This website was designed to create an awareness and appreciation for our indigenous parang music, that has a rich history, tradition and culture.
As far as was possible we have checked and re-checked the data before publishing. If through your use of this site you have a need for clarification, an addition or correction to make or would like to send us your favourite parang memory to publish, feel free to send us a line through the feedback page or guestbook page.
Parang's root is basically Spanish with French and African influences. Our history as recorded, shows that in 1498 Christopher Columbus came to Trinidad. The Spanish settlers did not arrive until 1592, almost 200 years later.
As part of colonizing the island, the Spanish invited the French and other Europeans to settle and help to develop it. Many of these settlers came with their slaves as well as about 4000 free African slaves. They established cocoa and coffee plantations where many native Amerindians were slaves too. Within a short time the Amerindian population dwindled to a few hundred.
In this "New world" as the Spanish saw it, they sent many Catholic Priests who were in charge of various parts of the island where missions were set up to teach the natives Christianity. A criterion for placement was that the priest had to be a master of music and so taught many songs about the Bible in Spanish; the birth of Jesus being one. This influenced what is now known as parang music since the music is primarily about the birth of Jesus. The songs are about the nativity and are usually sung at Christmas time.
Another belief is that when the Venezuelans came to Trinidad to work on the cocoa plantations they also brought with them their culture of music and song. These workers called cocoa panyols entertained themselves with parang music as there was neither radio nor electricity.
African influence is attributed mainly to the zanza mbira drum which looks like the box bass drum. This drum along with other instruments we saw in the museum at Lopinot influenced the rhythm as we know it. In addition the singing voice added a peculiar timbre that is distinctly parang.