The Political Calypso: True Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago, 1962-1987


Calypso, a traditional form of music in the Caribbean, began in Trinidad & Tobago as a subtle protest against British rule. Influenced by African & native Caribbean rhythms, the calypso (along with Jamaican reggae) defines the music of the region. The author examines the evolution of the political calypso from 1962 to 1987, the period of Trinidad/Tobago's independence from Britain, & present the text of lyrics from this popular folk-urban musical form. Following the songs & their themes chronologically from 1962 forward, the author discovers the social history, cultural attitudes, & political commentary embedded within the music. He discusses the uneasy alliance between the performer & the politician, the political moods & postures emphasized in the songs, & the national identity of the calypso. Drawing upon voluminous research, the authors study brings to light little known & unrecorded songs. With a concluding chapter on the calypso's artistic & performance elements, it will appeal both to specialists in ethnomusicology & to general readers who enjoy the calypso.


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