Posts Tagged bahamian culture

Rake & Scrape Festival, Cat Island, Bahamas

I am headed to the annual Cat Island Rake & Scrape Festival this weekend and I am quite looking forward to it. Dating back to the 1800s, rake & scrape is known as the folk music of the Bahamas and would accompany traditional Bahamian quadrille and polka dances. It has even been called the “heart of Bahamian culture”.

I am told that rake & scrape originated in Cat Island, where the locals are well known for making good use of whatever resources they have around them. It could have originated with the African slaves brought to the islands, who learned to create musical instruments out of the various materials they had available to them.

Rake & scrape musicians have been known to create a bass instrument out of a piece of wood, fishing line and an old tin tub, though, today’s musicians more often are seen using an accordion, a carpenter’s saw and goatskin drums (usually referred to as goombay drums). The saw is played by raking a screwdriver across the teeth. Bending, hitting, raking and scraping the saw creates raw, unpolished but surprisingly harmonic sounds. It’s a beautiful thing.

Bahamian music doesn’t get more authentic than this.

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