is the Population of California?

Rank Place Population

1 California 39,557,045

By Geoffrey Migiro

•culled from

Saturday, 18 January 2020

California: Best Places to Live

Santa Barbara, California.
San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles are among the top places to live in California.

The United States Of America

California is the most populated state in the US, and it's easy to see why. The state has great weather, gorgeous beaches, and friendly people. It also has the largest economy in the country. Silicon Valley, the technology capital of the world, is located there. These cities offer some of the best quality of life in the Golden State.

10. San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Founded in 1772 as a mission station, the city quickly grew and became a popular stop on Route 101 and opened the first motel in the world in 1925. SLO enjoys 300 days of sunshine in a year and has stunning natural beauty, making it an obvious choice for a place to live. The city is also home to some of the top-ranked schools such as the California Polytechnic State University. SLO has an excellent culture and entertainment scenes with incredibly big theaters. The unique lifestyle makes it one of the best places to live in California.

9. Santa Barbara

The coastal city of Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County. It is located between the Pacific Ocean and the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains. Santa Barbara one of the most popular destinations for tourist in the state. Its economy consists of a large service sector, healthcare, technology, education, manufacturing, agriculture, and finance. The cost of living is generally high in with rental homes costing an average of $1,400 per month. The city is served by Santa Barbara Airport and several train services.

8. Los Angeles

Southern California’s sprawling metropolis has a lot to offer for both its visitors and residents. From the Hollywood Walk of Fame to a number of iconic Hollywood production studios, the city is the capital of the country’s booming film industry. Los Angeles also ranks highly for its numerous modern amenities and a stable housing market. The city is also perfect for outdoor activities. With a population of about 4 million people, Los Angeles is the most populous city in California. Owning a home there costs an average of $825,000.

7. Irvine

Irvine is a small city in California, located in Orange County. It is one of the safest and wealthiest cities in the US, boasting of a booming job market, safe environment, and amazing weather. Irvine has constantly featured among the “Best Places to Live,” with the AreaVibe claiming that it is “exceptionally livable.” Irvine has numerous amenities and companies including over 200 Fortune 500 companies. The quality of education is top-notch with notable universities such as the University of California and the Irvine Valley College. Irvine also happens to be the 3rd happiest places to live in the US according to WalletHub.

6. San Francisco

From the iconic cable cars to the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is among the most beloved cities in America. The city is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Northern California. With a population of approximately 883,300 residents, San Francisco is California’s 4th most populous and the US’ 13th most populous city. The city is known for its bustling urban environment, thriving job market, and high-class restaurants. It was named the 4th happiest place to live and 34th best city for job seekers in the US. San Francisco has a stable housing market, cool weather, high income per capita, and numerous high-class amenities.

5. San Diego

San Diego is the state’s second-largest city with a population of approximately 1.4 million residents. San Diego is considered one of the best places to live in the world because of several factors including the warm climate, magnificent beaches, and outstanding amenities. This global tourist center has an amazing nightlife, especially in the Gaslamp Quarter. The city offers a wide range of outdoor activities, healthy job market, and high-quality life.

4. San Jose

San Jose has a population of approximately 1 million residents. According to the latest study by WalletHub, the city is the US’ second happiest place to live in. San Jose has a strong job market with endless opportunities for its population. The sunny weather makes it even more attractive, especially for tourists. The city boasts of a stable housing market with a median listing price for a home being $788,000.

3. Santa Rosa

With a population of 175,000 residents, Santa Rosa is the largest city in the Redwood Empire and the 5th most populous in the San Francisco Bay Area. Located north of San Francisco, the city boasts of sunny weather, fabulous shopping centers, and amazing restaurants. It also has high-end amenities such as schools, healthcare, and entertainment joints. Santa Rosa is ranked the 9th happiest place to live in the US because of the physical and healthy emotional well-being of its residents.

2. Los Altos

Los Altos is a city in northern Silicon Valley with a population of approximately 29,000 people. It was originally an agricultural city with a number of summer cottages and apricot orchards. However, Los Altos is now an affluent town with commercial zones, office park, and shopping area. The median household income in the city was $208,300 (2013-2017). In 2018, it was ranked the 5th wealthiest city in the US by the American Community Survey. Los Altos has a strong job market with top employers including the Los Altos School District and Whole Foods Market.

