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v · Jamaican folk music that predates and has greatly influenced ska and reggae music. It has its roots in calypso and other Jamaican folk music. Mento typically features acoustic instruments, such as acoustic guitar, banjo, hand drums, and the rhumba box — a large mbira in the shape of a box that can be sat on while played. The rhumba box carries the bass part of the music.

Mento is often confused with calypso, a musical form from Trinidad and Tobago. Although the two share many similarities, they are separate and distinct musical forms. In part, the differences stem from the differing colonial histories of the two West Indian Islands, as Jamaican music lacks the Spanish influences found in other Caribbean musical styles.

Mento draws on musical traditions brought over by African slaves. The influence of European music is also strong, as slaves who could play musical instruments were often required to play music for their masters.[citation needed] They subsequently incorporated some elements of these traditions into their own folk music. The lyrics of mento songs often deal with aspects of everyday life in a light-hearted and humorous way. Many comment on poverty, poor housing and other social issues. Thinly veiled sexual references and innuendo are also common themes. Although the treatment of such subjects in mento is comparatively innocent, their appearance has sometimes been seen as a precursor of the slackness found in modern dancehall.

Major 1950s mento recording artists include Louise Bennett, Count Lasher, Harold Richardson, Lord Flea, Lord Fly, Alerth Bedasse with Chin's Calypso Sextet, Laurel Aitken, Denzil Laing, Lord Composer, Lord Lebby, Lord Power, Hubert Porter, and New Yorker of Jamaican origin Harry Belafonte, whose massive hit records in 1956-1958, including "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" and "Jamaica Farewell" were really mento songs sold as calypso. Previously recorded Jamaican versions of many Belafonte's classic "calypso" hits can be heard on the Jamaica - Mento 1951-1958 [1] CD released in 2010.

The golden age of mento was the 1950s, as records pressed by Stanley Motta, Ivan Chin, Ken Khouri and others brought the music to a new audience. In the 1960s it was overshadowed by ska and reggae, but it is still played in Jamaica, especially in areas frequented by tourists. Lloyd Bradley, reggae historian and author of seminal reggae book Bass Culture said that he felt Lee “Scratch” Perry’s 1976 album ‘Super Ape’ contained some of the purest mento influences he knew [2]. It was repopularized by the Jolly Boys in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the release of four recordings on First Warning Records/Rykodisc and a tour that included the United States. Stanley Beckford and Gilzene and the Blue Light Mento Band also revived rural mento in the 2000s.


Vintage Mento on CD

  • Jamaica - Mento 1951-1958 (Frémeaux et Associés)
  • Mento Madness : Motta’s Jamaican Mento 1951-56 (V2)
  • Boogu Yagga Gal: Jamaican Mento 1950s (Heritage)
  • Take Me to Jamaica: Story of Jamaican Mento (Pressure Sounds)

Further reading

  • Floyd Jr, Samuel A (1999). "Black Music in the Circum-Caribbean". American Music, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Spring, 1999), pp. 1-38.
  • Neely, Daniel (2001). "Long Time Gal! Mento is Back!". The Beat, December 2001, vol. 20, no. 6: 38-42. Available in pdf format at New York University homepages.
  • Neely, Daniel (2007). "One of mento's great voices silenced". "Jamaica Observer, March 18, 2007,
  • Neely, Daniel (2007). "Calling All Singers, Musicians and Speechmakers : Mento Aesthetics and Jamaica’s Early Recording Industry." Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 53, No. 4. (December 2007), pp. 1-15.
  • Barrow, Steve; Dalton, Peter (08 2004) [1997]. "The Beginnings: Mento to Ska". The Rough Guide to Reggae (Third Edition ed.). Strand, London, England: Rough Guides, Ltd.. ISBN 1-84353-329-4. ok


  • 1984 - Caribbean Crucible. From Repercussions: A Celebration of African-American Music series, program 6. Directed by Dennis Marks and Geoffrey Haydon.


  1. ^ Johnston, Richard (2004). How to Play Rhythm Guitar, p.72. ISBN 0879308117.

External links

  • [3] Jamaica-Mento 1951-1958 - CD booklet online - English version at the bottom of the page)
  • Jamaica - In Calypso: A World Music, a site created by Historical Museum of Southern Florida about calypso and mento
  • Jamaican Mento Music - site created by Michael Garnice (comprehensive information on the history and the musicians who made the music)
  • Ivan Chin - Mento music's pages on mento pioneer Ivan Chin

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mento — ist die erste jamaikanische folkloristische Populärmusik, die Ende der 30er Jahre entstand. Der Mento war eine rein unterhaltende und keine religiöse Musikform. Er gilt als die erste Stufe in der Entwicklung der jamaikanischen Populärmusik, da er …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mento — puede referirse a diferentes cosas dependiendo el contexto: En música, el Mento es un estilo musical jamaicano precursor del ska y del reggae. En cómics, Mento es un personaje de la editorial DC Comics. Esta página de desambiguación cataloga… …   Wikipedia Español

  • mento — / mento/ s.m. [lat. mentum ]. (anat.) [parte della faccia situata al di sotto del labbro inferiore: m. aguzzo, sporgente ] ▶◀ Ⓖ (fam.) bazza, Ⓖ (region.) scucchia. ● Espressioni: doppio mento ▶◀ [➨ doppio agg. (2. a)] …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • Mento —   [kreolisch], populäre Musikform aus Jamaika, die zu den wichtigsten Quellen des Reggae gehört. Sie speist sich aus den musikalischen Traditionen der afrokaribischen Bevölkerungsmehrheit Jamaikas, den Maroons (Nachfahren der aus der Region des… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • -mento — sufijo 1. miento. miento o mento sufijo 1. Significa acción o resultado de y forma sustantivos a partir de verbos: aparcar aparcamiento, adelgazar adelgazamiento, fallecer fallecimiento, recibir recibimiento, jurar juramento …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • -mento — [lat. mentum ]. Suff. derivativo di sost. che indicano la nozione astratta dei verbi da cui sono tratti o designano l effetto o il risultato dell azione da essi espressa …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • mento — s. m. 1. Parte inferior do rosto, barba. 2. Saliência carnuda por baixo do beiço inferior dos animais. 3. Cimalha …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • -mento — (Del lat. mentum). suf. Forma frecuentemente nombres concretos, que a veces significan acción y efecto . Adopta también las formas amento e imento. Cargamento, pegamento. [m6]Pulimento …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • mento — /menˈtō/ noun (pl menˈtōs) A traditional Jamaican form of song or ballad, having a strong rhythm and often accompanying a dance ORIGIN: Origin unknown …   Useful english dictionary

  • Mento — Le mento est la première musique populaire jamaïcaine. Il apparait à la fin du XIXe siècle dans les zones rurales de l île. Sommaire 1 Histoire du mento 2 Artistes 3 Bibliographie …   Wikipédia en Français

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