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Etienne Charles Brings Life to Caribbean Music

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Tuesday February 26, 2019

The Mercury News

Caribbean music dying? Etienne Charles ready to prove otherwise in SF Bay Area gigs
By: Andrew Gilbert

[…] ‘I love working with musicians who understand the aesthetics of Caribbean music, who understand the rhythms,’ says Charles, 35. ‘The Spanish tinge that Jelly Roll Morton talked about is the Caribbean lilt. Sullivan is from New Orleans, which is the northernmost part of the Caribbean. Jamison is living in New Orleans. When I put bands together, the groove comes first.’

Part of carnival’s enduring power is that way it channels and frames cultural practices that West African peoples brought to the Caribbean when they were transported there to work as slaves. By allowing for the overthrow of racial and class hierarchies, however briefly, the celebrations supercharged the music with ‘a higher purpose,’ Charles says. ‘It’s supposed to take people out of their daily reality.’

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