1. Piedmont

Piedmont, located in Alameda County, has a population of approximately 12,000 residents and is considered one of the best places to live in California. The city offers its residents an urban feel and most of the residents own their homes. Piedmont has plenty of bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and parks. Public schools and health care centers are highly rated and offer world-class services. The residents tend to be liberal and are always ready to assist strangers. The median cost of owning a home is $1.7 million while the median rent is $2,930.

By John Misachi

•culled from

Friday, 17 January 2020

Biggest Cities In California

Los Angeles is the most populous city in California, followed by San Diego and San Jose.
California is the most populated and the third most extensive state in the US. California is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada to the East, Arizona to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean on the western coastline. California is a global pillar and perhaps the most advanced state regarding technology, the internet, and entertainment.

The Largest Cities In California

1. Los Angeles - 3,971,883

Los Angeles is the largest city in California with a population of 3,971,883. As of 2008 the city's economy had a gross metropolitan product of $831 billion, the world's third largest city economy after Tokyo and New York. The economy of the LA is driven by trade and commerce, entertainment, tourism, aerospace, fashion, petroleum, and technology.

2. San Diego - 1,394,928

Located 120 miles south of Los Angeles, the city of San Diego ranks second among the biggest cities in California. It has a population of 1,394,928. The city is famous for its deep natural harbors, extensive beaches, mild year-round climate, association with the US Navy, and in recent years as a health and biotechnology development center.

3. San Jose - 1,026,908

San Jose is the third largest city in California and the center of the Silicon Valley region. Many large tech companies have their headquarters in San Diego, which has expanded rapidly since the 1960s.

4. San Francisco - 864,816

San Francisco is the fourth largest city in California with a population of 864,816. Known for its unique city design and its cultural heritage, San Francisco is also an extremely popular tourist destination, ranking among the ten most visited cities in the United States.

5. Fresno - 520,052

Fresno is the fifth largest city in California by population. It is located in the San Joaquin Valley. Like San Jose, Fresno experienced a large amount of growth in the second half of the 20th century.

Biggest Cities California

Rank City Population

1 Los Angeles 3,971,883
2 San Diego 1,394,928
3 San Jose 1,026,908
4 San Francisco 864,816
5 Fresno 520,052
6 Sacramento 490,712
7 Long Beach 474,140
8 Oakland 419,267
9 Bakersfield 373,640
10 Anaheim 350,742
11 Santa Ana 334,909
12 Riverside 322,424
13 Stockton 305,658
14 Chula Vista 265,757
15 Irvine 256,927
16 Fremont 232,206
17 San Bernardino 216,108
18 Modesto 211,266
19 Fontana 207,460
20 Oxnard 207,254

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

The Ethnic Composition Of The Population Of California

People walk the sidewalks in Venice
Beach, California.
California hosts people from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds.

California is a state in the western USA. It has a population of around 39 million, which makes it the most populated state in the country. Societies have made their home within California's borders for close to 10,000 years. Native Americans were the first communities to live in California, and they had a vast array of political systems. California attracted large numbers of European explorers with Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo and Francis Drake leading expeditions into the region. For a time, California was under Mexican rule which significantly impacted its culture and the demographics. The present-day Californian society is a diverse multi-ethnic community.

Demographics of California

Caucasian - 72.7%

Caucasians make up the most significant portion of California's population at around 72.7%. The Caucasians living in California claim a wide array of descents with the most significant community being from Mexico. People of German ancestry make up the most significant number of individuals of European descent at approximately 9%. California's population also has a substantial number of people who claim descent from several European communities such as the English, the Irish, and the Italians. California's Hispanic community is one of America's largest. The Caucasian population of California significantly influenced the state's culture, particularly concerning the religion and the language.

Asian - 15%

Individuals of Asian origin make up close to 15% of the total population. The history of Asians in California dates back to at least 1587 when sailors from the Philippines set foot in the area from Spanish ships. The number of Asians within California's territory has been increasing since 1970s when they made up 2.8% of the population. Besides being the first people of Asian descent in California, Filipinos make up the largest population of Asians in the state. People from China and Vietnam also make up significant portions of California's Asian community. The city of Milpitas has the highest number of Asians in California as they constitute roughly 67% of the town's population.

