Highlight denotes Black author or source | Highly recommended ︎


Calypso, rara, zouk, méringue, bomba y plena, palos, tumba.
Origins: 18th century to mid-19th century.

Curator’s Note: Cuban, Jamaican, and other Caribbean styles (salsa, bachata, and more) are located in separate folders. On a practical level, there were more resources for each than what would fit here. This also allows for a clearer chronological timeline in terms of their respective origins and influence to later genres.


  • Atilla's Kaiso: A Short History of Trinidad Calypso by Raymond Quevedo, 1983.

  • Carnival, Canboulay and Calypso: Traditions in the Making by John Cowley, 1996.

  • Black Music of Two Worlds: African, Caribbean, Latin, and African-American Traditions by John Storm Roberts, 1998.

  • A Day for the Hunter, a Day for the Prey: Popular Music and Power in Haiti by Gage Averill, 1997.

  • Barbadian Popular Music and the Politics of Caribbean Culture by Curwen Best, 1999.

  • Culture @ the Cutting Edge: Tracking Caribbean Popular Music by Curwen Best, 2000.

  • Awakening spaces: French Caribbean popular song, music, and culture by Brenda Berrian, 2000.

  • Rituals of Power and Rebellion: The Carnival Tradition in Trinidad and Tobago by Hollis Liverpool a.k.a. Chalkdust, 2001.

  • Rara! Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and Its Diaspora by Elizabeth McAlister, 2002. ︎

  • Caribbean Dance from Abakuá to Zouk: How Movement Shapes Identity, ed. Susanna Sloat, 2002.

  • From the Horse's Mouth: An Analysis of Certain Significant Aspects in the Development of the Calypso and Society as Gleaned from Personal Communication with Some Outstanding Calypsonians by Hollis Liverpool a.k.a. Chalkdust, 2003.

  • Music in Latin America and the Caribbean: An Encyclopedic History: Volume 2: Performing the Caribbean Experience, Ed. Malena Kuss 2007.

  • Carriacou String Band Serenade: Performing Identity in the Eastern Caribbean Book by Rebecca Susan Miller, 2007.

  • Music, Memory, Resistance: Calypso and the Caribbean Literary Imagination Ed. by Sandra Pouchet Paquet, 2007.︎

  • Rhythms of the Afro-Atlantic World: Rituals and Remembrances, Ed. Ifeoma Kiddoe Nwankwo, Mamadou Diouf, 2010.

  • Music of Latin America and the Caribbean by Mark Brill, 2010.
    • See Chs. 4 & 5 for the Spanish/English/French-speaking Caribbean.

  • Chocolate Surrealism: Music, Movement, Memory, and History in the Circum-Caribbean by Njoroge M. Njoroge, 2016.

  • After the Dance, the Drums Are Heavy: Carnival, Politics, and Musical Engagement in Haiti by Rebecca Hope Dirksen, 2020.


  • Boni Raposo: Su vida y la música tradicional dominicana, dir. William Alemán, 2008. 77 minutes. Available on Vimeo.

  • The Dominican Gagá, dir. William Alemán, 2013. 22 minutes. Available on Vimeo.