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Thread: History of calypso - the hard facts!!

  1. #181
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    Nice Documentray that summaries how Calypso evolved to give birth to Soca!

    Soca Music History w/ Arrow, David Rudder, Machel Montano etc
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  2. #182
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    Below is an informative documentary about the evolution of Chutney Soca.

    The main critic I have of it is that they left out Lord Shorty's vital contribution to Chutney Soca's early life (for which he was initially condemned) and which he did long before the fusion became branded as Chutney Soca.
    I am not sure if the leaving out of Lord Shorty's contribution was done deliberately or if it was an oversight but I must point out that Lord Shorty first fused Calypso with East Indian music even before Sundar Popo did when he did his "Indian Singers" chutney calypso in 1966. Shorty then returned to the same Calypso and East Indian fusion more famously and successfully when he recorded "Indrani" in 1972 that was a big hit for the T&T 1973 Carnival season and the rest is history.

    Druptaee's contribution was more to do with the branding of the music as chutney-soca in 1987 and she also was one of the first artist to add tassa drumming to the chutney-soca mix.

    Chutney In Yuh Soca


    An arts documentary examining the phenomenon of "chutney soca", a musical hybrid from Trinidad & Tobago which blends the traditions of the islands' two biggest ethnic groups -- Indian and African. As much political as musical, "chutney soca" seems to offer a way for the two cultures, often perceived as being mutally antagonistic, to come together in a new exciting fusion of sounds.

    Directed by Karen Martinez
    21 mins
    Made for the Arts Council of Great Britain & Channel 4 TV (UK)
    .
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  3. #183
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    Jimmy Cliff in a momentary lapse of honesty in this Reggae documentary admits that Reggae developed from Calypso. I wonder how many Jamaicans are going to want to condemn Jimmy Cliff for admitting the truth?!

    Remember it is not Socapro saying it; it is the great pioneering reggae singer Jimmy Cliff saying it!

    Interestingly Lord Creator who is originally from San Fernando, Trinidad and who started his career as a Calypso & Jazz singer in Trinidad before moving to Jamaica in late 1959 during the West Indies Federation period is also featured in the documentary talking about his time working with the Ska-talites.

    Also possibly due to the brief space given to rock steady in the documentary, they failed to mention that the majority of rock steady hit recordings made between 1965 and 1968 featured and were arranged by Nerlynn Taitt who practically lived in Duke Reid's Treasure Isle and other top Jamaican studios as an arranger and session musician. Go here Evolution of Jamaican Reggae and the Trini Contribution (Interesting facts) for more details.

    Reggae The Story Of Jamaican Music BBC Documentary

    Go to 15:00 in the documentary to hear Jimmy Cliff tell you that Reggae evolved from Calypso

    The Mighty Sparrow also pointed out the same in this Documentary!

    Mighty Sparrow - Calypso as Mother music

    Go to 4:50 to hear Sparrow confirm what Jimmy Cliff said about Reggae evolving from Calypso

    Clip from Calypso King of the World documentary...Sparrow comments on his early years in NewYork, Harry Belafonte and Reggae music.
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  4. #184
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    Valentine Calypsos Of The 1930s


    Listen to Sir Galba, Atilla The Hun & Roaring Lion as they share their Valentine sentiments back in the late 1930s.

    RLF is not 100% sure that Sir Galba is the singer of the calypso "The Glutton". If anyone believes that its another singer kindly inform us.

    Thanks RLF
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  5. #185
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    When Harry Met Calypso
    By BC Pires (T&T Guardian)
    Published: Saturday, February 21, 2015


    The Calypso Craze boxed set

    Nearly 60 years before Bunji Garlin and Nigel Rojas’ Differentology got a half-minute play on the intro to an American TV show, Trinidad’s indigenous music completely dominated American pop music for half a year.

    Between late 1956 and mid-1957, calypso mushroomed so huge in the US that nightclubs refitted themselves overnight as “calypso rooms” with limbo floorshows, legendary American singer Ella Fitzgerald covered a kaiso, three feature-length calypso movies were rushed into production in Hollywood and advertising copy for cosmetics was copied from the lyrics and written to the tune of Lord Invader’s Rum and Coca-Cola. (“From down in the land of the sun and sea/ Comes your new fashion personality/ A new lipstick shade of happy cha-rac-ter/ Hi-Fi Calypso Beat by Max Factor.”) Indeed, the first million-selling LP in the United States was not a rock-and-roll record, as most people might reasonably assume, but Harry Belafonte’s 1956 album, Calypso.

    That insane little period—the Calypso Craze—has now been preserved in the best modern way any old music can be: as a Bear Family boxed set, curated—it is the right word—by the Alaskan-by-birth, Trini-by-adoption musicologist, Ray Funk.

    Bear Family, the world-respected German record label, last caught Trinidadian attention in 2007 with D!ck Spottswood and John Cowley’s labour of love, the ten-CD boxed set West Indian Rhythm (pre-WWII recordings by Attila the Hun, King Radio, the Roaring Lion and the Lords Executor, Caresser and Invader, amongst others).

