October is Calypso Music Month, and we couldn’t let the month go by without paying ode to one of our favorite genres.
Calypso music has often been replicated and watered down, and it’s likely that the Calypsoes that you may have been exposed to weren’t as true to the genre as they should be; to get the raw, unfiltered goodness of this style of music, one has to go back to the days of the Calypso giants, many of whom came out of the Caribbean and, particularly, Trinidad and Tobago.
Growing up in the West Indies, calypso music has always been a major part of my existence. Most persons who either have never been to the Caribbean or know little about this region associate calypso music with the images of natives in grass skirts and swaying coconut trees on sandy beaches; however, calypso music is so much more than that.
Calypso music, originally derived from the very cries of oppressed blacks (plantation slaves) put into song, is an intricate mixture of light humor and hard-hitting facts, accentuated by a catchy melody that make listeners hum along and “move their waistlines.”
Today marks 53 years since Trinidad and Tobago, the beloved country of my birth, obtained its independence. Dressed in my red, black and white, I feel an intense sense of pride and patriotism.
My country is young yet, and still striving toward first world status. As we do so, we face many challenges. As a people we must first learn to stand with and not against each other, regardless of race or creed, in order to move forward. Even as we celebrate this day, we begin a week that is fraught with uncertainty, as one week from now, we will be starting a new chapter prior to our country’s general elections. Nevertheless, today is a celebratory day for T&T, and in honor of 53 years of labor pains, here are ten ways to identify the typical Trini.