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Music of the Maroons

Maroons are Africans who escaped captivity and formed autonomous communities throughout the Americas between the 15th and 19th centuries. Today, communities of Maroons survive in Jamaica, Suriname, French Guiana, Colombia, Mexico, and the USA. The music of the Maroons is a unique blend of African, Native American, and European musical traditions. In this quick look at four modern Maroon communities, notice the shared reliance on complex rhythms and call-and-response singing. The group performances encourage community building while providing opportunities for personal expression.