    Anyone who bought West Indian Rhythm knew two things, the first, instantly, the other, discovered over many hours: first, at TT $2,000, it was expensive; and, second, it was worth it—and not just because in an age of hideous mass-produced tat it was a singular thing of real and valuable beauty; no, amortised over the ten hours it took to listen to West Indian Rhythm and the same amount of time, or longer, it took to read the inch-thick, LP-sized accompanying book, the person enjoying the experience was transported back in time to the calypso tents of old Port-of-Spain, hearing and “seeing,” eg, Lord Beginner sing Run Yuh Run, Hitler.

    Calypso Craze could well be better; and, at TT$1,450 for six CDs and a DVD, it is certainly cheaper! For whatever it’s worth, the writing in Calypso Craze’s hefty, 157-page book (by Ray Funk and Michael Edlrige) is impossible to shorten—the surest sign of good writing anywhere outside of William Faulkner, Marcel Proust and James Joyce. Every page is crammed with practitioner-textbook levels of information, every word of it read and digested as easily as a newspaper weekend supplement.

    The book is jammed with photographs and reproductions of memorabilia of the time, almost all from the personal collection of Ray Funk. Magazine covers, mail order clothing catalogues, concert tickets, record labels, party fliers, the Max Factor lipstick advertisement quoted above and more bring 1950 America to life in the reader’s hands. (The boxed set cover is a reprint of the menu of the then Calypso Restaurant in New York City’s Greenwich Village.) Calypso Craze also deepens and widens its visual dimension by adding moving pictures in a DVD.

    As good as the words and pictures are, though, the boxed set would not be much good if the music wasn’t.

    The “weakest” disc—disc two, The Reluctant Calypso King—collects 27 of Harry Belafonte’s best songs, starting with his cover of Man Smart, Woman Smarter and running through staples like The Banana Boat Song (Day-O) and Islands in the Sun before its crescendo in a five-minute-long, Ralph McDonald-arranged version of Lord Invader’s Don’t Stop the Carnival.

    And that’s the “weakest” disc!

    Along with that deserved focus on the man who, at the time, represented calypso in America and the world, the musical story of the Calypso Craze is comprehensively told in the five other CDs. The entire collection begins with the Lion’s original Ugly Woman (in which he dispensed the famously misogynistic advice to men that, if they wanted to be happy in life, they should make an ugly woman their wife) and ending, some 173 tracks later, with Jimmy Soul’s pop cover of the same song (titled, If You Wanna Be Happy).

    Disc one, Calypso Comes to America, includes songs performed in Trinidad by Attila the Hun, Lion, Caresser and Invader as well as genuine calypsoes that hit big in the USA, the most famous of which was the Andrews Sisters/Morey Amsterdam barefaced theft of Rum and Coca-Cola, and the ersatz Brill Building/Tin Pan Alley copies like Sing a Tropical Song, which ensured the Calypso Craze would ultimately crash.

    Importantly, the disc includes recordings by the best known Trinidadian or West Indian calypsonians in the US, such as Sir Lancelot and the Duke of Iron, as well as “calypsoes” done by huge American stars of the time like Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt and Nat “King” Cole. (Disc one contains, in Guests of Rudy Valee by Lion and Attila, the only track also on West Indian Rhythm.)

    Disc three, Calypso Is Everywhere, might be the most impressive single disc of the boxed set, even if there are more fake calypsoes on it than real ones. In 31 musical tracks and one dreadful road safety campaign jingle (with Julie Conway’s terribly-faked Trini “ahk-sent”), Funk shows that the music of Trinidad was so pervasive, it drove country and western stars as big as Hank Snow into imitating it. Whatever musical weaknesses there might be elsewhere on disc three, it opens and closes with stunning recordings, the Tarriers’ haunting, definitive version of Day-O (itself introduced by a couplet from an old Maroon song) and many people’s favourite jazz tenor saxophonist, Sonny Rollins’ interpretation of Don’t Stop the Carnival.

    Discs four; Calypso Goes to the Movies, Broadway, Television and More, and six; Calypso Goes Global, cover the ground their titles suggest, and include gems like Mama ist aus Kuba, which translates from the German as, Mama Look a Booboo Dey, the famous American actor Robert Mitchum’s cover of Jean and Dinah and the even more famous Maya Angelou—yes, the Maya Angelou—singing Run Joe and (Shame &) Scandal in the Family. (Maya Angelou’s reinvention of herself as a writer and poet was not the most stunning for a calypsonian of the Calypso Craze: that honour goes to the Charmer, represented, on disc one, with Is She Is, Or Is She Ain’t?, a ditty about a male transsexual; the Charmer would emerge from his calypso cocoon as Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam!)

    Perhaps the most impressive musical disc, though, is number five, Calypso Across the Pond, which collects songs recorded in England. Lord Kitchener’s Keeetch (Small Comb) alone would have justified the whole disc but it also features several others of his best songs, including Kitch’s Bebop Calypso (which pointed towards future inventive crossover compositions like Sugar Bum Bum and Bees Melody) and London is the Place for Me (last heard on the big screen in the soundtrack to the film, Paddington).

