Grenada is a Windward Island with its two dependencies, Carriacou and Petit Martinique. Carriacou has its location in the Lesser Antilles while Petit Martinique is along St. Vincent. The French and British influences tend to affect Grenadian cultural tradition. People from Carriacou have trilingual culture that includes Standard English, English Creole, and French Creole. The use of different language in conjunction with music can modify the function, grammar, and the structure. Enslaved Africans arrived in Carriacou in the 1600s whereby majority of the population today is mainly from West Africa. This paper will delve on Caribbean quadrille music and dance with a focus on practice performance and its cultural representation. For instance, the Kwadril artists in St. Lucia applied quadrille music and dance as a way of surrogacy rather than portrayal. That strategy was instrumental for the downtrodden to appear closer to the European elite. Currently the Afro-Caribbean population engages in the dance to display class tension in the society.
The French LEsterre Quadrille Group normally performs the staged dance performance in various venues such as the entire week Regatta Festival that takes place every August. The band consists of a violinist, tambourine player, drummer, and steel player. As the musicians begin playing the instruments, eight quadrille dancers appear on stage adorning costumes that depict Caribbean lifestyle. Most of the public quadrille performances begin with libation for the underworld, an African practice perverse to the diasporic cultures. The performers join in a circle and together sprinkle water or other beverages on the ground as a sign to invite the ancestral spirit to partake in the festival. The eight quadrille dancers later form a square to perform a composition that suggestive of English county dance. Violin tunes reminiscent French country-dance music. Caribbean quadrille dancing illustrates legacies of common European colonial heritage. In the meanwhile, quadrille music and dance also resonate with the African movement and sound from the drum instrument that provides a polyrhythmic to infuse the dancers graceful movement that adds a kinesthetic fluidity.
Clearly, one can view quadrille as a subversion of an expressive art to represent people that compete for authority. In the sense, quadrille serves as a tool for those in slavery to assist them in the New World and evolve in Afro-Caribbean expression that maintains social and aesthetic relevance.
Feddoes, Sadie. "Happy Anniversary Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique." New York Amsterdam News, February 04, 1999, 9,
McDaniel, Lorna. The Big Drum Ritual of Carriacou: Praisesongs in Rememory of Flight. Gainesville, Fla: University Press of Florida, 1998.
Miller, Rebecca S. "Performing Ambivalence: The Case of Quadrille Music and Dance in Carriacou, Grenada." Ethnomusicology 49, no. 3 (2005): 403-40.
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