Compilation « Calypso Soundsystem feat. Calypso Rose,
queen of Calypso for 40 years ! »
Digital release march 11th 2016 (Because Music)
The musical emblem of Trinidad and Tobago (a dual-‐island nation situated in the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Venezuela and close to Guyana), calypso appeared at the start of the 20th Century. It became internationally renowned in the 1940’s and 50’s through American artists such as the Andrew Sisters and their cover of Lord Kitchener’s hit song ‘Rum & Coca-‐Cola’ in 1944, Harry Belafonte and his albumCalypso in 1955 (his first album to sell over 1 million copies) and actorRobert Mitchum who decided to record the album Calypso – Is Like Soin 1957 after meeting two legends of the genre, Mighty Sparrow andLord Invader. This festive double rhythm comes straight from Trinidad’s traditional festival (which came from the French colonials) and became the embodiment of the joyful spirit of the island where life seemed sweeter and lighter. But don’t be fooled by the syrupy image of steelbands playing in cocktail bars featured in films such as James Bond’s Dr. No. Calypso sings about euphoria, sex and parties, but not always in joyful terms. It also speaks of prostitution, poverty and protest. As does the first historic Queen of Trinidad’s carnival, Calypso Rose, who openly addresses issues of domestic violence in ‘Abatina’ or women’s rights in ‘No Madam’. A cousin of mento, uncle of ska, rocksteady and bluebeat in the 1960’s, father of soca in the 1970’s, this protest style leaves a lot of room for improvisation and is also the godfather of New York hip hop, which was invented in the Bronx by the Anglophone Caribbean diaspora in the 1970’s.
Between roots and disco, instrumentals and songs, light-‐hearted and rebellious, the compilation Calypso Soundsystem feat. Calypso Rose, Queen of Calypso for 40 Years! (put together by Emile Omar, programmer at Radio Nova, co-‐author of the Nova Tunes compilations and resident DJ at the ‘Tropical Discotheq’ parties in Paris) goes back to the origins, cross-‐fertilisations, mutations and most of all to the exaltation behind a musical current that never fails to charm.