AskDefine | Define parang

Dictionary Definition

parang n : a stout straight knife used in Malaysia and Indonesia

User Contributed Dictionary


Etymology 1


  1. A short, heavy, straight-edged knife used in Malaysia and Indonesia as a tool and weapon.

See also

Etymology 2



  1. A style of music originating from Trinidad and Tobago.

Extensive Definition

Parang is a type of music with Caribbean and Latin American cultural influences. The word is derived from the Spanish word parranda, meaning 'merry-making' or 'a group of serenaders'. Parang is a popular folk music of Trinidad and Tobago, it is part of the Island's Hispanic heritage that originated from over 400 years ago during Spanish rule via Venezuela.
In the past, it was traditional for parang serenaders to pay nocturnal visits to the homes of family and friends, where part of the fun was waking the inhabitants of the household from their beds. Today, a new form of parang, soca parang, has emerged. Soca parang is a combination of soca and parang.


Traditional parang music is largely performed around Christmas time, when singers and instrumentalists (collectively known as the parrandero) travel from house to house in the community, often joined by friends and neighbours using whatever instruments are to hand. Popular parang instruments include the cuatro (a four-string small guitar) and maracas (locally known as shak-shaks. Other instruments often used are violin, guitar, claves (locally known as toc-toc), box bass (an indigenous instrument), flute, mandolin, bandolin, caja (a percussive box instrument), and marimbola (an Afro-Venezuelan instrument). In exchange for the entertainment, parranderos are traditionally given food and drink: pastelle, sorrel, rum and ponche crema (a form of alcoholic eggnog).
While traditional house-to-house caroling tradition is still practised by some small groups and larger organized groups, modern parang music has also developed a season of staged performances called parang fiestas, held from October through to January each year, culminating in a national parang competition.


Traditional parang music includes a variety of song types:
Since the 1950s, parang has become more popularised, giving birth to "soca parang", a fusion of calypso and soca with lyrics in English. While still festive in nature, the lyrics often refer to North American cultural elements such as Santa Claus.
Parang has also been fused with chutney, a form of vocal music indigenous to Trinidad, influenced by Indian rhythms and sometimes sung in Hindi).

Parang artists

Notable parang bands and artists include Daisy Voisin, Henry Perreira, Sharlene Flores, Leon Caldero, Jacqueline Charles ,Lara Brothers, Francisca Allard & Philip Allard (Dinamicos), Los Tocadores, Los Parranderos de UWI, Los Alumnos de San Juan and Del Caribe, Las Estrellas De Paramin, Los Paramininos, Los Alacranes. Other popular bands include:
  1. A La Rio Suave
  2. Amantes de Parranda (Barataria)
  3. Amores de Musica
  4. Ay Caramba
  5. Brasso Seco Parranderos
  6. Canciones Melodicas of Santa Cruz
  7. Carib Santa Rosa
  8. Carib Shaman
  9. Con Amor
  10. Courts Rio Senores
  11. Courts Ruisenores (Pointe-a-Pierre)
  12. D New Image Serenaders
  13. Del Caribe
  14. Dulzura Caliente
  15. El Sabor (St. Joseph, Maracas)
  16. Flores de San Jose
  17. Fuego Caribeño
  18. G. Sharp and Friends
  19. levantamientos Petrtrin
  20. La Casa Parranda (Princes Town)
  21. La Libertad
  22. La Divina Pastora
  23. La Estrella de Oriente
  24. La Familla Alegria
  25. La Familia de Camona y Amigos (Edinburgh Gardens Phase 3, Chaguanas)
  26. La Familia De Rio Claro
  27. La Familia De San Raphael (Gallon)
  28. La Finca Paranda
  29. La Ruseda de Agua (Diego Martin)
  30. La Sagrada Familia
  31. La Santa Familia
  32. La Santa Maria
  33. La Tropical
  34. Lara Brothers (Cantaro Village, Santa Cruz)
  35. Las Buenos Nuevas
  36. Las Estrellita de Oriente
  37. Lopinot Paranderos
  38. Los Alacranes from Paramin
  39. Los Alumnos de San Juan
  40. Los Amantes de Parranda
  41. Los Amigos Cantadores (Trincity)
  42. Los Amigos De Jesus (La Canoa, Santa Cruz)
  43. Los Buenos Paranderos (El Dorado)
  44. Los Caballeros
  45. Los Caneros
  46. Los Cantadores de Brazil
  47. Los Campaneros
  48. Los Cantos de Amor
  49. Los Hermanos Lara
  50. Los Muchachos del Agua
  51. Los Ninos de Santa Rosa
  52. Los Ninos del Mundo
  53. Los Originales (Diego Martin)
  54. Los Pajaros (Brampton, Ontario, Canada)
  55. Los Paramininos
  56. Los Paranderos Amigos
  57. Los Paranderos de UWI (UWI - St. Augustin)
  58. Los Pastores (Palo Seco)
  59. Los Pavitos
  60. Los Reyes1
  61. Los Tocadores
  62. Moments Parang Group
  63. Morella Montano and the Maraval Folk Choir
  64. Mucho Tempo
  65. Paramininos (Paramin Maraval)
  66. Petrotrin Levanta Miento
  67. Rancho Quernado
  68. Rebuscar
  69. Rio Suave Los Buenos Parranderos
  70. Sabor del Caribe (Enterprise, Chaguanas)
  71. San Jose Serenaders
  72. Sancouche (Point Fortin)
  73. Santa Rosa Serenaders
  74. St Augustine's Son del Sueno
  75. Sun Valley Parang Group
  76. Un Amor
  77. Unidad Serenaders (Mt Pleasant, Arima)
  78. Viva Nueva
  79. Voces Jovenes
Noted parang-soca artists include Scrunter, Crazy and Big B.

Origins and history

The details of the birth of parang are disputed. One theory is that parang has its origins in the music of Spanish or French Catholic monks, present in Trinidad during the Spanish colonial period. Another theory is that Venezuelans brought the first elements of parang with them when they migrated to Trinidad to work on cocoa farms in the early part of the nineteenth century. Also see Parranda
Parang flourished under the British rule from 1814. It absorbed elements of African and French creole and was influenced by the constant interaction between the people of Trinidad and those of Venezuela, where similar musical forms developed in parallel.
Parang remains an important element both of Trinidadian Christmas rituals and of the rituals of other islands and countries, including Grenada, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. Today, parang is especially vibrant in Trinidad & Tobago communities such as Paramin, Lopinot and Arima.
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