The Making of the Musical World - A Story in Sound - Andrew Killick

The Making of the Musical World - A Story in Sound - Andrew Killick

The Caribbean: Powerhouse of Popular Styles

The Making of the Musical World - A Story in Sound - Andrew Killick

Andrew Killick [+-]
University of Sheffield
Andrew Killick has been teaching and writing about the world’s music professionally since 1998. His passion for all forms of music has led him literally around the world, including studies at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Hawaii, and the University of Washington, periods of fieldwork in India and Korea, and teaching at Illinois State University and Florida State University before taking up his current position at the University of Sheffield in 2003. Originally trained as a classical pianist, he also plays the Korean gayageum zither and an English bagpipe, the Northumbrian smallpipes. His academic publications include two books on Korean music topics, about twenty refereed journal articles and book chapters, and substantial contributions to the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music and the Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. In his spare time he likes to compose “rounds” in a wide variety of musical styles.


While sharing some of its history and culture with continental Latin America, the Caribbean island chain stands out as an area that has been extraordinarily influential in music relative to its size. Trinidad produced calypso and the steel band, Jamaica gave the world reggae, and Cuba generated a succession of international dance crazes starting with the habanera in the nineteenth century and extending through the son, rumba, and cha cha cha, while salsa music emerged from a nexus of Caribbean culture circulating around Cuba, Puerto Rico, and immigrants in New York. This chapter considers the cultural and historical conditions that made the Caribbean such a powerhouse of popular music styles, primarily (once more) through its particular mixes of European, African, and American influences. It shows how some of these styles exploit the possibilities of the “Latin beat” (including the famous clave pattern) to produce a music of compelling rhythmic complexity, and thus extends our range of concepts for understanding and describing musical rhythm. Finally, we look at the role that music and musicians from the Caribbean played in the formation of American rap and hip hop.

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Killick, Andrew. The Caribbean: Powerhouse of Popular Styles. The Making of the Musical World - A Story in Sound. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Sep 2024. ISBN 9781781793411. Date accessed: 06 Dec 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.27327. Sep 2024

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