Black - 6.2%

Individuals of African ancestry initially arrived in California from Mexico as a result of the conquest of the Spanish. In 1850, California's African American population consisted of about 962 people and in the next ten years increased to more than 4,080 people. According to the census carried out in 1970, individuals of African American descent made up 7% of the population a number which gradually reduced over subsequent years to 6.2% in 2010. The city of Inglewood has the most significant proportion of African Americans as they make up nearly 42% of the population.

Race Relations in California

California is one of America's most diverse states. However, race relations in the state are not perfect. The state also has a great history of racism since public facilities such as schools were segregated.

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

Music in Honduras

Honduras is a place many people have never heard of but it is a country that captured my heart on a mission trip in the summer of 2010. Honduras is a small country located between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean and is bordered by Nicaragua. El Salvador, and Guatemala.  The official language of the country is Spanish.  The people who live there are some of the sweetest people I have ever met.  They have nothing yet are happy with what they have. They work everyday hoping they will earn enough money to have food on their table that night.  I have been to Honduras the past three summers and after a long day of working with my Honduras friends I noticed that they come back home and blast music while they cook dinner, shower, etc.  Music seems to be how they calm down after a long day.  San Pedro Sula, a city in Honduras was ranked the number one most dangerous city in the world in 2011 and my friends there say it is stressful to walk to school, walk to the market, or do anything because one wrong step and they could be shot and killed or raped.  They say that music is how they escape from the reality of life each night.  Music is not just blasted in the house.  Through the nonstop honking of horns on the street you can hear music being played really loud.  Even the supermarkets have music playing very loudly, which makes it hard to talk to someone unless you are standing right next to them.  Music is a big part of the Honduran culture and it is part of their daily life.

Honduran music combines elements from African and European nations and creates a style of their own.  African culture in particular has influenced a type of music called Punta.  Punta was created by the Garifuna and it is very successful because the lyrics are in Spanish. Women generally compose the lyrics and most people say that it is very difficult to dance to.  In Spanish, the word Punta means, “point” as in “tip” so it is said that the name might have come from that because the dance is performed on the tips of the dancers toes.

Another popular type of music is Garifuna Music. This music came from the Nigerian slaves who from St. Vincent to Central America when the British conquered the region.  The Garifuna kept themselves apart from the social system and they created and distinctive culture for themselves.  Their culture included chumba and hunguhungu, a circular dance in the three beat rhythm, which is sometimes combined with Punta.

The Conch Shell. © Google
Instruments used are also unique and create a sound that is not typical in the United States. Traditional Honduran musicians use instruments such as the marimba, caramba, and the conch shell.  In addition to those instruments, other instruments that are popular, especially in the Garifuna culture are the accordion, guitar, tortoise shells, maracas.  The tortoise shell is played with two drumsticks.  The maracas are two hollowed-out shells, which carry natural seeds called, “tears of Saint Peter.”  The conch shell has multiple uses in the culture.  It is used to call for the community to come buy fresh fish when the fishermen arrive.  Another use for it is when a family member has strayed away from the community.

The Drums. © Google
The most basic instrument they use is the drum. The drums are simple and monotone and they are used to keep a steady beat for the music.

The most famous artist in Honduras is Guillermo Anderson.  His style is composed of many different styles such as, Afro-Caribbean percussions, contemporary sounds, local rhythms, and folklore of Honduras. His songs tell stories about issues such as the environment and healthcare.  The songs also talk about the natural beauty in Honduras, its people, and situations Hondurans face in everyday life.

The music in Honduras is very unique and has a style of its own. The people in Honduras relate to the songs written and it is an important aspect of their life.

•culled from

Thursday, 16 January 2020

The Popular Music In Haiti

Haitian local musical group performs Rara.
© Google
In 1697, the Treaty of Ryswick granted the western third of the island of Hispaniola to the French crown. Afterwards, with the colony known by the new name of Saint Domingue, sugar production played a central role in its economic development, making it one of the most economically important and profitable French territories during the 18th century. This course of economic development profoundly affected the demographic makeup of the new French acquisition, which was directly related to the establishment of African slavery in the colony. For example, imports of slaves increased dramatically during the first 30 years from 3,000 to 47,000 and reached a peak nearly 500,000 slaves just before the first successful slave revolt broke out. The white French colonial elite, meanwhile, was a tiny fraction of the population. However, like in any slave society, they exercised fierce control over the subjugated populations. The socio-racial divisions were not so neatly split, however. In addition to those two extremes, there were intermediate layers called afranchi and the petit blancs. The afranchi were the offspring of relations between French whites and black women and they enjoyed legal and social benefits that were denied to the black slaves.

