Marie Richards, St. Croix, 1957

This cariso expresses the hardships of slavery and remembers the events that led to the proclamation of freedom on July 3,1848. Marie Richards (1890-1960), the performer of this song, was born on the island of St. Maarten and came to St. Croix as a young woman. Although she was not a cariso singer she sings this cariso song as she remembers it. The song demonstrates what must have been a characteristic element of cariso and clearly shows the African influence on this song style: the rhythm of the melody "floats" relatively freely while a strict meter is kept on the drum; only shortly before the end of the phrases do the accents of the singing and the drum beats coincide. This recording was made in 1957 by Raymond and Hazel Higdon, owners of the first radio station in St. Croix.