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Music

Music and dance are both fundamental elements of the daily Maroon experience. Specialized song traditions are used to celebrate Maroon rituals ranging from general labor and the domestication of new spirits to the more complex funeral rites. Music is also integral to communication with the ancestors for deeper communions such as healing, initiation, advice and protection. These latter rituals are oftentimes referred to as Kromanti Plays, and the details of the musical accompaniments are strictly reserved for select individuals such as the drummers and the appointed healer.

Drums are used to accompany various cultural rituals, including the announcement of public council meetings and the facilitation of communication with deities, spirits and the ancestors. The Goombay, or Bench Drum, is a small square hand-played instrument that is mainly associated with the Maroon communities of Accompong and Scotts Hall. The Rolling and Cutting Drums, or Kromanti Drums, are made from hollowed tree trunks and goatskins, played with the fingers and palms and are mostly found in Moore Town.

The Shaka is a hollowed calabash whose sound originates from its bead-filled center. The Bamboo Flute is a cylindrical length of bamboo with holes at one end for rhythmic manipulation. Other musical instruments include bells, finger pianos and the wooden trumpet, a stringed instrument made from a gourd.

The Maroons have many different types of songs, including the Jawbone, Prapra and Commoner, which are played for recreation, work and ritual. Kromanti songs, used for healing or retribution against enemies, signify one of the most potent and captivating musical traditions in the Maroon repertoire.

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Areas of Interest

The Cockpit Country is made up of several distinct communities, each of which offers a unique window onto Jamaican culture. Some of the main regions include, Accompong, Flagstaff, Windsor, Wait-A-Bit/Litchfield, and Sherwood Content. Many of these centers are located close to the Cockpit interior, while others can be reached via a 2-3 hour drive.

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Dalsha Peterkin

December 14th, 2009

Born and raised in Maroon Town, St. James, Dalsha is the first to tell you that she’s a “Real Jamaican” . She’s mainly a swimsuit designer and also designs and [...]

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