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Friday, July 8, 2016

Caribbean Music and Dance

Humans have always been adventurous and in Florida they were not any different. About ten thousand years ago at the same time as the extinction of the Sabre Tooth Tiger and two thousand years before the emergence of Agriculture, the Indians having been in Florida over a millennium began to travel to the Caribbean, mainly to Cuba being the largest land mass close by and only 90 miles away. About two thousand years later, the Indians from Yucatan in Mexico traveled to the Western part of Cuba which is about the same distance as Florida to Cuba.

"If there is no wind, Row!"

With the discovery of Agriculture, they began to establish villages and rhythms by beating on anything and humming along. This was a human trait and developed all over the world right about the same time. Soon enough, they had other instruments for music and singing and dancing. Much as we can see in modern day Africans dancing up and down in an even rhythm.

"Por Un Amor by Linda Ronstadt

Then about 3 or 4 millenniums later, the Indians from South America also traveled to the Caribbean up through the Lessor Antilles islands and dispersed throughout the southern part of the Caribbean. Naturally they all brought their own music, rhythms and dances, and there must have been a little borrowing from each other and learning as they went along.

"Contigo A La Distancia" por Lucho Gatica


However, the biggest influence of their music and dance in the Caribbean must have come during the big empires in Mexico, mainly the Mayan influence in Yucatan, some two or three thousand years ago. There were metal maracas in Mexico (circa 300 AD), so it is reasonable to accept that the Indians of the Caribbean had maracas long before the illegals arrived. And let us have none of this mumbo jumbo about coming from Africa. This was mainly to the Western end of the Island of Cuba but it eventually established Cuba as the center of all Latin Dancing with Puerto Rico firmly in second place. Cuba is also the largest island in the Caribbean so it stands to reason.

"Moliendo Cafe" por Azucar Moreno


So that by the time of arrival of the first illegal aliens in 1492, the music and dance throughout the Caribbean was pretty well established. There were of course many different rhythms and different dances. There also happened to be many that resembled the rumba of today and - that is now danced throughout the world.

"We may dance a little less in motion to our favorite music and just a little
more in spirit and perhaps we can awaken the dreamer within.”