The Birth of Calypso

One of the most popular genres of music in the Southern and Eastern Caribbean area is the Calypso music. Calypso, also known as caiso or cariso, is a type of folk song originally from Trinidad and Tobago. This music usually uses satire and wit to attack important local and btopical political and social issues. The tone of this music is of allusion (implied or indirect reference to something), mockery and double entendre or having double meaning. The Calypso tradition became popular in the early to mid-19th century.

Calypso music, which originated from the sufferings and painful experiences of Western and Southern Africans, is also usually associated with the Carnival celebration in the island. Carnival celebration is marked by a joyous and colorful celebration happening before Lent, that is every Mondays and Tuesdays before the Ash Wednesday. During this season, dancers wearing fabulous colorful costumes adorned with shiny, glittering accessories parade in the streets. Another attraction in this joyous festivity is the groups of singers roaming around the streets singing and improvising veiled lyrics directed to a political figure or talking about a social issue—the calypso music.

One person who has helped popularize Calypsonian music is David Rudder. Born David Michael Rudder on May 06, 1953 in the Colonial Hospital in the Port of Spain (now known as Port of Spain General Hospital), suburb of Belmont in the island of Trinidad and Tobago. He grew up in Belmont which is a culturally diverse community.

It is an Afro-Caribbean region that is a mixture of Shango followers (a religious cult originating in Western Nigeria now being practiced most by people from the Caribbean, religion of the Yorubas), a Rada community (Rada is the religion of the Fons of Dahomey), several steel band/ pan yards and carnival “mas camps” (these provide costumes for carnival celebrations). It was a home to Calypsonians and “Bad Johns” or notorious habitual criminals. Growing up in this diverse community, he was surrounded by various people with different beliefs, cultures, customs. It was also a community where young boys dream of becoming entertainers. All of these contributed to the development of the talented David Michael Rudder.