Popping Bubbels Part 2

Dutch youths in blackface for a Christmas celebration
Dutch youths in blackface for a Christmas celebration

It can’t be denied that the Netherlands has a fascination with the culture of the West Indies. The country’s Christmas folklore even incorporated a black character during a period contemporaneous with the country’s importation of black slaves to work the sugar fields of the Dutch Antilles. That practice eventually led to the existence of a significant diaspora of blacks in Holland from the Caribbean and Suriname, especially in parts of Amsterdam.

Googling for “bubbling” or the Dutch language’s own “bubbeling” yields not only the special brand of house that gave birth to moombahton, but also numerous examples of the unedited riddims found at dancehall/bashment reggae parties around the world.

If my theory is correct, it was the Dutch-Caribbean subculture’s version of these parties, where dancehall was first sped up from its modest double-digit tempos to the neighborhood of 110 bpm, giving us the machine gun drum fills characteristic of tracks released 20 years later in tracks like this:

Interestingly, the sound to which bubbeling tracks are most often compared when they are slowed back down also has its origins in a diaspora of Afro-Caribbeans. I’m speaking, of course, of reggaeton.

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