Main article: Rake and Scrape music

Rake and scrape music comes from the musical traditions of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), and is characterized by the use of the saw tool, as the primary instrument.  It was brought by TCI immigrants to the Bahama islands between the 1920s and 1940s starting in Cat Island and then spreading to others.

Rake and Scrape is traditionally used to accompany dances such as the Bahamian Quadrille and the heel-toe-polka, all relics of the initial mixture of Africa and Europe.[1] Many of these Turks and Caicos Islanders became some of the most famous musicians in the Bahamas. Many eventually moved back to their homeland, taking with them Junkanoo.  The Turks and Caicos are now the second home for Junkanoo.

Organology of Instruments

Membranophones:  The Goombay drum is the main rhythmic component in rake-n-scrape.  It is also referred to as a goatskin drum, as the skin of a goat is stretched over a wooden barrel. It is decorated by simple or complex geometric designs in bright colors. The drum is always heated over fire for toning.  In 1971, when manufacturers started shipping products in metal barrels, Bahamians switched the drum to metal, slightly changing the tone of the drum.[2]  Aside from being a type of drum, goombay is also a percussion music made famous by Alphonso 'Blind Blake' Higgs, who played to tourists arriving at Nassau International Airport for several years.  

Idiophones: The main component that makes Rake-N-Scrape unique is the use of the Carpenter's Saw.  This instrument is scraped with an implement, most typically a screwdriver, or nail or knife.  Bent against the body of the player and their thigh, it is flexed and scraped to obtain various timbral effects.[3] In more modern music, the saw is replaced with maracas or a guiro.[4]

Aerophones: The accordion is the component that adds the rounded form which enables dancers to dance the ring dance.  This is of European descent.  In more modern bands, it is replaced by an electric guitar or electronic keyboard.[5]

Rake-and-scrape's popularity has been declining in recent years, but performers like Lassie Do and the Boys continue to keep the tradition alive. Christian rhyming spirituals and the ant'ems of sponge fisherman are now mostly dead traditions, taken over by the arrival of pop music, a 1930s sponge blight and other causes.

E. Clement Bethel's master's thesis on traditional Bahamian music was adapted for the stage by his daughter, Nicolette Bethel and Philip A. Burrows.  Music of The Bahamas was first performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1991, and was revived in 2002 for fresh Bahamian audiences. A recording of that show is available for sale from Ringplay Productions

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