    Disc five also features Lord Beginner’s Victory Test Match (Ramdhin and Valentine); the Mighty Terror’s Chinese Children; the most famous Trinidadian musician nobody in Trinidad knows, Edmundo Ros; and Gossip Calypso by Bernard Cribbins, which came in equal parts from the West Indies and London’s East End.

    But it might be the DVD that really lifts Calypso Craze into a must-have, even with a four-figure price tag. The movie itself—Calypso Joe—might make Adam Sandler or Ed Wood cringe. Low budget, with a clichéd romantic comedy storyline, it’s far less interesting than any of the four videos included to fill out the DVD (which include precious footage of Beryl McBurnie dancing in the USA as La Belle Rosette). The movie’s real worth comes in the dozen or so live musical performances strung together by its weak plot—particularly the four of them featuring Lord Flea of Jamaica, which by themselves redeem Calypso Joe in toto.

    Look past Lord Flea in the straw hat and colourful shirt that became the calypsonian’s obligatory costume after its adoption by Madison Avenue and you see the first West Indian superstar, the forerunner of everyone from Jimmy Cliff to Rihanna; and the thing that makes Caribbean music in all its forms so easy to embrace: exuberance married to musicianship and delivered with showmanship; if we could bat now like Lord Flea performed half-a-century ago, the West Indies cricket team might be holding up the World Cup in a couple o’ weeks, instead of looking for their boarding passes today.

    Calypso Craze is available from Paper Based, The Normandie, St Ann’s.
    Catch me as Soca PhD Every Saturday 2-4pm GMT
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    Hailing from Trinidad & Tobago and very proud of it!!
    Land of Calypso, Steelband, Limbo, Parang, Rapso, Chutney-Soca, Soca, Jamoo, Panjazz and the Biggest, Best & Most Influential Caribbean Carnival in the World with no apology!
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  6. #186
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    Just thought I would post this well researched article I found to this old educational thread I created a while back.

    Gros Jean, The First Calypsonian
    Angelo Bissessarsingh (T&T Guardian)
    Published: Sunday, February 3, 2013


    Artist’s impression of Gros Jean. IMAGE COURTESY RUDOLPH BISSESSARSINGH

    Kaiso is said to be a Yoruba word meaning “bravo.” It comes from the ancient West African tradition of the griot, who combined poetry, recounting of fables, social commentary and music into one form of expression. The earliest record of a kaisonian (or chantuelle in the period lingo) is Gros Jean.

    He was a plantation slave in the very early 19th Century in Diego Martin, owned by the powerful and wily Frenchman St Hilaire Begorrat, who had settled in the area during the Cedula of Population of 1783. Begorrat was one of the most fanciful characters of the post-Spanish era, since he was supposed to be a slave smuggler (the slave trade was abolished in 1807), with a hiding place near the North Post, still called Begorrat’s Cave.

    He was also a confidant of the brutal governor, Sir Thomas Picton. Once, when asked why he kept close to such a man as Begorrat (whose reputation was already known across the West Indies) Picton said, “He knows that I will hang him forthwith if he fails me.” Begorrat lived in a large wooden mansion situated atop a mountain overlooking the Diego Martin valley.

    The driveway was so steep that a team of horses was kept at ready when visitors’ carriages needed extra animals to reach the house. Begorrat, called Le Diable (the devil) by peers and inferiors, was something of a wit. His favourite slave, Gros Jean, had the talent of being a master extemporaneous composer, and could sing in French as well as strum a guitar.

    Naturally, Begorrat was a man with many antagonists. When he wanted to inflict embarrassment on any one of them, he would hold a large cocktail or dinner party at his home, which, notwithstanding his reputation, was always attended by the cream of Trinidad’s class-conscious society.

    Begorrat was a man with many informants in low places, and before the ball would gather sensitive information on the intended victim, relating to sexual indiscretions, debts, family secrets etc. He would pass on these titbits to Gros Jean. On the night of the ball, Begorrat would announce that live entertainment from his chantuelle would be on the cards.

    The latter would be summoned, decked out in garish finery, to deliver his patois composition, which would leave little to the imagination, being both risqué and rife with suggestive lyrics. The victim would be socially disgraced, although not named outright, and all others made aware that Begorrat held their reputations in his hand. The social rumour mill, then as now, had everyone’s business “in de road.”

    Gros Jean died around 1820 and was interred by the grief-stricken Begorrat in his private family cemetery, which was on the corner of what is now Covigne Road and Richardson Street in Diego Martin. The corpse was wrapped in red cloth and the mouth filled with rum before being buried. The formidable Begorrat himself passed quietly many years later, in 1850.
    Catch me as Soca PhD Every Saturday 2-4pm GMT
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    Hailing from Trinidad & Tobago and very proud of it!!
    Land of Calypso, Steelband, Limbo, Parang, Rapso, Chutney-Soca, Soca, Jamoo, Panjazz and the Biggest, Best & Most Influential Caribbean Carnival in the World with no apology!
    Together We Aspire & Together We Achieve!!

