Palm Wine and Song
"The sweet, old West African tradition of palm wine guitar has few great players left. Palm wine music dates back to the days when Portuguese sailors first introduced guitars to West African port cities. Early African guitarists and bottle percussionists played at gatherings where revelers drank the fermented sap of palm trees, a traditional alternative to bottled beer.
Rogie, from Sierra Leone, was/is palm wine music's greatest ambassador. "
The blend of Portuguese and African music has created some of the finest in the world. Palm wine music combines the happy sounds of calypso from Trinidad to create music that belies the circumstances surrounding the origins in the days of the slave trade. This video slips in some reality about today as well. Satire certainly helps. No wonder I love calypso.
"Calypso rhythms can be traced back to the arrival of the first African slaves brought to work in the sugar plantations of Trinidad. Forbidden to talk to each other, and robbed of all links to family and home, the African slaves began to sing songs. They used calypso, which can be traced back to West African kaiso, as a means of communication and to mock the slave masters.
Trinidad was colonized by the Spanish, received large numbers of French immigrants, and was later ruled by the British. This multi-colonial past has greatly impacted the development of calypso in Trinidad. Many early calypsos were sung in a French-Creole dialect called patois. These songs, usually led by one individual called a griot, helped to unite the slaves."
The complex tapestry of language, music, political communication, and connection through travel across the oceans of the world never ceases to fascinate. Happiness is inexplicable and unpredictable, as it weaves in and out of tragedy. We get it all.