Dancers dressed for a Caribbean carnival prepare to perform traditional moves. Photograph by Will Van Overbeek

Caribbean Music Releases

Here, Daisann McLane, a former calypso singer in Trinidad, offers her picks of the best releases.

The Harder They Come
The album that introduced the raw new sound of Jamaican reggae—Jimmy Cliff and others—to a worldwide audience.

Natty Dread
This album contains some of Bob Marley’s most memorable songs, including “No Woman, No Cry.”

Bachata Rosa
Singer-songwriter Juan Luis Guerra became an international star with this album, which fused contemporary pop styles with traditional music from the Dominican Republic.

Clasicos De La Provincia
Actor-turned-musician Carlos Vives started a new musical trend by modernizing the funky accordion folk style of vallenato from Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

Buena Vista Social Club
It was this new recording by Cuban musicians that opened the international floodgates for Cuban music.

Best of Los Van Van
The group has been called “The Beatles of Cuba” because it launched a musical revolution in the 1970s with a new style of dance music called songo.

—Daisann McLane

Traveler magazine columnist Daisann McLane writes the “Frugal Traveler” column for The New York Times.