Afro-Caribbean music is a heritage, as its name says so, from multiple traditions from Africa, called, the Black Continent. Drum and marimba beats, rattles and chants were used by African people to summon their ancestors, held births and say bye to the dead. These music practices, beliefs and learnings went throught the Atlantic Ocean as effect of slavery which started developing around the discovery of America in 1492. Despite the fact that most of these cultural signs are proper of the regional and national identities, just a few studies explain us how the esthetic and musical African legacies adapted to new geographic and historic realities during the colonial/republican period. However, it is undeniable that music along with literature, dancing and musical instruments playing is the cultural expression mean favorite by excellence all across contemporary Afro-Caribbean cultures.
As well as in Africa, music keeps accompanying each of the vital cycles of Afro-Caribbean people: celebrate life, cry for death, fill with joy on harvest, remember the resistance history, promotes love and highlights sexuality. In every region of the Caribbean, inhabited by African descendants, Afro-Caribbean music has different personalities and blends. This diversity has a lot to do with the origins of those who arrived to each region and with interactions that created with the people that inhabited it. During this complex cultural recreation process some African tunes mixed together, some other kept original, as in the case of the dead in San Basilio de Palenque (Colombia). The remaining chants impregnated the indigenous and European traditions which were already settled in the New World. Whatever the regional space may these events took place at be, the ritual or profane nature of the execution sphere was always respected.
The tunes that keep African heritages expose a series of fundamental features: being the first the pronounced magic-religious background associated with ritual ceremonies. Within these ones the most relevant are the funeral customs, the rites related to birth and the initiation ceremonies for teenagers. These tunes are identified as well for being happy and explosive. They keep polyrhythmic musical structure that reflects on the mix of accents in each of the percussion lines. This particularity is clearly discernible in the drummer gestures, in the pair clapping at the tempo and in all those guttural sounds, all that snorting and puffing and syllables reproduced in the moment of higher and more intense activity of the representation.