that are quite well known and understood in the calypso community. I also wish to .. Governor organized a deputation of respected citizens to meet the people in the Eastern . creating a blend of calypso and Indian music which he called sokah. The same is not true of many calypsonians whose voices as political. love for Calypso with me, an infinite thank you. I hope I . Ibn Battula, a North African traveller, wrote down his encounter with the Griots of the . the American soldiers mixed with the young women of the island. .. under the same banner as folk culture, “a culture of the people for the people” (Storey. Then I entered Richard Stoute Teen talent that same year which would have been in The atmosphere then was totally different, people lifted you up instead of If they see you as a soca artiste and think they can draw a hip hop audience the information and lifestyle TV channel, broadcasts a mix of News, Sports.
Share via Email The Empire Windrush Since West Indians first began to settle in Britain in large numbers after the second world war, a succession of black musics have transformed the British music scene. Ska, bluebeat and, of course, reggae were followed by rap, dance-hall, "jungle", techno and house.
But the oldest of these musical forms is the calypso - the music and lyrics associated with the Trinidad Carnival - which, according to Lloyd Bradley, became "the official sound-track of black Britain" in the s and early s.
Calypso was the first popular music transported directly from the West Indies and, in the early days, migrants from the southern Caribbean would meet to listen nostalgically to the recording of that year's winning calypso or their favourite calypsonian, and relive memories of the street marching, the costume floats and steel pan music that dominate Port of Spain in the four-day saturnalia leading up to the beginning of Lent.
However, shortly after the arrival of the first postwar contingent, calypso music about the migration experience also started to be composed and performed in Britain, about Britain. Now this nearly forgotten moment in the story of Britain's black diaspora can be recaptured in word and sound. The record label Honest John has salvaged 20 calypsos composed and recorded by calypsonians in and about London in the early s and issued them as a new CD titled London Is the Place for Me.
The start of the postwar Caribbean diaspora is usually associated with the arrival of the rather dilapidated troop-ship, the SS Empire Windrush, which docked at Tilbury in June The ship had been sent to scour the Caribbean and bring back second world war volunteers who had been given temporary home leave to visit their families before returning to Britain to be demobbed.
No papers or visas were required since these were the innocent days when all West Indians had right of entry as legitimate British passport holders. Among those who took up the option were two of the Caribbean's most famous and best-loved calypsonians, Lord Beginner and Lord Kitchener.
Aldwyn "Lord Kitchener" Robertsa Trinidadian and former nightclub vocalist, had worked on several of the other islands before deciding - as he told Mike and Trevor Phillips, the authors of Windrush: Kitchener, a colourful presence on the voyage, helped to organise a concert to raise funds to pay the passage of a stowaway woman who had been discovered there were many stowaways, some of whom dived overboard and swam to safety when the boat finally docked.
As the ship neared land, Kitchener was overcome by "the wonderful feeling that I'm going to land on the mother country A week later, he visited a London dance club called the Paramount where, to his surprise, he discovered many of his fellow passengers already well in place, jiving and dancing.
A month later, a band led by a year-old Guyanese trumpeter Rannie Hart started to play regularly in the saloon bar of the Queens Hotel in Brixton and with them, hoping to extend the popularity of calypso, was their star, Lord Kitchener. He went on to a highly successful career, playing at pubs, dance clubs, cellar bars and the semi-legal "bottle parties" of the London and Manchester underground scenes until he returned permanently to Trinidad in Confined for some time to small clubs and dancehalls, calypso really made its breakthrough inwith the triumph of the West Indies cricket team at Lords.
This was a symbolic victory, and a major reversal of fortunes.
The great Trinidadian historian CLR James, who wrote the best book ever written about cricket, Beyond a Boundary, had long argued that true West Indian independence and the national consciousness it required would be impossible until the West Indies had taken on the colonisers at their sacred game and mastered it sufficiently to defeat them at home in open play: The West Indian team included three of the world's finest batsmen, but the true heroes of the game and architects of victory were the spinners, Ramadhin and Valentine.
