Cover image for The Big Drum ritual of Carriacou : praisesongs in rememory of flight
The Big Drum ritual of Carriacou : praisesongs in rememory of flight
McDaniel, Lorna.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Gainesville, Fla. : University Press of Florida, [1998]

Physical Description:
xiv, 198 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1400 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML3565 .M386 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This text introduces 120 of the song texts and dances that call and entertain the ancestors who are central to Carriacou religious experience. Lorna McDaniel looks at the nine coded rhythms of the boula drums and the history of the nine African nations that inhabited early Carriacou.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

McDaniel reconstructs aspects of early slave history in the eastern Caribbean through the analysis of the Big Drum ritual from the island of Carriacou (part of the country of Grenada), stressing the role of ancestral devotion and homeland longing in the creation of early African Caribbean rituals. In the "nation dances" of the Big Drum, McDaniel finds an African version of ethnic pluralism employed as a unifying strategy, and she demonstrates how the slaves imbued song texts and dances with poignant metaphors of their struggles. McDaniel achieves an emotionally compelling prose rare in scholarly works, especially when she invokes Paule Marshall's novel Praisesong for the Widow (1983) and when she explores the significance of the motif of "flight" from slavery. Readers will be rewarded with intriguing etymologies of Caribbean musical terms, a rich selection of Big Drum song lyrics, and a sensitive perusal of contemporaneous accounts of colonial-era performances. One can quibble with some of the details, and there are some questionable choices in the book's organization. Nevertheless, this book constitutes a landmark study in the musical history of the African diaspora and is recommended for upper-division undergraduates through professionals. G. Averill; New York University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
1 the Runagate Nationp. 16
2 Sleepers Awake!p. 70
3 Lavé Tetep. 98
4 Beg Pardonp. 125
Conclusionp. 167
Appendix 1 Big Drum Song Listp. 173
Appendix 2 Glossaryp. 178
Notesp. 183
Bibliographyp. 187
Indexp. 195