  7. #187
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    More Calypso history related to Gros Jean.

    Begorrat
    The Man from Diego Martin

    By Paria Publishing Co Ltd
    GERARD A. BESSON, Wednesday, 17 August 2011


    Smuggler, politician and a lover of early calypso - the life story a typical Diego Martin planter of the 18th century

    St. Hilaire, born in St. Pierre in Martinique in 1759, was the grandson of the treasurer of La Rochelle, an important port of France. Pierre, his father, had emigrated to Martinique as a teenager, and set himself up as a merchant in the then capital of that island, St. Pierre. His business flourished, and when St. Hilaire came of age, he was sent back to La Rochelle, where he became an engineer.

    It was an interesting time to grow up in. St. Hilaire doubtlessly must have been impressed with the pre-revolutionary sentiments of ‘Liberté, Fraternité et Egalité’ (freedom, brotherhood and equality). As a young non-noble, educated Frenchman he could empathise with the values of the dawning French Revolution. Also, the English colonies in North America revolted, resulting in the declaration of independence of the United States in 1783. The highly democratic nature of the newly created U.S.A. must have further strengthened the anti-monarchist feelings of the young man.

    In 1782, after his return to Martinique, St. Hilaire’s mother Anne had died, and since his older brother Pierre was old enough to take over the business in St. Pierre, 24-year old St. Hilaire decided to migrate to Trinidad with his father. The ‘Cedula of Population’ had opened up a range of possibilities to Roman-Catholic settlers in the almost entirely undeveloped island, and the Begorrats senior and junior saw a future in commerce and trade there.

    And what better to sell to new land-owners than plants? St. Hilaire’s native Martinique had been enjoying a thriving sugar economy for decades, and the young man saw that this was a business opportunity in Trinidad, where only the low-yielding violet cane was grown so far.

    “The yellow sugar cane came from Tahiti, and was introduced into the French islands by the celebrated navigator Bougainville. It was brought from Martinique to Trinidad by St. Hilaire Begorrat in 1782, together with the breadfruit tree, also originating in Tahiti, and the bamboo of Bourbon.” (P.G.L. Borde, 1876)

    Trinidad in those years was inhabited by about 6,000 people, a third of whom lived in the newly appointed capital, Port-of-Spain (before 1780, the governor had resided in St. Joseph). Cotton was the major crop of the island in the 1780s, but also some cocoa and coffee. The Begorrats traded in the commodity, living in Port-of-Spain, where they rented business premises. Most likely, St. Hilaire was also a smuggler: in those years, this was not a stigmatised activity. Trinidad’s merchants were all semi-official ‘contrabandistas’ - allegedly with the silent consent by the colony’s treasurer, Don Christoval de Robles. Begorrat had a friend whose brother owned sailing vessels involved in the trade with Venezuela, and a brother with a commercial firm in Martinique - ideal conditions for contraband importation of French luxury items to the South American mainland. Towards the end of the 1780s, however, a coast patrol was established by the Intendant at Caracas, and the smugglers were deterred.

    28 year-old St. Hilaire got married to Marie Eléonore Catharine Olivier, whose parents were French Creoles from Grenada. Together with Marie’s brother Mathurin, he purchased 128 acres of land in the forest-covered valley of Diego Martin in May 1787. The estate was called ‘Mon Désir’, and in addition to this land, Begorrat also petitioned an allotment of 358 acres of land to himself and his family.

    “The size of the grant was determined by the terms of the Cedula,’ writes de Verteuil in his ‘History of Diego Martin’. “The personal entitlement for a white male or female was ten quarrees of land (a quarree being three and one fifth acres) and an additional five quarrees for each slave brought into the colony. Begorrat would have thus obtained for himself, his father and his wife, some 96 acres and another fifteen acres for each slave, so that we may conclude pretty safely that at that time he had eighteen slaves.”

    The Begorrats left Port-of-Spain and began to prepare the virgin rainforest of Diego Martin for a coffee plantation. Their slaves pulled down the large forest trees, burnt the stubs, removed shrubs and weeds from the soil. An estate house and living quarters for the slaves had to be built. The spot that St. Hilaire chose for his house had a magnificient view to all four sides, encompassing the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Paria and the valley of Diego Martin. The limestone hilltop was pitted with caves, and one such cave served as the cellar of the Begorrat residence, called ‘Les Etages’ - and was also infamous for being used as a dungeon for slaves in punishment.

    Initially, the republican-minded Begorrat was a slave-owner of the kinder sort, manumitting Africans for good services rendered. This was to change, however, after he fell victim to an attempted murder through poisoning. Livestock, fellow slaves, the plantation owners and their family, even plants - nobody was safe on a plantation if a murderous person dwelled amongst its inhabitants. For the slaves, poisoning was a method of resistance against an inhuman system. It was much feared by Europeans and Africans alike, since even if one escaped death, a financial crisis and more hard work for all was always the consequence, while the poisoner often remained protected by anonymity for a long time.

