Indiana University Bloomington

Henry Robert Antoine, head drummer in the Rada community

Location: Belmont, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
Dates
: 1953, 1954
Formats: lacquer discs and open reel tape
Accession Numbers: 70-159-F, 71-189-F

Passionate about art, culture, politics and natural history, Andrew Thomas Carr (1902-1976) was an award-winning folklorist and a cultural icon from Trinidad and Tobago. Carr was a native Trinidadian who worked with the Trinidad Building & Loan Association for 46 years, rising to become secretary-treasurer before his retirement in 1967. He worked extensively with the local arts and tourism sector, co-founding the Trinidad and Tobago Ethnographic Society dedicated to the study of the twin-island republic's folklore, the Trinidad Art Society, the Zoological Society and the Carnival Development Committee. He earned Fulbright scholarship in 1953 to pursue folklore studies at Northwestern University where he met and worked with Melville Herskovits.

ATM holds two collections of recordings made by Andrew Carr in Belmont, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.  In 1953 he made a two 16” lacquer disc recordings of songs and drumming performed during cult ceremonies of the Rada community.  These became part of his article, "A Rada Community in Trinidad" (Caribbean Quarterly 3:1, 1953). The Rada are an ethnic group in Trinidad linked linguistically to Ewe-Fon peoples of Dahomey (now the Republic of Benin). Carr and the British sociologist Andrew Pearse also made a series of open-reel tape recordings of a night-long Rada ceremony in 1954. Ethnomusicologist Alan P. Merriam used Carr's recordings from this collection to write the book Songs of a Rada Community in Trinidad, in 1956 with Sara Whinery and B.G. Fred. Many of Carr's extensive writings, memos, letters and reports have been included in his daughter’s 2010 book about his life entitled, He Served His Fellow Man–The Life & Work Andrew Thomas Carr.

Sample: "Song to Dangbwe," May 6, 1953. This listening sample, sung by an unidentified singer, is devoted to the diety, Dangbwe (serpent diety), and was composed by Andrew George, who was a leader of the Rada community of Belmont, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, at the time of this recording.



New at the Archives

ATM receives NEH grant to preserve cylinders

The Archives of Traditional Music has partnered with Indiana University's Media Digitization and Preservation Inititiative (MDPI) to transfer and digitally preserve the nearly 7,000 wax cylinders held in its collections.

Wax Cylinder Box

The ATM holds one of the largest collections of unique ethnographic wax cylinders outside of the Library of Congress. The content of the cylinders is remarkable in both breadth and depth. Comprised of 160 different collections made between 1893 and 1938, these cylinders were recorded in 60 different countries and on every continent except Antarctica. Because wax cylinders were the first viable method of sound recording, many of these recordings were the first ever made in certain parts of the world. The recordings are both irreplaceable artifacts of cultural history as well as documentation of the development of ethnographic science at the turn of the 20th century..

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