Barbados is the home of a popular type of music
known as Tuk. Tuk combines British military and African village
instruments and rhythms. Tuk bands consist of a kettle drum, a bass
drum and a penny whistle. The music begins with a slow waltz,
shifts to a march rhythm and ends with a complicated African beat.
Tuk bands are popular around Christmas and New Year's and
on Crop Over Day.
Calypso, also known as kaiso, is not only a popular musical form but also an expression of political satire and social commentary. Soca is a more upbeat form of calypso. It is a fusion of soul and calypso music that originated in Trinidad, but it has become very popular in Barbados and other West Indian islands. Famous Bajan calypsonians are the Mighty Gabby, Red Plastic Bag and Grynner. Steel pan music, which also originated in Trinidad, is growing in popularity in Barbados.
Barbados has produced many poets and writers, including
George Lamming, Edward Kamau Braithwaite, Bruce St. John, Frank Collymore,
Karl Sealy, John Wickham and Geoffrey Drayton. George Lamming's first novel,
In the Castle of My Skin, is a partly autobiographical story of growing
up in colonial Barbados. Braithwaite's poetry also shows a sensitivity to
colonial influence on black West Indian culture. His poetry collections include
Islands, Masks and Rights of Passage. Austin Clarke and Cecil Foster, two
popular Bajan writers, now live in Canada.
John Walcott is a noted Bajan painter. Among his many paintings, the Rumshop and Trafalgar are particularly well known. Neville Oluyemi Legall paints in oils and watercolours. His paintings and prints have been exhibited in Barbados and internationally. Winston Kellman is a painter whose works include the Plantation Series, which capture the beauty and grandeur of the changing landscapes of Barbados. Owen Johnson is a Bajan artist now living in Canada. The best-known sculptor in Barbados is Karl Broodhagen. One of his most famous works is the Bussa Statue. It was created in memory of Bussa, the national hero who led a slave revolt in Barbados in 1816.
Craft work is important in Barbados. Costume makers
design intricate and colourful creations for carnivals. Handbags and baskets
are woven out of wall cane or bamboo. Some craft workers make beautiful
ornaments with seashells, wood, glass, metal and fabric.