Barbados Traditions & Cultural History
As Barbados continues its year-long celebrations of its golden anniversary of independence, we at The Crane have been reflecting on our beautiful island’s unique traditions and cultural history. From ‘tuk bands’ and ‘the landship’, to our passionate love for cricket, Barbados’ cultural traditions are an interesting read:
Barbados Tuk Band Performance via bcc.edu.bb
A tuk band is a colourful Barbadian musical ensemble, which plays ‘tuk’ or ‘rukatuk’ music using a bass drum, kettle drum and the pennywhistle. A true representation of the Barbados’ colonial history, the tuk band was inspired by the British Military regimental bands and usually accompanied by the African inspired “Shaggy Bear” as well as the “Mother Sally”, “Green Monkey” and very talented stilt-walkers.
The songs performed by the tuk band are a unique blend of African music, with its heavy drum influence, and British folk music. Tuk bands perform at all major Barbados festivals, including the Holetown Festival and Crop Over, and often provide musical accompaniment for The Barbados Landship.
The Landship performing a maypole ribbon dance in Bridgetown, Barbados via caribbean-beat.com
Believed to have been founded in 1863, The Landship is another cultural representation of Barbados colonial past. Inspired by the on-board activities of British naval ships, this theatrical organisation performs dances to the African rhythms provided by the Tuk Band. Performances include parades, jigs, hornpipes and the very popular ribbon dances around a maypole.
The performers wear costumes that are very similar to those worn in the Navy. They are also trained and disciplined in the manner of the military. The Barbados Landship has made such a mark on the island that it is almost inconceivable to have a function or festivity on the island without its appearance.
Cricket, Lovely Cricket
Cricket at Kensington Oval Barbardos via ecb.co.uk
Barbados’ love affair with cricket dates back to the 1800’s when the game was introduced and played by British soldiers stationed on the island and by the wealthy plantation owners. Today, the island’s cricketing mecca is Kensington Oval where international 20/20, one-day and test matches are often played to sold-out crowds. Barbados has also made its mark on the sport at an international level having produced some of the world’s finest cricketers. These include Sir Garfield Sobers, the 3Ws (Worrell, Walcott and Weekes) and the legendary opening pair Greenidge and Haynes.