Dominica Calypso

This Is What Everyone Should Know About Caribbean Calypso Music.


Did you know most of the greatest dishes in the culinary world were accidents?

Discovered through combining different ingredients and herbs and condiments and garnishes, man realized that mixtures of different tastes make a dish stand out.

Surprisingly, not only the food world thrived under this phenomenon.  Cultural aspects of human life feel the uniting of aspects resulting in far superior creations such as in the art of Calypso.

The Start of Calypso

Calypso music was created from different music influences from around the globe. It is considered today as Afro-Caribbean music but it traces its roots to Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Experts suggest that Calypso music evolved from the troubadours, or the French poets from the medieval era. Not known as Calypso then, but during the expansion of the French empire to the Americas, a primitive kind of Calypso was introduced to the island of Barbados, one of the many territories held by the French in the colonial period.

From Slavery to Creativity

Imagine being forced to work under the scorching sun as thirst and hunger eat away your sore body.

The African natives felt trapped, powerless, and detached.

They were desperate to connect, communicate and escape their suffering and confusion. Thier physique withered but they still had their soul.

Human as they are, they adapted and found a way to communicate with each other. They discovered the key to survival amidst the inhumane rules of the Europeans. They survived through music and chants the masters didn’t understand.

What they couldnt say, they sang. Centuries of oppression not only made them hardworking, but made them great at creating musical melodies.

The Tipping Point

Exposed to French music influences, native Africans organized their own gatherings in counterpart to the forbidden French carnivals. This gave birth to their very own Canboulay. Though Calypso music started in Barbados, it flourished in the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, and spread through the rest of the islands.

The Caribbean islands changed hands as the European empires struggled for power over the region. British and the Spanish forces took hold of some of the Caribbean regions.

This further enriched the influences of Calypso music as the local natives incorporated all they learned from the different cultures into the music.

Still without freedom, they used Calypso music to relay current events, pass street wisdom, share social humor, and recount daily life reflections as they struggle to get loose from their captors.

Where is Calypso music now?

Today, even after the abolishment of slavery, Calypso is woven so deeply into their culture that it continues to flourish and bring people together in concert.  It is not only enjoyed by the locals but by the whole world.

Some of most famous Calypso music artists include:

Though the initial influences that started Calypso music is believed to be the French, Calypso music is owned by the Caribbean people, drawn from the rich influences of hardships, victories, and the urge to connect.

Indeed, if Calypso music was translated into a dish, it can only be described as one of the finest gourmet treats made from the richest and rarest of ingredients.

Listen to some of our favorite Calypsos here.