Music of Montserrat

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The music of Montserrat is influenced by Irish traditions, noticeable in the set dance-like Bam-chick-lay, and the presence of fife and drum ensembles similar to the bodhrán. Natives are also witness to the jumbie dance, the style of which is still strongly African. Instruments include the ukulele and shak-shak, an African instrument made from a calabash gourd; both of these are used in traditional string bands. Calypso and spiritual-influenced vocal choirs, like the Emerald Isle Community Singers, are popular.[1]

Past pop stars include the soca bandleader Alphonsus "Arrow" Cassell, known for 1983's "Hot! Hot! Hot!".[2] Calypso music is also popular, as are the vocal choirs Voices and the Emerald Community Singers are well known throughout the island. They perform at various special occasions, such as the December Festival, and throughout the year. The most famous modern string band from Montserrat is the Rude Boys String Band.[3]

Montserratian culture is generally a hybrid of African and European, specifically British and Irish, elements.[4] The African influence is the most pronounced, and manifests itself in the local Creole language, as well as the island's folktales, stories, songs, dances and religion. Montserrat remained largely isolated from international popular culture until the 1960s, and the island's folk traditions remained vibrant until the eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano in 1995, after which most of the population left the island. The popularity of Arrow also contributed to the demise of traditional music, replaced largely by imported popular styles.[5]