Kaseko is a form of Afro-Surinamese popular music, popular throughout Suriname. The term Kaseko may have come from the kassé ko, a percussion instrument. Another theory has it, the term came from casser le corps (break the body) from French Guyana and was a type of dance.


Kaseko borrows influence from Winti and Kawina music( traditional Surinamese music with a large drum ensemble), the drums and vocal aspect. It also incorporates elements from military marching bands, especially the skratji (large bass drum) and tubas. Trinidadian calypso also influenced the form, as well as British Guyana song style. Cuban dance music left an imprint.

The more traditional Kaseko made use of wind instruments bastuba, saxophones, trombones, and trumpets. In the modern form, the trombone is not utilize. Percussion instruments like the boengoe-boengoe(snare-drum) and skratjie, a large drum with a cymbal on top are played.

Singing uses a call and response style. The soloist calls out and the chorus responds in harmony. Subject can be on any matter, but usually about men and women relationships with much scandal. 


Modern Kaseko came out of gradual multiple influences, beginning with the Winti and Kawina. Later, during the 1930s, it was influenced by army marching bands and police bands. This produced the Bigi Pokoe or big band style of Kaseko. After World War II, it was influenced by Jazz, Calypso, Brazilian music, and Venezuelan music. By the 1970s, we saw the Maroons starting to influence the Kaseko, via migration to the coast. In the latter decades of the twentieth century, stylistic tinges came from reggae, zouk, and soca. Like the previous styles, the sound became more electrified. The banjo was replaced by the guitar. The tuba or double bass was replace by the bass guitar. The drumset was later added.

Works Cited

Roberts, John Storm(1998). Black Music of Two Worlds:African, Caribbean, Latin, and African-American Traditions. ISBN 002864929X, 9780028649290.

West, Alan(2003). African Caribbeans: a reference guide. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 180  ISBN 0313312400, 9780313312403

About Kaseko Music by Rein Spoorman retrieved 16-Nov-2011

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