It is difficult to believe reports that there were only 30 or 40 West Indians present at the ground, but however many there were, they made their presence felt by exuberant shouting, singing and the rattling of tin cans throughout the game, in ways that astonished the natives and transformed for ever the ethos of test cricket.
People stared at this extraordinary sight out of windows - "I think it was the first time they'd ever seen such a thing in England," Kitchener observed. In fact, calypso in Britain has an interesting prehistory.
The oldest living calypsonian on the Honest John CD is Young Tiger, now 82, who was born in Trinidad, became a seaman on oil tankers sailing the seven seas, and finally disembarked in Glasgow in Though not musically trained, he played and sang a little and when he and a friend landed a job in the famous Minstrel Show, they were bitten by the showbiz bug.
Singing and playing all sorts of music in the small London drinking clubs, he composed a Christmas Calypso inwhich became a seasonal favourite. Playing and singing with a rumba band at the swanky Orchid Room, Young Tiger adopted the calypsonian's practice of instant commentary on the rich and famous and composed a few verses on the spot when Prince Philip and party paid the club a visit.
Reprimanded by management, Young Tiger was surprised when, the following night, royalty returned in force to hear the composition - which he had since thrown away. This royal connection may have prompted the composition of his Coronation Calypso in After playing and touring with a number of successful groups, he recorded with Melodisc, the first British company to produce calypso records, a cover version of Single Man by the calypsonian Tiger - and thus inherited the title Young Tiger.
Though he had never had the ambition to be a professional musician, George "Young Tiger" Brown was "steeped in calypso" and greatly admired the calypsonian's gift as poet, raconteur and reporter. He left Trinidad before the steel bands that are now so closely associated with calypso music really took hold, though he remembers as a child hearing the pans being played in the backyards of Charlotte Street, Port of Spain, and the shango and "tambo-bambo" music played on various lengths of bamboo that were their precursors and the preferred instruments of popular music at the time.
It is difficult to separate the spirit of calypso from its context in the Trinidad Carnival. Preparing for Carnival is an all-year-round activity. As the Carnival season approaches, the clubs enter a period of feverish activity, designing and completing the construction of the elaborate costumes and astonishing head-dresses that the bands will wear for the parade.
Richly coloured fabrics, sequined plumes and feathers are suspended across wire, steel and fibreglass frames according to the year's theme. Just as stripped back as the sound.
At last I want to say that, as it has done in the past, the directions of the labels will change in the future. But you guys will see when that happens smiles. However I still have a taste for more high-spirited music, as well as the desire to release that kind of stuff. For me personally, working in a team again. When it comes to the labels, I always did everything myself and made my own decisions.
Now suddenly I had to work with people that had certain opinions too, which I had to respect haha. Ultimately I have no regrets, though, because it really helped me grow as a person. In addition, money was a real struggle in the first year.
And even to this day every single cent that we make with it, flows back into the station. I honestly believe this is the way it needs to be done if our goal is to keep making the platform better and better.
Lastly, setting up an online radio station like this is very time consuming, and we all still have jobs next to it. Nevertheless, we are all very happy we did it, for us it feels like giving something back to the city, providing a platform where different scenes can come together.
It feels extremely rewarding. What are the toughest aspects of maintaining such radio? Is there any additional support from elsewhere? Yet again, lack of funds. Currently we only make money by co hosting events and selling merchandise.
On one hand this is tough, on the other hand it keeps us independent. It has to be done our way, though. The first year we used our own personal equipment for Operator. It was time to change that and buy gear that belongs to the station. We also invested in a mobile set-up so now we can do more streaming on location. Next to that we created a little buffer to pay fixed expenses like hosting and rent. We also had to pay off our initial personal investments.
Are you aware of anything born this way? Last week I heard an intern of us is jamming with Gamma Intel, a local guy from Rotterdam who will have his release on Pinkman soon. So yeah, to answer your question: With Operator we really wanted to create a music platform for Rotterdam without any competition feelings towards Amsterdam. And yes, we actually had big support from Red Light Radio when we started our project.