According to the history of Jamaica, the slaves from Africa brought over drums called "BURRU Â which were used in an arrangement called talking drums. These were used during Jonkanoo celebrations, which were a Christmas time activity; the planters encouraged these until they found out that the slaves were using their drums and conch shells to communicate with each other. By the turn of the century, Calypso from Trinidad and Tobago and Samba from Central America were introduced to the Jamaicans to form a new mix of music called Mento.
Mento was the popular music in Jamaica before ska, rocksteady and reggae. It was an established style in both rural and urban areas as early as the turn of the 20th century. Mento bands usually include one or more of the following: