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date: 22 October 2019

Konpalocked

  • Rebecca Dirksen

Extract

A popular dance music genre that rose to prominence in Haiti during the mid-1950s and which remains at the forefront of the Haitian music scene, both in Haiti and in the Haitian diaspora. There are two conflicting theories of the genre’s origins. Some scholars explain that konpa was adapted from the merengue típico from the Cibão region of the Dominican Republic. Others locate its roots in the Haitian folkloric music that includes the contredanse, quadrille, and menuet of European origin, in addition to the rada, kongo (also, congo), and petwo (also, pétro) rhythms that have provenance in Africa.

Early ensembles typically comprised vocals, saxophones, accordion, acoustic guitar, string bass, drum set, and various percussion instruments. From the 1960s, band composition decreased in size and shifted to include more electronic instruments (guitar, bass, and synthesizers). During the 1970s, konpa bands began widely incorporating trumpets, trombones, and congas or tambou...

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