Calypso music

From Academic Kids

Template:Genrebox Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music which originated in the British and French colonial islands of the Caribbean at about the start of the 20th century. It is an especially integral part of Trinidadian music. The roots of the genre lay in the arrival of African slaves, who, not being allowed to speak with each other, communicated through song. This forged a sense of community among the Africans, who saw their colonial masters change rapidly, bringing French, Spanish and British music styles to the island of Trinidad. The French brought Carnival to Trinidad, and calypso competitions at Carnival grew in popularity, especially after the abolition of slavery in 1830. While most authorities stress the African roots of calypso, in his 1986 book Calypso from France to Trinidad, 800 Years of History veteran calypsonian The Roaring Lion (Rafael de Leon) asserted that calypso descends from the music of the medieval French troubadours.

Over 100 years ago, calypso further evolved into a way of spreading news around Trinidad. Politicians, journalists, and public figures often debated the content of each song, and many islanders considered these songs the most reliable news source. Calypsonians pushed the boundaries of free speech as their lyrics spread news of any topic relevant to island life, including denouncing political corruption. Eventually British rule enforced censorship and police began to scan these songs for damaging content. Even with this censorship, calypsos continued to push boundaries.

The first calypso recordings came in 1914, and inaugurated the Golden Age of Calypso. By the 1920s, calypso tents were set up at Carnival for calypsonians to practice before competitions; these have now become showcases for new music.

The first major stars of calypso started crossing over to new audiences worldwide in the late 1930s. Attila the Hun, Roaring Lion and Lord Invader were first, followed by Lord Kitchener, one of the longest-lasting calypso stars in history -- he continued to release hit records until his death in 2001. 1944's Rum and Coca Cola by the Andrews Sisters, a cover of a Lord Invader song, became an American hit. The most well-known calypso song, however, was 1956's "Banana Boat Song" by Harry Belafonte, a Jamaican folk song, which was released on his album Calypso, the first record of any kind to sell more than a million copies. That same year saw the massive international hit Jean and Dinah by Mighty Sparrow. This song, which celebrated the increased availability of prostitutes following the closure of two of the three US military bases established in Trinidad during World War II, ushered in an age of politicized calypso allied with the People's National Movement.

References

  • Quevedo, Raymond (Atilla the Hun). 1983. Atilla's Kaiso: a short history of Trinidad calypso. University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad. (Includes the words to many old calypsos as well as musical scores for some of Atilla's calypsos.)
  • Hill, Donald R. 1993. Calypso: Early Carnival Music in Trinidad. University Press of Florida. (Includes a CD of early calypso music.)

See also

External links

de:Calypso (Musik) nl:Calypso (dans) no:Calypso pl:Calypso (muzyka)

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