"To tackle me they wrong If they want to keep me down Tell them to cut out me tongue"

1st June 2001 at 01:00
So sang calypsonian Chalkwhite in 1968. This mural from Port of Spain captures such musical sentiment - sassy, savvy and defiant, sung to catchy, mellow beats. Politics is there, and so are personal problems, all set to infectious dance rhythms.

Calypso is the voice of Trinidad and Tobago, its personality is on the world stage. The music is part of carnival. From shortly after Christmas until Carnival Tuesday (the day before the onset of Lnt), Island calypsonians perform their new songs nightly in calypso tents. Hugely popular music contests pull in those hungry for fame and recording contracts: the National Calypso Monarchy selects best calypsonian of the year and the Road March decides the best party song of the year.

Dynamite singers such as Lord Kitchener, Mighty Sparrow and Harry Belafonte emerged on to the world stagefrom contests in calypso tents.


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