Thursday, October 27, 2011

Calypso @ Dirty Jim's

Well done Trinidad- wonderful documentary about the history of calypso in the Island.
The film started with the first DJ on the Island, who 'stood-in' for an American on the Army Base's Radio Station and later got a token program - as the narrator tracing the history of the Calypso. They made sure to distinguish it from Kaiso which I think originated in West Africa (I stand to be corrected if necessary) - Guianese Bill Rogers becoming 'international' back in de day.
Interestingly, the very origin was the Chartwells from the Mardi Gras when the French ruled the Island and contrary to being displeased when the African slaves made mockery of their masters and their habits- it was encouraged by getting them to make mockery of their (plantation) neighbours. Calypso then really emerged in the 40's and 50's with Bomber, Kitchner and young Sparrow being the most famous and representing the women- Calypso Rose. It started with ex-tempo, when the performer had to make up his song on stage - during a competition, the subject being pulled from a hat just before a song. I sat there thinking, this must be the beginning of modern day Rap!
Then there was dissension between the new-comers of Soca and the older calypsonians: the former Calypso Rose dismissed the new-comers as having no lyrics and Bomber describing their lyrics as slutty-- this was just after a clip of his song about a woman complaining about Dr B's 'injection' being too big and having to take it out-- mmm!

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