a study of the music of selected traditional folk dances of st. lucia

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A Study of the music of selected traditional folk dances of St. Lucia by Jason C. Joseph (2006). UWI, St. Augustine. TABLE OF CO TE TS

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ABSTRACT ....................................................................................................................... 3 ACK OWLEDGEME TS .............................................................................................. 4 CHAPTER 1 ...................................................................................................................... 5 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................. 5 Significance of the study.............................................................................................. 6 CHAPTER 2 ...................................................................................................................... 8 LITERATURE REVIEW ....................................................................................................... 8 CHAPTER 3 .................................................................................................................... 10 THE SHAPING OF ST. LUCIAS FOLK CULTURE ............................................................... 10 The folk music of Saint Lucia .................................................................................... 11 The Origin of St. Lucias Traditional folk Dances .................................................... 12 The Revival of St. Lucias Folk Music ...................................................................... 13 The St. Lucian Folk Band .......................................................................................... 15 The Folk Musicians ................................................................................................... 16 CHAPTER 4 .................................................................................................................... 18 METHODOLOGY.............................................................................................................. 18 Limitations................................................................................................................. 18 CHAPTER 5 .................................................................................................................... 20 A CLOSER LOOK AT THE TRADITIONAL FOLK DANCES OF ST. LUCIA ............................ 20 The La Konmet .......................................................................................................... 21 The Moulala .............................................................................................................. 21 The schottische .......................................................................................................... 22 The Weedova ............................................................................................................. 23 The Italian Polka ....................................................................................................... 23 The Kwibish ............................................................................................................... 24

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A Study of the music of selected traditional folk dances of St. Lucia by Jason C. Joseph (2006). UWI, St. Augustine. CHAPTER 6 .................................................................................................................... 25 ANALYSIS OF THE MUSIC OF SELECTED TRADITIONAL DANCES..................................... 25 Lakonmt Pitj .......................................................................................................... 25 Lakonmt Mazouk ..................................................................................................... 26 The Schottish (Shoddish) ........................................................................................... 28 The Moulala .............................................................................................................. 29 The Weedova ............................................................................................................. 31 The Polka .................................................................................................................. 32 The Kwibish ............................................................................................................... 34 CHAPTER 7 .................................................................................................................... 36 CO CLUSIO ................................................................................................................ 36 RECOMMENDATIONS ...................................................................................................... 37 APPE DIX A .................................................................................................................. 38 EXCERPTS OF TRADITIONAL FOLK MUSIC ...................................................................... 38 APPE DIX B .................................................................................................................. 48 TRADITIONAL FOLK WEAR OF ST. LUCIA........................................................................ 48 GLOSSARY ..................................................................................................................... 49 BIBLIOGRAPHY ........................................................................................................... 50 I TER ET SOURCES .................................................................................................. 51 LIST OF RECORDI GS CO SULTED ..................................................................... 51

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A Study of the music of selected traditional folk dances of St. Lucia by Jason C. Joseph (2006). UWI, St. Augustine.

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Abstract

The traditional dances of St. Lucia are all adaptations of European dances, which have remained a part of the folk culture of the island from since the emancipation of slavery. At present, there is little interest among average St. Lucians in the traditional dances and folk music, despite efforts by various groups and folk activists to revive what was once a dying culture.

The selected dances lakonmt, moulala, schottische (shoddish), polka, weedova and kwibish are all partnered, ballroom-type dances and are usually accompanied by a folk or string band. The main instruments used in a folk band are the violin, banjo, chak chak, guitar and occasionally the tanbou. Those instruments are played by men who are over forty years of age and who generally possess no formal or theoretical training.

In the limited repertoire of dance music that is used, both European and African influences can be found. The simple harmonies, syncopated rhythms and short, repetitive melodic phrases are some of the features associated with the music. Each dance has its own characteristic rhythm, which is played by the two main instruments the banjo and the chak chak.

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A Study of the music of selected traditional folk dances of St. Lucia by Jason C. Joseph (2006). UWI, St. Augustine.

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Acknowledgements

The writer would like to express sincere gratitude to George Fish Alphonse at the Department of Culture in St. Lucia and Kennedy Boots Samuel at the St. Lucia Folk Research Centre for their guidance and advice, which helped to clarify the focus of this research. In addition, the writer would like to acknowledge Minetta Plummer, the librarian at the St. Lucia School of Music, for her patience, and Satanand Sharma, a senior lecturer at the Department of Music, University of the West Indies, for his assistance with the Finale music notation software. To all the musicians, dancers and informants (Frank Norville, Theresa Hall, Augustin Charlie Julian, Joan Hyacinth), who willingly gave of their time, your valuable contribution towards the preservation and development of St. Lucias folk heritage, then and now, is greatly appreciated.

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A Study of the music of selected traditional folk dances of St. Lucia by Jason C. Joseph (2006). UWI, St. Augustine.

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Chapter 1Introduction

Prior to about 1970, the folk dancing tradition of St. Lucia was popular mainly in the rural communities at special functions and kwadril evenings.1 With the assistance and perseverance of various groups and cultural activists there has been a revival in the tradition to a point where it is acknowledged on a national level. Performances of these traditional dances can now be seen at hotels and official government functions. Classes and workshops are occasionally held to train the younger members of society in an attempt to ensure the perpetuation of the art form.

This has resulted in an increased awareness of the dances among the public. However, there are many who are still unable to recognize even the more popular of the dances, like the Lakonmt Pitj.2 The folk dances and folk music are still viewed today as belonging to the older generation and according to Joan Hyacinth, a dance activist, it is only when students travel to universities they see the importance (of the folk dances).3 The folk bands still consist of mainly middle aged or elderly musicians who are underpaid for their services in comparison to other pop bands. The teaching of the folk instruments, the music, and the dances at schools, is generally non-existent and folk music is rarely played, even during cultural activities and celebrations.

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Jocelyne Guillibaut. Events in the Lives of the People of a Caribbean Island, St. Lucia. University of Michigan 1984. pg 92 Kwadril evenings were dance sessions at which the kwadril and other traditional dances were danced. Earl Agdoma Interview. 16th January 2006. Earl Agdoma is a founding member of the Helen Folk Dancers