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Rake-and-scrape is a genre of music native to the Bahamas. Its main instruments are associated with the Goombay drum, Accordion also known as a Concertina, and a Hand saw.


In 1886 an article in the Nassau Guardian mentions the usage of the Banjo, Drums, Concertina and other instruments during a celebration by Black Bahamians.[1][2] The Concertina is also referenced to be in use in Nassau by Black Bahamians by William Drysdale in his book "In sunny lands: out-door life in Nassau and Cuba pg 29" written in the early 1880s. William Drysdale writes "They were three of a kind as regards color, and their instruments were a concertina, a tambourine and a triangle".[3][4] The accordion was also mentioned by Louis Diston Powles on his visit to Long Cay in his book "The land of the pink pearl: recollection of life in the Bahamas" published in 1888. Powles writes "The music consisted of a fife, a large accordion and two tambourines".[5][6] The earliest found recorded usage of the Hand Saw in the Bahamas comes from a group called the "Fresh Creek Dance Band" from Andros, they were recorded in 1959.[7][8]

In 1969 Charles Carter visited Cat Island and saw them raking the saw while playing music and he said it was Rake and Scrape although he claims that the people were already calling it that.[9]

Goombay music which is the original term used for Rake and Scrape in the Bahamas dates back to the 19th century where there were many bands playing many instruments together creating various sounds of early Goombay music. These instruments included the Banjo, Drums, Fife, Tambourines, Guitar, Wash Tubs, and Harmonicas and possibly even the Hand saw in certain settlements. It wasn't until the mid 20th century that the use of the Accordion, Goombay Drums, and the hand saw became a constant playing style that is known as traditional Rake and Scrape, and the combination of these instruments used to produce this sound has without any doubt originated in the Bahamas.

Quote from Smithsonian Folkways recordings on the origin of Rake and scrape music in the Bahamas states "The rake and scrape band hails back to the 1800s, when the Africans who were brought to the Bahamas looked to make music on whatever was available to them: a carpenter's saw, pork barrels with goat or sheep skin to make a drum, and the accordion which might have been a gift from their colonial master."[10]



  • Come go with me (back to Bimini) - Stevie S
  • Welcome To Bahamas - Sharmond Smith
  • STAGGER LEE - Geno D
  • WE JAMMIN' - Geno D
  • Persevere - Phil Stubbs
  • Bus Driver - Qpid
  • Gimmie My Culture- Qpid


  1. ^ Rommen, Timothy (19 May 2011). Funky Nassau: Roots, Routes, and Representation in Bahamian Popular Music. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520265684 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Nassau Guardian December 29th 1886
  3. ^ Drysdale, William. "In sunny lands: out-door life in Nassau and Cuba". New York. hdl:2027/yale.39002030689013. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ "In sunny lands: out-door life in Nassau and Cuba pg 29" Williams Drysdale
  5. ^ Powles, Louis Diston (16 July 1888). "The land of the pink pearl;". London. hdl:2027/mdp.39015009054720. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ "The land of the pink pearl: recollection of life in the Bahamas" by Louis Diston Powles 1888 pg 297
  7. ^ "Smithsonian Folkways".
  8. ^ “Mama, Bake a Johnny Cake, Christmas Coming” by "Fresh Creek Dance Band" Smithsonian Folkways recordings 1959
  9. ^ "Music of The Bahamas - Rake 'n' Scrape". www.bahamasentertainers.com.
  10. ^ "Islands of Song: Music of the Bahamas - Smithsonian Folkways". Retrieved 16 July 2017.