Caribbean Percussion Traditions in Miami

Over the past four decades Miami has been transformed from a predominantly tourist-oriented southern city into an international metropolis in which well over one third of the population is of Caribbean descent. One expression of this transformation is the proliferation of nightclubs and radio stations that feature Caribbean popular music styles, such as salsa, merengue, reggae, soca and konpa. But Miami’s Caribbean musical heritage extends far beyond the well-known artistes who perform and record in these popular styles. In more secluded settings and at special festive occasions in Caribbean neighborhoods, one can hear the sounds of an immense variety of drums and other percussion instruments. Percussion instruments generate fundamental rhythms for Miami’s Caribbean communities: rhythms for moving, communicating and experiencing the world. Their sounds constitute complex musical languages which, though often immediately appealing to outsiders, require years to fully learn and understand. In many cases, these musical languages are interrelated with systems of religious or philosophical knowledge. So, apprentice percussionists must acquire from masters both musical skills and bodies of wisdom that have been perpetuated for generations. Though only a small number of individuals become accomplished percussionists, percussion traditions carry cultural significance for many people and are of value to anyone who wishes to obtain a deeper understanding of Caribbean history and artistic achievements.

Cuban Percussion Traditions


Puerto Rican Percussion Traditions


    Haitian Percussion Traditions


Trinidadian Percussion Traditions


Indo-Caribbean Percussion Traditions


Bahamian Percussion Traditions