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Indo-Caribbean music is the musical traditions of the Indo-Caribbean people of the Caribbean music area. Indo-Caribbean music is most common in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Jamaica, and Suriname.

Indo-Caribbean traditional music often reflects the Bhojpuri heritage of many Indo-Caribbeans; women's folk songs are especially reflective of the music of Bhojpur. These include folk songs for childbirth (sohar), humorous and light-hearted songs for a bride's family to insult the groom's (gali), funereal songs (nirgun) and matkor. Other women's folk songs are seasonal and are performed at festivals like the phagwah and holi. Instrumentation consists mostly of the dhantal, a metal rod and claper, and the dholak, a two-headed barrel drum. Traditional Hindu bhajans are also common.

Modern Indo-Caribbean traditions include the seasonal, responsorial men's form, the chowtal, and a vocal song form called taan-singing, performed by a single male vocalist accompanied by his own harmonium and further accompaniment by the dholak and dhantal. Tassa drumming is also common.

Indo-Caribbean contributions to popular music are very important. The most well-known is the Indo-Trinidadian chutney music tradition. Chutney is a form of popular dance music that developed in the mid-to late 20th century. Baithak Gana is a similar popular form originating in Suriname. Modern Indian film music, filmi, is also renowned among Indo-Caribbeans.


  • KISS and Breathe, a book by Indo Caribbean record producer, Mr. Rohit Jagessar, describes his journey in creating the global marketing and distribution platform for Indo-Caribbean music. The book chronicles his work with two of the genre's biggest stars, Kanchan and Babla, and speaks about the making of their best selling album "Lego Me Na Raja", an album the record producer conceived on a Spring afternoon while sitting on The Great Wall of China.
  • Manuel, Peter (2001). "Indo-Caribbean Music". Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. New York and London: Garland Publishing. pp. 813–818. ISBN 0-8240-6040-7.

Further readingEdit

  • Manuel, Peter. East Indian Music in the West Indies: Tan-singing, Chutney, and the Making of Indo-Caribbean Culture. Temple University Press, 2000