Pioneers of Calypso [Part 1]
Calypso music is a style of Afro-Caribbean music which originated in Trinidad and Tobago and dates back to the 19th century.
Influenced by the African and the French population on the island, it became known as “the voice of the people,” giving them a chance to express themselves through song.
As our own way of kicking off the month-long celebrations, we are featuring six Calypso music veterans who have served as pioneers of this cultural art-form.
The Mighty Sparrow
Dr. Slinger Francisco, born in Grenada and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, is known as “The Calypso King of the World” within the Caribbean music fraternity. One of his most popular and meaningful musical offerings to date is a haunting song entitled “Slave.”
Lord Kitchener (not to be confused with Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener) was born Aldwyn Roberts in Trinidad and Tobago in 1922. He shot to international recognition when he became a regular performer on BBC radio. His 1978 single “Sugar Bum Bum,” an ode to the ample derrière of the Caribbean woman, is one of his most memorable hits.
Linda McArtha Monica Sandy-Lewis, more popularly known as “Calypso Rose,” stands out as the lone female pioneer of Calypso music. At a time when the genre was male-dominated and women were expected to shy away from the brazen and daring lyrics sometimes associated with Calypso, she managed to hold her own and earn respect from her male counterparts, becoming known as the Calypso Queen of the World. Her 1966 offering “Fire in Me Wire” is still a favorite among Calypso music lovers today.