It’s a cold, snowy winter day in Canada. But I am not shivering because my heart is warmed by listening to some hot calypso tunes on the air waves in Dominica. It’s going to be a great season of memorable melodies, packed with important messages.
I am reblogging this post in memory of two talented Calypsonians who passed away in 2016: ‘Leandra’ Cuffy and ‘Boople’ LaFleur. I really enjoyed Leandra’s soulful songs about societal concerns, such as ‘Skeletons’ and ‘Pray for Me’. And Boople’s powerful presentations about political issues, such as ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘Air Dominica’ really captivated me. Their musical contributions to this performance art form live on, and they will never be forgotten.
Although I am presently far away from the Nature Isle, my passion for calypso on Dominica remains ever strong!
By the time Carnival season has rolled around after Christmas each year, thousands of Dominicans will have succumbed to calypso fever! During my first few years on the Nature Isle, I tried to resist this unfamiliar form of song and rhythm. But when I really started to pay attention to the lyrics and appreciate the Afro-Latin beat, I was hooked! So what’s the attraction? Let me give you some background on this popular seasonal obsession.
Calypso music has roots in island folk music, but was strongly influenced by Latin American rhythms when it first gained prominence in Trinidad. By the late 1950’s, calypso shows and songs became an enduring part of Carnival festivities in Dominica. Every year, talented songwriters, calypso singers and instrumental musicians create a new crop of lyrics and melodies which always seem to appeal to their large audiences. Historically, calypso songs have provided opportunities to address societal…
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