How is Caribbean music (reggae, soca, and calypso) used in the articulation and performance of Caribbean identity?

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Caribbean music represents a combination of various cultures through its influence of African, Indian, South American, Latin American, Asian, European, and Indigenous cultures. The different genres of Caribbean music are sometimes hard to differentiate because they share the same influences and have influenced each other.

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Music shapes the identity of humans in various ways, from experiencing feelings of joy, peace, and nostalgia to experiencing certain emotions or bringing back memories of a particular event. Caribbean music originated during the eighteenth century and is derived from different cultural influences including African, Indian, South American, Latin American, European, Asian, and Indigenous influences. The different genres of Caribbean music include bachata, merenque, palo, mombo, denbo, baithak gana, bouyon, cadence-lypso, calypso, chutney, chutney-soca, compas, dancehall, jing ping, parang, pichakaree, punta, ragga, reggae, reggaeton, salsa, soca, and zouk. It is often difficult to differentiate among the genres of Caribbean music because many of the genres share the same influences and have also influenced each other in many ways.

Due to the wide variety of cultural influences, Caribbean music is expressed as a melting pot and combination of multiple cultures. The strongest influences are from West Africa, West Europe, and India because these cultures predominantly inhabited Caribbean territories first. The neighboring Latin America has also heavily influenced Caribbean music. Immigration during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries resulted in language barriers, which also influenced the harmonies and melodies of Caribbean music. The instruments used in Caribbean music are also an expression of the various cultures from which it was derived. The most commonly used instruments are the Spanish guitar, bongos, steel oil drums, maracas, trumpets, bottles, and spoons.

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