The Rich Cultural Identity of Dominica Chelsea bertrand

Dominica, known as "The Nature Island", is a volcanic island located in the Lesser Antilles. The people of Dominica have a very rich background. This background surfaces in the majority of activities and organizations on island. A sense of appreciation for the culture and heritage of this island can be felt from the music, dances, food and essentially all other practices of theses people.

Sisserou Singers

Sisserou Singers at Different Productions

The Sisserou Singers, Directed By Ms Pearle Christian, was founded in 1994 as a project between the Division of Culture and the students who wereleaving the Convent High School choir and going into the Clifton Dupigny Community College. The group engages young persons in productions that are full of Dominican culture and history. The singers are a very popular group which normally have a great turn out for their annual productions. The culturally rich performances act as means of preserving the vibrant culture of the island.

The Indigenous People of Dominica

Depictions of the Kalinago people

In the year 1493, on his second voyage, Christopher Columbus came upon the island we now know as Dominica. He discovered that the island was already inhabited by the Kalinago people. The Kalinagos were the one of the first groups of people to inhabit Dominica, they even gave Dominica its first documented name: “Waitukubuli” meaning 'tall is her body’, which was possibly a reference to its tall mountains. Today these people(approximately 3,000) occupy a collectively owned 3,700 acre territory, spread over eight hamlets, on the north-eastern coast of Dominica. Together, these villages are called the Kalinago Territory. In the reserve they live a life of simplicity and carry on the traditions of their ancestors. The passing on of traditions unto the younger generation ensure that this vital piece of Dominica's story lives on.

The Traditional Dances of the Dominican People

Dominicans in Creole Wear in Various Stages of Traditional Dances

Dominica is well known for its extravagant independence and creole time celebrations. During this time, persons pay homage to the traditional dances of their ancestors. Before slavery was abolished, African slaves as well as British and French persons cohabited the island so naturally, Dominican traditional dances incorporate aspects of all of their cultural dances. Some traditional dances include Bele Dance, Lancers, Flirtation, Polka /Heel and Toe, Mazouk, Waltz, Cotillion and Contresdanse. There are certain groups which focus on these specific dances such as the Sivoulie Massacre and Paix Bouche Cultural Group. They specialize in performing a variety of the traditional dances listed below.

The Music of the Island

Dominica is a land of diversity, from people to food why would music be the exception? Dominica prides itself on its music; it is an vital part of Dominican peoples everyday lives. at every turn music can be heard whether it be calypso, reggae, soca, kompa, zouk or bouyon. The music of Dominica was also influnced by the colonizers and slaves that inhabited the island. Cadence-lypso started off in Dominica and developed in the French islands and bouyon originated in Dominica by a group called WCK (Windward Caribbean Kulture). It became popular in the late 1980s. Groups such as the Triple Kay are also very popular in the bouyon field.

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