Fungi is the name given to the local musical form of the British Virgin Islands. Fungi music is an expression of British Virgin Islands culture as it shows the island’s African and the European influences in a unique sound known only as fungi. The name fungi comes from the local cornmeal dish called fungi.
Fungi is a cornmeal based food which is made with different ingredients ranging from okra to onions, green peppers and is sometimes done plain. This “cook up” which is a savoury fusion of different makes something new and delicious; that is what fungi music is all about.
A fungi band is based on the fusion of a wide range of instruments, many of which are homemade. The beat of the double bass is the base of a colourful mix of sounds and instruments; for this reason fungi music is an experience all its own.
The components of a fungi band or “scratch band” include:
Double Bass or Bass Guitar
Themes explored in fungi music include:
Love and Relationships
Folk Lore which is the basis of BVI Oral history on topics ranging from church life to smuggling rum.
Current Events and Social Commentary
Mood and Atmosphere:
Very festive, sometimes humorous
Fungi music is made for dancing
Fungi bands perform at a variety of events including:
Full Moon Parties
There is a definite melody and rhythm and the lyrics are meaningful as the songs tell stories from the past. These stories are reminders of the life the people of the BVI lived. Fungi music is popular during such events as the BVI Music Festival and fungi is taught in schools and is a part of the school curriculum.
Notable fungi artists are BVI educator turned politician, Elmore Stoutt who is regarded as the Fungi Master, and the legendary Lashing Dogs.
Let's hope it gets good ones soon!
Copyright © 2011 Dexter Penn Photography