General information

A tuk band is a kind of Barbadian musical ensemble, which plays tuk or rukatuk music. They consist of a double-headed bass drum, triangle, flute and a snare drum; the traditional fiddle has most recently been replaced by the pennywhistle. The tuk band is based on the regimental bands of the British military, which played frequently during the colonial era. The Tuk Band is accompanied by characters that are African in origin. African tribes used costumed figures to represent elements such as fertility, witch doctors, and describing routes of commercial transportation, as well as having survived difficult times.

In the Barbados Tuk Band, the regular costumed figures are Shaggy Bear (who is sometimes called the Bank Holiday Bear), the Donkey Man, Mother Sally, a masked man dressed up like a woman with an exaggerated behind, and the Stiltman.

Shaggy Bear is said to represent an African witch doctor figure.Shaggy gained a reputation as the Bank Holiday Bear because he always shows up on island Bank Holidays. Other Caribbean islands like Jamaica have their own Shaggy Bear figure which goes under a different name.

The Donkey Cart was an important means of transportation in the past, and the Donkey Man is representative of the island transportation that was used by the locals. Mother Sally represents the female fertility, and with an exaggerated back end. Mother Sally is always good for a laugh, and a favorite among Bajans and visitors alike.

The Stiltman is another character that accompanies the Tuk Band, and is also seen on Bank Holidays. The Stiltman represents surviving hard times, and the effigy of Mr. Hardin.

Tuk Bands perform during island festivals such as Crop Over, the Holetown Festival, and at Christmas and New Years. The trio provides musical accompaniment for The Landship.

(from the article Tuk of Wikipedia)

Selected examples

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List of tuk musicians

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