Songs and the Caribbean: Invention and Adaptation

  • Rosanna Masiola
  • Renato Tomei


Music is a salient feature of identity, and even more so the words of songs. In models of cultures based on oral traditions, music signifies preservation of ancient roots and resistance to assimilation. Western audiences have underscored Caribbean rhythms, whereas the creole or patois language has been unduly neglected, on the implicit assumption that those sounds had no real meaning. The translational approach in this study, conversely, moves beyond the ‘word versus music’ impasse. The challenge is in exposing stereotyping through manipulation and adaptations of chants and songs embedded in the rich Afro-Caribbean tradition. It offers a new perspective on the practice of adaptation of songs, subservient to the glittering Hollywood-style or political censorship. The connecting thread is the use of plant names in the songs of the Caribbean as markers of identity in the linguistic domain of the plantation and the market featuring herb vendors.


Caribbean songs Identity and translation Adaptation Phytonyms Stereotyping 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosanna Masiola
    • 1
  • Renato Tomei
    • 1
  1. 1.University for ForeignersPerugiaItaly

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