Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College


Music 204. Innovative Music Traditions of Trinidad and Tobago

This course is designed to bring students to the communities that have created the inspired and uniquely innovative music traditions of Trinidad. It's one thing to learn about the Trinidadian Steelband in a classroom, it's another to stand before an ensemble and feel the phenomenal energy that people are able to generate with these instruments. The historical variables that have brought people of diverse backgrounds together to create a variety of music genres and a celebrated Carnival tradition can be understood best by going to Trinidad, hearing the music on its home turf, experiencing the physical impact of live music performance, and talking with the people who have an intimate and passionate relationship with the music culture.

Significant emphasis for the course focuses on the experiential opportunities we encounter while in Trinidad and Tobago. Exposure to Trinidadian traditions through assigned reading, films, recordings and an independent research project helps to contextualize the music before we head south. Students also have first hand experience with pan, playing weekly with Wheaton's steelband, the Lymin' Lyons, in preparation for our trip to Trinidad.