Welcome to Corinna Ciera's creative blog. Here you will see posts concerning crafts and general topics of interest. At www.corinnaciera.etsy.com, you will find retro and modern fashion accessories, fabric creations for the home, and other unique items...all handmade by Corinna.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Calypso Folk Music

I love to dance. Although I am not able to execute the dance moves I had when I was a wee bit younger, dance will always be a part of my life and my fascination. I watch all of the dance shows and competitions on television, my favorite being "So You Think You Can Dance." I also attend competitions when possible.

Caribbean music is dear to me, and I thought I would impart a little background and history of the genre, particularly the Calypso.

Calypso’s catchy rhythms and unmistakable style have become widely popular. It originated in Trinidad and Tobago, islands in the southern Caribbean Sea. Along with the steel drums, calypso melodies include such instruments as the guitar, trumpet, saxophone, and drums. It is music that compels you to move your feet, get up from your chair, and stand up and sway your hips to the rhythmical beat.

Calypso can refer to any song that was sung after 1898 at Carnival time in Trinidad. It may have been inspired by storytelling tradition that was brought to Trinidad by African slaves. It has since been influenced by African song and dance along with French, Hispanic, English, and other ethnic influences.

The smooth tropical songs made by the Calypsonian includes witty rhymes that are often made up at the time of the singing on stage. The words included humor and spicy tales, sometimes with a double meaning. This was done because the Calypsonians made the upper classes of society the objects of their ridicule and composed such stinging words and critiques that the colonial government tried to ban the tradition. Double meanings were created to camouflage the actual meaning of the songs. In fact, Calypsonians have made a heavy contribution to the vocabulary of West Indian speech. Many people, even some politicians, often quoted Calypsonians to emphasize a point.

In the early days, the Calypsonians were mainly Afro-Trinidadian, but today they can be found in every race, color, and class. Many genres of calypso have now been developed that appeal to varying musical tastes.

The next time you hear steel orchestras and a lively, catchy, rhythmical sound, with picture lyrics, you may be experiencing calypso music. Like me, you will be compelled to get up from your chair and dance!

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1 comment:

  1. Hi, Corinna. I love to dance, too, and can appreciate the kind of music to which you just can't stand still. I find it interesting that this "get up and dance" music is different to different peoples. There are beautiful things in every culture. :)

    I also love the last picture. Are they birds? I don't know why, but I think it would be a lot of fun to dress like a bird and dance as part of a story. hahaha. :)