The British Virgin Islands’ own Lashing Dogs fungi band will be featured at Grenada’s Carriacou Maroon and String Band Music Festival this weekend.

The annual event, in its ninth year, celebrates the history and culture of Carriacou Island. The island is a dependent island of Grenada and the largest of the Grenadines’ archipelago.

The festival will offer attendees the chance to witness the traditional Caribbean practice of a maroon, where gratitude is expressed for the last harvest and prayers offered for good fortune during the upcoming planting season. The three-day festival will offer traditional songs, dance, drumming, food, and other cultural performances.

The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board Niche Marketing Manager, Lynette Harrigan said, ‘The Lashing Dogs have been a main stay for the BVI to showcase our cultural music. They have travelled the world as musical ambassadors for the BVI, giving potential guests a taste of the heritage of the Territory.’

This from Wikipedia on fungi music and scratch band:

‘The music of the Virgin Islands reflects long-standing cultural ties to the island nations to the south as well as to various European colonialists. Though the United States Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands are politically separate, they maintain close cultural ties. From its neighbors, the Virgin Islands has imported various pan-Caribbean genres of music, including calypso from Trinidad and reggae from Jamaica.

‘The major indigenous form of music is the scratch band (also called fungi band in the British Virgin Islands), which use improvised instruments like gourds and washboards to make a kind of music called quelbe. A Virgin Island folk song called cariso is also popular, as well as St. Thomas’ bamboula.

‘The name scratch band may derive from the sound produced by scraping the squash, an instrument similar to the Puerto Rican guiro, but larger, or from the word squash itself, used to refer to the bands first by American visitors and then by locals.

‘The traditional scratch band ensemble varied, but always used a percussive instrument, either the squash, tambourine, or a local form of double-headed barrel drum similar to the Dominican tambora, as well as an accordion, cane flute or violin as a melodic instrument. String instruments were also common, including the banjo, ukulele or a six-string guitar. The ass pipe, made out of a car exhaust tube, often provided the bass, and was played similar to the tuba. Since about the 1980s, the instrumentation for scratch bands became more rigid. The alto saxophone became the most common melodic instrument, replaced sometimes by a silver flute. Conga drums, squash, electric guitar or bass guitar, and a steel (a triangle). Banjo or ukulele, keyboard and additional saxophones or other melodic instruments are more rarely found in modern bands.

‘The music of scratch bands are a type of folk music that dates back to the days of slavery. The slaves on the islands used found objects to fashion instruments, such as by making strings out of twine salvaged from old sacks. Lyrics traditionally function as oral history, spreading news and gossip. Modern scratch bands play a wide range of dances, including calypsos, boleros, quadrilles, international pop songs, merengues, mazurkas, waltzes, jigs and other styles. They perform at church services, private parties, public festivals, local dances and fairs, christenings and weddings, and also perform for tourists.’