VIEWS OF FEDERATION THOUGH MUSIC
The movements toward the formation of the West Indian Federation, its subsequent collapse and the manoeuvrings toward political independence for Jamaica, provided fodder and inspiration for Caribbean singers and songwriters who, in turn, put their opinions in song and cemented them in the minds of the public with their infectious calypso and ska beats of the late 1950’s and the early 1960’s – a period which chronicled the political maturity of island territories from colonies to independent states.
These creative artistes had for a long time crafted compositions on all facets of West Indian life, from the social, to the historical, to the political and in the process they became the unofficial commentators, documenters and critics of their peoples. Their catchy lyrics and rhythms also allowed them a certain license to speak freely on matters in a way that established politicians, academics and newspaper editors could not and their work found resonance with the masses of the peoples of the Anglophone Caribbean.
Singers and songwriters contributed to the narrative on West Indian identity and through their works raised the consciousness of the descendants of enslaved Africans who were, by the decades of the late 1950’s, bent on determining their own affairs and as such, adjusting their political relationships with Britain.