EthNoise!

The Music, Language, and Culture Workshop

March 3, 2022
by fionaboyd
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EthNoise! Presents Anjelica Fabro

Please join us on today (Thursday, March 3) from 4:30-6pm on Zoom for a presentation from Anjelica Fabro, Ph.D. Candidate in Music.

“What Sweeten de Goat Mout, Bun he Tail: Overconsumption, Morality, and Health in Barbados”

Abstract: Recently, Barbadian society has had to acknowledge there is something wrong with their beloved Barbados as the nation’s underbelly continuously reveals itself. During the first week of June 2021, Barbadians discussed the “viral” Trojan Riddim, a Bajan Dub/Dancehall riddim featuring ten Barbadian artists. The lyrics depicting gun violence and the violent destinies of informants of crime in the Barbadian streets and the accompanying music videos featuring guns caused social outrage among the Barbadian public. For several days, Barbadians took part in discourses on national identity and culture, the musicians’ ethical responsibilities, and the music consumers’ morality because of this controversial Trojan Riddim. According to the Barbadian public, the riddim was the latest symptom of a Barbadian society plagued with crime and violence — the opposite of Barbados’s image as a Christian and respectable nation.Many Barbadians also struggle with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with high rates of heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes among adults. Lifestyles of overconsumption promoted in songs and advertisements featuring well-known Barbadian artists and the traditional Barbadian diet are two contributing factors in these high rates. Barbadians’ pursuit of literal and figurative sweetness (pleasure and euphoria) in fêtes, limes, and family meals is part of Barbadian culture, but it is also leading some Barbadians to an early grave.

In Barbados, Christians and Christianity are possible cures for the island’s diseased society. Simultaneously, the local Christian church is considered a hostile and overly conservative institution that aggravated these issues concerning violence and health in Barbados. In this preliminary analysis, I use the Trojan Riddim controversy and recent public health initiatives as launching points to discuss the ambiguous role of Christianity in the Barbadian national image and body politic, as well as musical and culinary tastes during Christian worship and fellowship.

Anjelica Fabro is a Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation focuses on aesthetics, the senses, and Christian worship music in Barbados.