    After the capture of Trinidad by the British in 1797, St. Hilaire became a capitulant, swearing allegiance to the King of Great Britain. Nevertheless, he started to group men around himself who were like him fed up with the system of monarchy. These revolutionaries later became involved in Bolivar’s wars of independence on the South American mainland. When the first British governor, Sir Thomas Picton, who assumed office in Trinidad in 1797, heard of St. Hilaire’s activities, he immediately questioned the man from Diego Martin. Begorrat refuted the accusations upon his dignity as a gentleman and capitulant, and Picton and himself were to become great friends.

    St. Hilaire became intricately involved in local governance, mainly via his office in the Illustrious Cabildo. Thus, he was able to work against the cases of poisoning on the estate. Picton was a strict governor who had executions carried out in a most abhorrent manner: future poisoners and murderers should be deterred, and possible slave uprisings quelled.

    Apart from his involvement in politics, St. Hilaire became removed from the urban society in Port-of-Spain.

    “In the isolated valley he found for his entertainment and that of his friends, the African Caribbean culture which had possibly some connection with Martinique and which was couched in patois. On Sundays or feast days he sat as king, ‘le roi’, in his cave and had his chantwell or chief calypso singer sing to the assembled company. And the songs which pleased St. Hilaire most were the ones which spread fear of him far and wide in the valley.” writes de Verteuil. For example:

    “Begorrat et Diabl’la, c’est un
    Begorrat et Diabl’la, c’est deux
    Begorrat fort, cruel et mauvais
    Begorrat roi-la dans son pays.”

    Begorrat and the Devil are one
    Begorrat and the Devil are a pair
    Begorrat strong, cruel and wicked
    Begorrat king in his country.

    “Danois, Danois
    Danois vole Begorrat laja
    Danois vole tout moun - Dieg Martin.”

    Danois steals Begorrat’s money
    Danois steals from everyone in Diego Martin.

    (Papa Cochon)

    St. Hilaire established himself firmly on the scene of early calypso. As Mitto Sampson, a writer and keeper of many 19th century calypso legends, described:

    “Legend has it that Lawa (King) Begorrat used to hold court in his cave, to which he would adjourn with favourite slaves and guests on occasions and attended was by African slave singers of ‘Cariso’ or ‘Caiso’, which were usually sung extemporare and were of a flattering nature, or satirical ordirected against unpopular neighbours or members of the plantation community, or else they were ‘Mepris’, a term given to a war of insults between two or more expert singers. Gros Jean is said to have the first of these bards or ‘chantwels’ to be appointed Master of Caiso, or ‘Mait Caiso’.”

    Legend has it that the choleric Begorrat wanted to be known as a pitiless tyrant. Legend also has it that Begorrat and Gros Jean became such inseparable friends that the former’s wives (in truth, he had only one, Marie Eleonore) poisoned the ‘Mait Caiso’ out of jealousy. Gros Jean is said to have been mourned by Begorrat, who buried him in the family cemetary.

    When St. Hilaire died in 1851 at the great age of 92, he would have known and enjoyed many calypsonians: Papa Cochon, the famous obeahman, Danois, a free man from the Danish Virgin Islands, Possum, Hannibal the Mulatto, Surisima the Carib, and Cedric le Blanc, a white chantwell. Forgotten were Begorrat’s tempers, his power and influence, and he was buried in the family cemetary alongside his wife, who had died of fever many years before. However, he was to literally turn up once more:

    “Over one hundred years later, at the corner of the present Covigne Road and O’Donohue Streets in Diego Martin Village, foundations of a house were being excavated.” writes de Verteuil. “A workman’s pick struck something hard. It was a lead coffin. Within there were only the very ancient remains of a white lady, still in a state of half preservation. Shortly after the coffin was opened, to the utter consternation of the beholders, her skin turned black. Other bones were dug up from besides the lead coffin, but scant respect was paid to them. Begorrat’s bones were scattered in the valley he loved.”
    Catch me as Soca PhD Every Saturday 2-4pm GMT
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  8. #188
    Repect Our Soca Pioneers Socapro's Avatar Socapro is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lappo View Post
    i want to know who/whom created calypso, i need names.
    Lappo asked above question in VP's AfroSoca thread so I have bumped this thread for his benefit.

    To summarize, Calypso was created and developed by mainly Africans based in Trinidad between the late 18th century and the mid 20th century which covers a period of at least 150 years. The first documented Master of Calypso was an African slave by the name of Gros Jean who was owned by French plantation owner St Hilaire Begorrat who owned an estate in the Diego Martin valley in North Trinidad.

