Brooklyn College professor publishes book highlighting Caribbean culture in Brooklyn

A professor from Brooklyn College wrote a book that highlights the Caribbean culture and music in the borough.

News 12 Staff

Oct 22, 2019, 11:15 AM

Updated 1,642 days ago

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A professor from Brooklyn College wrote a book that highlights the Caribbean culture and music in the borough.
It's a book that tells the history of Caribbean carnival music in Brooklyn.

College professor Ray Allen attended his first West Indian American Day Parade in the mid-80s.

"I went, and I was just totally mesmerized by this music. I decided, 6-7 years ago that, you know, there's not a really good history of New York carnival and no one's really looked at the music the way the music's played out here in New York and in Brooklyn, and so, I thought OK I’ll do it," says Allen.

The book, “Jump Up,” touches on how the parade has changed over the years, from having steel pan bands incorporated into the parade, to having a separate J’Ouvert celebration.

J'Ouvert takes place before the parade and celebrates steel band music.

"J'Ouvert is really important because it marks a kind of revival of the older carnival traditions here in Brooklyn, and here we see it in J'Ouvert. It's been going on now for about 25 years and it's still very strong,” says Allen.

By detailing the history of the music, Allen says he wants readers to have a better understanding of Caribbean culture.

"There are multiple components to the Brooklyn Carnival and I'm not quite sure everybody understands that and I hope that the book would clarify that and also to clarify how music is just so central. There's no music, you're not going to have Carnival and that's really what the book tries to say,” says Allen.

Allen says in his next writing venture, he hopes to look into the history of Soca music, a popular genre originating in Trinidad.


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