It has been just a bit over thirty years since The Bahamas gained its Independence from Great Britain, and some Five Hundred and Twelve years since Christopher Columbus set foot on our beautiful beaches. Today’s Bahamian musicians’ story is rarely told. Although we have made great strides in tourism, sports, banking & finance, there are still many unanswered questions about our musical heritage. The author of this presentation thought it necessary to add to the limited resources readily available, especially to the youth of this developing island nation.
The author also seeks to provoke the social conscience of the media who's responsibility would be well served if they indeed focused on informing, entertaining, and educating the nation as stated by our very own national broadcasting network. Let it be duly noted that with the rapid growth of the many forms of media the world over, it has become increasingly challenging to maintain any sense of cultural uniqueness.
The Caribs in about 500 B.C. were quite a marauding bunch, often going on raids burning villages, torturing and murdering the males they encountered, and enslaving the women. As a result, the Caribs were responsible for forcing the migration of the Arawak Indians to the West Indies from their homes located on the banks of the Orinoco River. Over the following 500 years, Arawaks could be found not only in The Bahamas, but also in Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba. Those living in The Bahamas were known as the lukku cairi or Lucayans and were of a very peaceful nature. (Murray, 1999, p.10)
Just southeast of Florida there lies an archipelago of islands that span some six hundred miles. It is claimed that there are seven hundred of them - well, that’s counting every rock that sticks out of the ocean. These jewels, which were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, witnessed the demise of the true natives, the Arawaks.
When I initially embarked on this project, I had very little knowledge of the technical aspects of what would be required. Being a bit familiar with various music software over the years, I wondered, how difficult can this be? I did find out in due course that the balancing of information and technology is quite a task.
This whole process of deciding which platform to use came as a result of a course at the VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, Ill. This course entitled 'Instructional Design' was instructed by Mr. Mark Jacoby and sparked my interest in the use of the computer as a platform for an exposition on Bahamian musicians and entertainers. Following that summer session, I began the arduous process of learning as much as I could about the various programs and software needed to support this project. I did give much consideration to the use of the print medium but, taking into consideration the flexibility of updating information, decided that some sort of computer generated project was preferable.
In 1965, there were very few recordings that featured Bahamian musicians. In fact, only about a dozen or so recordings existed (Carter 2003). Today we have quite a large volume of music recorded and produced by Bahamians but the struggle of getting them played on most Bahamian radio stations is ongoing. Getting us to love what we do is not only a challenge in the music field but in every aspect of Bahamian culture.
The use of native goods that can be produced locally, as opposed to imports from the United States, Canada, Europe, and other foreign destinations deprives us of a grand opportunity to make great strides forward as a people. We need not look very far to see the pride that exist in Countries like Jamaica, Trinidad, Haiti, and many of our neighbors in the region with regards to their culture, and in particular their music.