    So basically no one person created Calypso but most of its development happened in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and this fact has been well documented not just by Trinibagonians but also by European outsiders and settlers who were documenting our Caribbean islands histories from their perspective even before we started to formerly record our own properly researched accounts.
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  9. #189
    Repect Our Soca Pioneers Socapro's Avatar Socapro is offline
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    Just for Imix folks information, here are some important facts about Trinidad Calypso and Trinidad Carnival that I've compiled from some of the very informative articles already posted to this thread:-

    1. The Calypso artform is believed to have started in Trinidad in the late 18th century with the first ‘Mait Caiso’ or 'Master of Calypso' being an African slave called Gros Jean (born between the late 1770's and early 1780's and died around 1820) who was owned by French-Creole plantation owner St Hilaire Begorrat who owned an estate in the Diego Martin valley in North Trinidad. Legend has it that Begorrat and Gros Jean became such inseparable friends that Begorrat’s wife (Marie Eleonore) poisoned Gros Jean the ‘Mait Caiso’ out of jealousy. Gros Jean is said to have been mourned by Begorrat, who buried him in the family cemetary.

    2. Calypso was created and developed by mainly Africans based in Trinidad between the late 18th century and the mid 20th century which covers a period of at least 150 years. So basically no one person created Calypso but most of its development happened in the Caribbean island of Trinidad during that 150 year period.

    3. The first white Calypsonian (or Chantwell as they were called in the 1800's) was a Trini French-Creole by the calypso name of Cedric Le Blanc. His existence is proof that the calypso artform was not only appreciated and practiced by African slaves in Trinidad where it was developed and first became popular but calypso was also appreciated and practiced very early in its history by folks from other ethnic backgrounds in Trinidad.

    4. During the 1800's most Calypsonians were lead singers for the various Carnival mas bands on the road on Carnival days and were generally referred to as Chantwells.

    5. Before the Abolition of Slavery in 1834, the annual Trinidad Carnival was more of a genteel aristocratic affair dominated by the colonial European plantation owners and their families.

    6. After 1834 when the attempted Slave Apprenticeships system was successfully resisted in Trinidad (which is 4 years ahead of Slave Apprenticeships being ended in the other English ruled Caribbean islands in 1838), the annual Trinidad Carnival was transformed by the freed slaves to a popular African-dominated festival, including Canboulay celebrations being joined with masquerade costumed bands.

    7. Before the year 1900 in Trinidad, Calypso was referred to by a number of names like 'Kaiso', ‘Cariso’ and ‘Caiso’. Tunes that were designed for the road on Carnival days were generally referred to as 'Kalindas' just after the Abolition of Slavery. Kalindas evolved from the popular music style used to accompany and spur on stick-fighters. In fact many early Calypsonians or Chantwells were also stick-fighters which explains why the kalinda style became a popular Calypso style on the road. Later in the 1800's popular Carnival road tunes started to be referred to as 'Leggos' and 'Breakaways'.

    8. In Trinidad the term Calypso first came into popular use in the year 1900 and was initially spelled 'Calipso'.

    9. Most Calypsos were sung in Trini French-Creole during the 19th century and were not sung in 100% Trini English-Creole until the early 1900's when Calypsos started to be recorded on vinyl for radio airplay and for the consumption of English speaking American and British international audiences.

    10. Trinidad Calypso was one of the first Caribbean music genres to be recorded on vinyl in 1912 and was also one of the first music genres to be recorded in stereo in the 1930's when stereo recording technology was first introduced. The first vocal calypso was recorded in 1914.

    11. The 1930's to the 1950's which is viewed as the "Golden Age of Calypso" was a period during which Calypso music went international and most of the Trinidad calypso pioneers toured the other Caribbean islands and further afield. It was also during this period that most of the other English speaking Caribbean islands helped by the influence of Trinidad's calypso pioneers started to adopt Calypso as their main or most influential music expression on their islands mainly for commercial reasons in addition for their appreciation of the wit and highly informative tradition of the calypso artform.

    12. Fast forward to the 21st century and we have a lot of insular and jealous folks here on Imix who doubt all the independent well documented research on the history of calypso and who try to argue that its creation and development has nothing to do with Trinidad. However here is the legendary Calypso Pioneer Roaring Lion in a 1993 interview telling us about some of his early pioneering work spreading calypso thru the other Caribbean territories from the 1930's onwards.

    ROARING LION "Interview" (1993)


    Roaring Lion, Kitchener and Sparrow engage in a musical discussion about Calypso (late 1980's)


    Roaring Lion - Trinidad, The Land of Calypso (1951)


    Lion wrote above song and sang it in the late 1940's as a response to the perennial question as to where Calypso originated. He recorded it in the early 1950's (1951 to be exact) in London. We will not attempt to deal with the question of origin here but there is no shortage as to where people say Calypso comes from. Despite the academic debate Lion concluded in above Calypso that it was and is Trinidadian, not African not French not South American and definitely not Bajan.

    Calypso was born within the Calaloo of cultures that are found in Trinidad and this mix has created our unique folk song, a genre which took the world by storm during the 1940's & 50's culminating with Harry Belafonte. This Folk song has become a part of our national identity. Kindly try and define T&T without using the words Calypso, Pan & Carnival.

    Above video and its channel are for educational purposes only. All the pictures and song belong to their respective owners. For more info check out the website: http://roaringlioncalypso.org
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  10. #190
    Repect Our Soca Pioneers Socapro's Avatar Socapro is offline
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    Calypso is the soul of Trinidad ...here Holly Betaudier and Professor Gordon Rohlehr comment on Kaiso origins...from Calypso at Dirty Jim's.

