Creation and Evolution of Calypso Music

As Europeans began to colonize and promote the slave trade, slaves often were placed in extremely oppressive situations. In Trinidad and Tobago, specifically, slaves often had parts of their African culture banned and taken away. As a way to resist, slaves began to take over the yearly European Carnival in the Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago. This led to the creation of a new type of music: Calypso. At the new, non-European Carnival, slaves, and eventually freed slaves, would introduce new songs inside of tents at Carnival called Calypso tents. In one of these tents, many different singers of Calypso, or Calypsonians, would improvise or play newly written songs and music. In addition, this music made heavy use of game rivalry as Calypsonians attempted to be the best Calypsonian. At one of these tents, Calypsonian Lord Melody, introduced one of his well-known songs Booboo Man. Booboo Man, as well as the rest of Calypso Music, once placed into its historical and physical context, employs witty text, game rivalry, polyrhythm, timbrel variety, audience participation, call and response, and the use of European and African instruments to resist European power, oppression, and societal ideologies in the New World, while also pushing the Calypso genre as a whole into a new direction, creating more resistance.