This demographic mix, of which the African presence was the largest part, set the framework for the cultural and musical development of Saint Domingue, which was renamed Haiti after the triumph of the revolution in 1804. The cultural syncretism that is common throughout the Caribbean region took on specific characteristics in Haiti with the development of a unique language called kreyòl (Creole) that included influences from various African languages, French, English and Spanish. Although kreyòl was not officially recognized until the 1980s, it was the common language of the huge majority of the poor population of Haiti. In religious and musical terms, similar to other examples that arose from the African diaspora, such as Santeria in Cuba and Candomblé in Brazil, Vodou is a syncretic religion that is the most important and influential in Haiti. Vodou involves a series of complex rituals in which music plays a fundamental role and varies based on geographic differences and the purpose of the ritual. The ritual music is part of the process of invoking the deities, or iwas. These also varied among the different African nations, so the Rada, Petwo, Ibo and Congo rituals had their own syncretic characteristics. The Rada ritual music, for example, consists of three main drums called boula , segon and manman , from smaller to larger. These had a cowhide skin stretched over a wooden body using a system of wedges. In the Petwo rituals, two wood drums covered with goatskin were used. In both nations, the ritual music served as a bridge between the worshippers and the iwas.


In Haiti, as in other Caribbean countries, Carnival is celebrated during the week preceding Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Unlike other Caribbean nations, however, where the celebration ends until the next season, in Haiti the Rara begins and continues through the other weekends of Lent all around the country. Rara celebrations take place in the streets and consist of masked musical bands and groups that are joined by spectators on their routes. As they make their rounds, the rara bands stop and ask for money from socially recognized people. In return, the leaders of the groups perform their best dances. These bands’ musical instruments are homemade. The kone is a kind of trumpet made of zinc that can measure up to three feet long. The vaksin is another kind of trumpet made of bamboo. Also used is the tambou , a drum made with animal hide and the graj, an instrument similar to the Dominican güiro . Joining these are rudimentary instruments made of such diverse items as soft drink cans and beer bottles.

Popular music

During the colonial period, dance music in Haiti was influenced by the European traditions and European rhythms such as the contredanse, the cuadrilla, the waltz and the polka. Local forms of music in the Caribbean melded with the neo-African rhythms and structures to create new forms, with one example being mereng or merengue . In the beginning, Haitian merengue was a kind of dance music reserved for the upper classes. The music’s base rhythm consisted of five notes and was very similar to the Spanish cinquillo. The arrangements were generally written for piano and wind instruments. Among the most recognized Haitian merengue composers were Occide Jeanty, Ludovic Lamothe and Franck Lassegue.
Meanwhile, misik twobadou music was strongly influenced by Cuban guajiro music because of the large number of Haitian workers who migrated to Cuba during the harvest season. Also, radio broadcasts from eastern Cuba influenced the development of this authentic Haitian music. Like many Cuban songs, the Haitian merengs and konpas tended to describe the joys and misfortunes of rural life. These forms were performed by small groups with instruments such as the guitar, maracas, graj , drum and the maniba.

In the early 20th century, the Haitian elite, in reaction to U.S. influence in their country and fearing the disappearance of traditional music through assimilation, began returning to their cultural roots in the form of religious Vodou rituals. Composers such as Ludovic Lamothe, among others, introduced melodies inspired by Vodou rituals as orchestra arrangements. The most famous group in this Vodou-jazz movement was Jazz des Jeunes. The group’s style appealed to the Haitian people by combining folk heritage, rhythm, and the body movements of voudu rituals.

In the 1950s, saxophonist Nemours Jean-Baptiste and his group Ensemble aux Calebasses introduced konpa to the Haitian musical scene. This style, which borrowed from Dominican merengue ripiao , is characterized by a slower tempo and sexual content with double meanings. Konpa or kompa direct became one of the most popular musical genres in the local and international music scene. The influence of other Caribbean rhythms such as calypso, U.S. jazz, swing and, more recently, hip hop can be seen in it.

The variety of ritualistic and popular music is seen in the number of new genres that have taken hold in Haiti. In addition to those mentioned above are mini-djaz compa , mizik rasin , rap and ragga, the latter two as part of the African diaspora experience and the processes of globalization.

By Ileana Rivera Martínez

•culled from www.
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