The Rhythm Never Stops
The Rhythm Never Stops
The Rhythm Never Stops | 12 Sounds Youll Hear in the Caribbean |

12 Sounds You'll Hear in the Caribbean

2018-11-20T09:04:57-05:00 en-US Nov 20, 2018

Can you hear it? There’s a rhythm that runs right through the Caribbean. It’s something you can feel in your heart and hear in every city and town across our nations. From the northern reaches of the Bahamas all the way to the Antilles and the rainforests of Venezuela, these are just a few of the sounds you can expect to hear in the Caribbean.

1. The Steel Pans

You know you’ve arrived in the Caribbean when you hear the unmistakable steel drum. While this distinct sound can be heard throughout the Caribbean, Trinidad is the true home of the steel drum. To hear the best-of-the-best battle it out, check out Trinidad's top steel-band competition, Panorama, held the Saturday night before Carnival. For a smaller authentic experience, try tracking down a panyard. An enclosed area in which a steel band practises, panyards are a great opportunity to hear musicians play live, loud and proud.

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2. Calypso and Soca Music 

Just like the steel plan, calypso and soca music are distinctly Caribbean and the soundtrack to carnival season. Characterized by harmonic vocals and bouncy beats, Calypso originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the early to mid-19th century and spread to the rest of the Caribbean by the mid-20th century. Fast forward to the 1970s and along comes soca, a faster calypso with an Indian twist, invented largely by Trinidadian artist Lord Shorty. You can hear the sounds of calypso and soca music in the Caribbean at celebrations throughout the year. In fact, carnival tradition is based on a number of disciplines including calypso music and the crowning of a Calypso King or Monarch. If you find yourself in Trinidad, don’t miss the crowning of the “Soca Monarch” at a massive concert held just before carnival.

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We had to take a bathe in Haiti ðŸ'¦ðŸ'¦ðŸ'¦ #ubersocacruise #jouvert #Haiti #labadee #takeahbathe

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3. Caribbean Jazz

You’d need a lifetime to listen to all the live jazz on offer throughout the Caribbean. Luckily, the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival rounds up artists from all over the Caribbean, making it easy for you to get your fix on one beautiful tropical island. The festival takes place in late spring every year and promises to be one heck of a party. Outside of the festival scene, jazz can be heard live in bars and restaurants 365 days a year. The birthplace of some of the world’s finest jazz artists, including Harry Beckett and Monty Alexander, it’s truly in our blood.

4. Waterfalls

While our music promises to pump you full of energy, there’s another designed to slow you right down. The gushing sounds of water from our many spectacular waterfalls will help you relax into our natural environment in no time at all. Recharge with a little swim (and maybe a waterfall jump) at Annandale Falls in Grenada.

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greatest place I've ever been #annandalefalls #grenada who wants to go back with me

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5. Junkanoo

Dance and move to the rhythms of the Caribbean at Junkanoo. Originating in The Bahamas, the carnival is all about bright colors, costumes, lively parades and infectious beats. One sound that you’re likely to hear is the popular goombay drum which is held between the legs and played with the hands or sticks. The distinct sounds of cowbells are synonymous with carnival, a cultural underpinning that permeates the Caribbean region.

Learn more about the music you’ll encounter across the Bahamas at Junkanoo. 

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#etgcon18 closing event #junkanoo #etg50anniversary #bahamas #grandhyattbahamar

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6. Reggae

Surfacing in Jamaica in the 1960’s, Reggae finds its influences in mento (Jamaican folk), African music, American R&B, and calypso. When you’re visiting Jamaica, you’ll have no shortage of ways to hear it straight from the source. From dancing barefoot on the beach to Bob Marley’s birthday bash, you’ll feel the rhythm of reggae wherever you go. 

7. Zouk

Originating from the French islands of the Lesser Antilles (Martinique), zouk was first popularized by the band Kassav’ throughout the 80’s. The fast-paced, carnival-style music will make you want to jump up and down and party. It’s also typically sung in French, so brush up on the basics and listen closely!  

8. Silence...and a Volcano

We’re typically a lively bunch living amongst some vocal wildlife, but there is one place in the Caribbean that stands out for it’s silence: Montserrat. The Soufrière Hills, Montserrat’s active volcano, began erupting in 1995, and has left the capital city, Plymouth, half buried in ash. Today, the ghost town is open to visitors looking to explore a different and much quieter side of the Caribbean.

9. Poppin’ Champagne in the Hot Tub

This might not be the type of bubbly you were imagining. Did you know that Dominica is home to a reef that sends champagne-type bubbles up to the surface? The sea floor here is warm to the touch and it is shallow enough for snorkelers to experience, too. It’s like swimming in nature’s very own hot tub and even sounds like one!

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Snorkeling Champagne Reef - listen to the bubbles too! #vpb_travels #lovemytravellife #champagnereef #dominica #caribbean

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10. El Coquí

If you’ve ever been to Puerto Rico, you’ll recognize this sound as your nightly lullaby. The coquí, a tree frog native to the island has a high-pitched, bird-like call that’s as beautiful as it is unique. These tiny amphibians are so iconic to Puerto Rico that “Soy de aqui como el coqui” (I’m as Puerto Rican as a coqui) is a common saying amongst locals.

11. Grand Cayman Parrot

Even our wildlife loves to make some noise. The national symbol of the Cayman Islands, the Grand Cayman Parrot is often heard before it’s seen. Sitting camouflaged at the top of a tree, their loud squawk commands attention. The National Trust for the Cayman Islands runs the Brac Parrot Reserve, where you might have a chance at spotting this endangered species in their natural environment.

Photo by Derek Hatfield, Source: (unmodified)

12. “Anguilla Talk”

Over the centuries, the influences of different cultures shifted and spread throughout the Caribbean. This influence is true for our rhythms but also extends to culture and language. This melting pot means that today, each place has a unique blend of languages. Even on English-speaking and ever-so-British Anguilla, the second-most popular language is still a creole sometimes called “dialek”, “Aguillian,” or even just “Anguilla talk.” Get this: it’s a blend of early English varieties (not the same lingo we’re speaking today) and West African languages too.

Ready to find your rhythm in the Caribbean? To see the latest hotel deals and book your trip, visit Marriott or Hilton.