    Holly also talks about the first 'Master of Calypso' an African slave called Gros Jean and also about another first era calypsonian called Congo Barra who was imprisoned for singing Calypsos demanding better conditions for African slaves.

    Calypso Roots



    Holly Betaudier coment on Chantwell singers in carnival bands, the Mighty Bomber and Sparrow on their start in the Calypso Tent...from Calypso at Dirty Jim's.

    Calypso Tents
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  11. #191
    Repect Our Soca Pioneers Socapro's Avatar Socapro is offline
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    The Grand Master talks about how he started out in Calypso in the early 1940's with his first calypso composition called "Green Fig".

    Interview with the Grand Master part 1


    Continuation of interview from 1992 Calypso Showcase on TTT. Here Kitch reflects on some of his hits including "Sugar Bum Bum".

    Interview with the Grand Master Lord Kitchener. Part 2


    Continuation of interview from 1992 Calypso Showcase on TTT. Here Kitch reflects on some of his hits and introduces or to use his words "exposes" The Bees Melody.

    Interview with the Grand Master Lord Kitchener. Part 3


    Continuation of interview from 1992 Calypso Showcase on TTT. Here Black Stalin talks of his relationship with Kitch.

    Interview with the Grand Master Lord Kitchener. Part 4


    Conclusion of the interview from 1992 Calypso Showcase on TTT. Here Kitch makes some closing remarks.

    Interview with the Grand Master Lord Kitchener. Part 5
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  12. #192
    Repect Our Soca Pioneers Socapro's Avatar Socapro is offline
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    History of how Sparrow started out singing Calypso and how he came to compose Jean & Dinah.

    Mighty Sparrow - Changing the Course of Calypso


    Clip from Calypso King of the World documentary...Sparrow comments on his relationship with Dr. Eric Williams.

    Mighty Sparrow - Calypso Trade Unionist


    Clip from Calypso King of the World documentary...Sparrow comments on his early years in NewYork, Harry Belafonte and Reggae music.

    Mighty Sparrow - Calypso as Mother music.
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  13. #193
    Repect Our Soca Pioneers Socapro's Avatar Socapro is offline
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    I almost forgot to post to this educational thread in Calypso History Month. Glad I remembered before October Calypso History Month is over.

    Now here goes.... here is some educational information on some of the experiments that happened in Calypso music before Soca was eventually invented.

    Before Soca was introduced by Lord Shorty in the early 1970's, top Calypso artists like Lord Kitchener, Lord Melody and Mighty Sparrow all experimented with fusing emerging popular American music styles with Calypso. For example here is Kitchener with a Rock & Roll Calypso hit from the mid 1950's.
    This trendy Lord Kitchener track was recorded near the end of Calypso's "Golden Age" and even before Jamaican Ska was invented in the early 1960's.

    Lord Kitchener - Rock N Roll Calypso (Mid 1950's)



    Lord Melody was mentored by Lord Kitchener in the early part of his calypso career. Here is Lord Melody with another Rock & Roll Calypso hit from the mid 1950's. This hit was first recorded by Melody in 1956. Around this time Lord Melody was riding high on his international hit "Boo Boo Man" and had already won the T&T National Calypso King title on 3 occasions in 1949, 1951 and 1954.
    Lord Melody also mentored the Mighty Sparrow who had just won his very first national crown and Road March titles with "Jean & Dinah" to become the 1956 T&T National Calypso King and Road March King.

    Lord Melody - Rock And Roll Calypso (1956)



    And here is Mighty Sparrow with a Calypso Twist hit from the early 1960's. Sparrow was strongly influenced by Lord Melody in the early part of his career. This track was recorded around the same time that Ska (which was strongly influenced by Calypso and Jazz) was invented in Jamaica. Ska evolved into rock steady by the mid 1960's which in turn evolved into reggae by the end of the 1960's.

    Mighty Sparrow - Calypso Twist (1963/64)



    Lord Shorty was strongly influenced by the Mighty Sparrow in the early part of his career. Here is Lord Shorty with an early experimental Soca track with a soulful feel recorded in 1972 called "Soul Calypso Music". By the end of the 1960's the rock & roll craze in America had given way to r&b, soul and funk and the impact of soul and funk music from America was also being felt strongly in T&T and the rest of the Caribbean. In addition in Trinidad, East Indian music was also starting to have a local impact.
    Shorty invented Soca in an effort to make Calypso more attractive to the younger generation in T&T who were turning away from calypso in mass by the early 1970's towards the emerging more popular and trendy Soul music from America and Reggae music from Jamaica. Soca music was also envisioned by Shorty as a way to rhythmically unite the Africans and the East Indians who were the two largest ethnic groups in T&T.

