Bonairean folkloric music originated in the large farms, such as Washington, Colombia, Karpata, Onima, and Fontein, where the workers made charcoal and lime, cut aloe, raised animals, planted sorghum, collected divi-divi pods, and cured goat skins. The songs were religious, social or harvest songs. This music can still be heard, especially at special celebrations throughout the year.
During the months of February through April, Bonaire celebrates with harvest festivals and one can hear the songs of Simadan (harvest festival), such as Belua, Remailo, Ma Yega and Dan simadan. June is the time of San Juan (St. John) and San Pedro (St. Peter), while October through December is the time of Bari.
In the past, Rincon produced some well-known singers, such as Lauchi Sint Jacobo, Isabel Piard, Shon Ban Mercera, Egilio Mercera, Shon Olita Inias. At present the following are well known:
Felipi Sint Jago, Nemencio Winklar, Anna Thode, Juan Mercera, Eustacio Sint Jago and Augustin Kroon.
The folklore music of Bonaire was passed from one generation to another. Due to modern progress, the introduction of electronic equipment, and the usage of music and songs from other countries, these folkoric traditions are in danger. In the future we could possibly lose out rich heritage and folkloric identity.
Because of this, the commission has taken the initiative to preserve some of this culture before it is too late.
Sue Ellen Felix.