When looking at music from Latin America, there are vast differences in the styles and types of music found. From Mexico’s mariachi to Brazil’s congado, music in Latin America is very different with each style having its own flavor. Each country possesses music that illustrates its history, and cultural evolution in its music, rhythm, and lyrics. For the southern and eastern Caribbean that music is Calypso. With its direct origins to African music and song, Calypso is intertwined with history and cultural evolution. It is the basis of this paper that I will show those connections and evolution between Calypso music and the culture and politics of Africa and Trinidad.
What is Calypso music? Musically, Calypso is an energetic, upbeat style of Caribbean song much like the Brazilian samba because of its “duple metre”. Calypso is suited for the “jump-up” type of dance practiced in Trinidad as well as Carnival marches. Band member’s usually play Calypso in a very rambunctious, energetic, and enthusiastic way, which adds energy to an already very upbeat style of music. Calypso is normally played with a steel pan band which can consist of groups up to 150 steel pan musicians when performing in marches or in Carnival. With an influence on drumming and performance, one can notice the African origins in this Caribbean style of music.
A major part of Calypso already mentioned is the steel pan drum. This type of drum was invented in Trinidad and Tobago, the origin of Calypso, around the time of World War II. The history of the steel pan drum starts with the slave trade in the Caribbean and the outlaw of drums by white colonials. Still desiring to practice their Afro-centric music, sla...
... middle of paper ...
...ring the late 1980’s.. Now Calypsonians were uplifting its people with messages of triumph and achieving political and social freedom.
In conclusion, Calypso music is an art form linked to the African people of Trinidad and Tobago. Although this paper emphasizes the political and social importance and influence of Calypso music, since the emancipation period, artists have also made Calypso music for dance and entertainment as well. In order to make money and sell records, artists had to create entertaining music while incorporating political protest and social messages in their music. In recent times Calypso music has focused on linking back to its African heritage, as well as entertainment and dance. As long as people are being oppressed in Trinidad and there are conflicts in Africa, Calypso music will remain to be a form of protest, and outlet for social messages.
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