    Lord Shorty - Soul Calypso Music (from album "Gone Gone Gone" Mid 1972)

    • Arranged by Garfield Blackman and Ralph Moore

    And here is another early experimental Soca track from Lord Shorty but this time with a strong East Indian influence. Its his big 1973 Carnival hit called "Indrani" recorded in late 1972.
    Shorty originally composed "Indrani" in 1971 with the intention of releasing it for T&T 1972 Carnival but held back recording it until late 1972 due to the polio epidemic in Trinidad that led to T&T 1972 Carnival being postponed. Shorty also wanted to ensure that he was able to organise and use genuine East Indian instruments and musicians on this special fusion calypso track and was able to do so in his new capacity as record producer and label owner.

    Lord Shorty - Indrani (recorded late 1972)


    And here is Shorty with a traditional calypso track that was featured on the flip side of his "Indrani" single in which he lamented the lack of airplay and appreciation for Calypso in T&T at that time which is what spurred him on to try to improve Calypso and make it more attractive to the younger generation. Its obvious from the lyrics in this song that the lack of radio airplay of traditional Calypso after Carnival in the early 1970's was weighing heavily on Shorty's mind.

    Lord Shorty - Calypso Is Ours (recorded late 1972)


    Shorty invented Soca in an effort to make Calypso more attractive to the younger generation in T&T who were turning away from calypso in mass by the early 1970's towards the emerging more trendy Soul from America and Reggae from Jamaica. Soca music was also envisioned by Shorty as a way to rhythmically unite the Africans and East Indians who were the two largest ethnic groups in T&T.

    It is interesting to note that Ska which was strongly influenced by Calypso and Jazz, evolved into rock steady by the mid 1960's with the help of top arrangers and musicians like Trinidadian Lynn Taitt who formed and led The Jets in Jamaica after moving there in 1962 to perform for Jamaica independence.
    Rock steady then evolved into reggae by the late 1960's soon after Lynn Taitt left Jamaica for Toronto, Canada in August 1968.

    Reggae which together with Soul and East Indian rhythms helped to inspire the birth of Soca in Trinidad in the early 1970's was in turn influenced rhythmically and speed wise by Soca and other popular music genres during the 1980's which led to birth of the popular reggae offshoot called Dancehall by the mid to late 1980's. Ragga and Bashment are updated 1990's and 2000's labels respectively for Jamaican Dancehall.

    It is also interesting to note that Soca which is rhythmically a fusion of Calypso and East Indian rhythms was also regularly fused with a variety of trendy music styles soon after its birth in the early 1970's that include soul, funk, disco, high-life, Afrobeat, Latin, Cadence, Gospel, etc. Soca in this regard has always been a fusion music genre but coming from a Trinbagonian and Southern Caribbean perspective.

    Bouyon music which evolved in Dominica in the early 1990's is similarly fusion music just like 1970's Trinbagonian Soca and 1980's Jamaican Dancehall but this time coming from a Dominican and French Caribbean perspective.

    If we view it from a timeline basis, Calypso could be viewed as the first true fusion music of the Caribbean since it effortlessly fuses African music elements with Amerindian and Latin (mainly Spanish and French) and English (mainly American jazz) music elements. In fact most of the popular thriving music genres have influenced and borrowed elements from each other over the years. This fusion and borrowing aspect is mainly what keeps them alive, trendy and interesting.
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  14. #194
    JA Soca Ambassador socapineman is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Socapro View Post
    Jimmy Cliff in a momentary lapse of honesty in this Reggae documentary admits that Reggae developed from Calypso.I wonder how many Jamaicans are going to want to condemn Jimmy Cliff for admitting the truth?!
    [/COLOR][/COLOR]
    Remember it is not Socapro saying it; it is the great pioneering reggae singer Jimmy Cliff saying it!

    Interestingly Lord Creator who is originally from San Fernando, Trinidad and who started his career as a Calypso & Jazz singer in Trinidad before moving to Jamaica in late 1959 during the West Indies Federation period is also featured in the documentary talking about his time working with the Ska-talites.

    Also possibly due to the brief space given to rock steady in the documentary, they failed to mention that the majority of rock steady hit recordings made between 1965 and 1968 featured and were arranged by Nerlynn Taitt who practically lived in Duke Reid's Treasure Isle and other top Jamaican studios as an arranger and session musician. Go here Evolution of Jamaican Reggae and the Trini Contribution (Interesting facts) for more details.

    Reggae The Story Of Jamaican Music BBC Documentary

    Go to 15:00 in the documentary to hear Jimmy Cliff tell you that Reggae evolved from Calypso

    The Mighty Sparrow also pointed out the same in this Documentary!

    Mighty Sparrow - Calypso as Mother music

    Go to 4:50 to hear Sparrow confirm what Jimmy Cliff said about Reggae evolving from Calypso

    Clip from Calypso King of the World documentary...Sparrow comments on his early years in NewYork, Harry Belafonte and Reggae music.


    I am confuse....why would Jamaicans be concern about this ?



    What is your angle here.....?

  15. #195
    Father Nutmeg Garrison's Avatar Garrison is offline
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    Years I ain’t come here eh. I decided to Runin on this one. There was several Jamaican popular genres be before reggae so in no way was reggae developed from calypso.
    socapineman likes this.

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