Beautiful and Loud Turks and Caicos Junkanoo Museum
Small Kids, Big Noise – Grade 4 Junkanoos!
Located down Old Airport Road, is a hidden gem of the TCI – the Turks and Caicos Junkanoo Museum owned and operated by Mr. Kitchener Penn.
We were then welcomed by Mr. Penn and that’s when the most amazing field trip began.
Mr. Penn explained how Turks and Caicos Junkanoo began many years ago.
He also gave a demonstration how to make the costumes and instruments.
“We have here what our island needs and what we can spread on and share with our young people. What I envisioned was a situation where people could come, put on the costumes, take pictures with the costumes and beat the drums. All of this within their time frame and within their leisure. The aim is for them have fun and enjoy our history and culture.”
Penn said that the main focus of the Turks and Caicos Junkanoo Museum is Junkanoo, but it also brings attention to all of TCI’s natural beauty that makes the archipelago unique.
It was so fascinating!
Mr. Penn took us into the room under the ocean which was painted and decorated as if you were under water.
The last and final room was the favourite for all. It was colourful and sparkly costumes and head pieces were decorated throughout the room.
There were many drums and shakers made of assorted sizes and made of different things.
Eventually, the whistles and horn joined in and the Junkanoo began….we were the JUNKANOO BAND!!
It was loud and lots of fun.
The best day ever!!
About the Turks and Caicos Junkanoo Museum
The Junkanoo Museum is coordinated by Kitchener Penn, a well known islander who is head of the We Funk Junkanoo Band. Penn was hired to put on the first junkanoo festival in the Turks and Caicos in the 1980’s and what he brought to the island was a Bahamian-style festival, based on his own roots as a Bahamian. The event was one of excitement and pulsating rhythm created by ripsaws (handsaws scraped by hand), drums and percussion.
What is Junkanoo?
The national music of the Turks and Caicos is called “Ripsaw Music”. Another name for this type of music is ‘Rake ‘n’ Scrape’.
The basic instruments used are the saw, the goatskin drum, the hand accordion, also known locally as the Constentina, hand-made maracas and the acoustic guitar.
The main instrument featured is the ordinary carpenters handsaw found in any hardware store. The saw is held with either end in a number of ways to produce a bend in the center of the blade. A metal scraper, usually a long nail, a fork or knife or a screwdriver, is raked and scraped over the teeth of the saw to produce a unique percussive scraping sound, this action is called “Ripping the Saw”. Bending the body and ripping the saw in time with the beat of the music produces a wobbled overtone. This gives you the characteristic sound of ripsaw music.
Lovey Forbes and his son Corry Forbes are the fore runners in composing and recording Ripsaw music in the Turks and Caicos.