Kaiso No 21 - March 14, 1999

A warming trend, a moose hopping in our backyard, basketball and hockey finals with ice sculpture competition going on here in Fairbanks.  But far to the South still the Land of Calypso calls.

The Mighty Bomber

Among the many titles given out this year was for the Humorous Calypso Monarch and it went to that stalwart, the Mighty Bomber whose song, Cases was a throwback to '60s style calypso and usually got several encores each night at the Revue.  A master calypsonian and Calypso King for 1964, it is wonderful to see that he is showing younger singers how it is done!  Bomber has previously headed to court for his calypso humor on at least one other occasions.
Court Jester (1968)

It wasn't in a dance ah didn't go to races
But ah sit down in the court listening to cases
Up comes the Judge, they summons the Jury
Accusing the accuse for assault and battery
The prisoner in the box was one Mr Snort
It you hear people busting laugh in the court

I ain't guilty at all me honour
If you want you could ask the Sarge
I ain't guilty at all me honour
All believe they give wrong charge
Me ain't know bout me salt and battery
I ain't have moto car and salt en good for me
I ain't guilty so
Is a woman ah near half kill up in Sowa

The young man seas sent to jail down Carrera
Now ah listening to the next case on the agenda
They call on the defendant Mr Luc Luck
And told him you are hereby charged for misconduct
But Luc Luck turn and said to he lawyer
All never thought ah had such a wicked neighbour
With me and Miss Con.  was more love than hate
Now she put no in front of the Magistrate

I ain't guilty at all no honour
In the court Luc Luck start to bawl
I ain't guilty at all my honour
Me ain't thief Miss Con duck at all
I does friend with she that's me woman
Now she putting me in confusion
Is a curse is bust on me work
How the hell you want to charge me for
Miss Con duck

Ah sit down in the court me blood start to shiver
They sending out a charge to Miss Oliver
It seem as though she was a witness recently
But they held her in contempt and charge she for perjury
The trial judge ask Miss you have a council
She told him oh no mine is a ford model
And she pointing she finger all in he face
Well anyhow they decided to try the case

I ain't guilty at all your honour
Ah does watch medicine with scorn
I ain't guilty at all your honour
Ah never take a purge since ah born
Well ah begging you to have some sympathy
The whole truth is I ain't commit perjury
Is ah lie ah ted in the place
If was perjury ah de make a mess ah de case

Ah didn't wait to hear the jury decision
But ah take off for the next court which was in session
The prisoner in the box
Oh loss how he frighten
Trembling in he shoe saying me ain't do nothing
A gossiper say he is a calypsonian
Is then Ah decide to defend the young man
But evidence was weak and irrelevant
Because they charge him for shooting with intent.

He ain't guilty at all your honour
I object don't get me annoyed
He ain't guilty me honour at all
That statement is null and void
Because he wasn't singing no tunes for Carnival
No calypso king and no road march bacannal
It must be irrelevant
He must be shoot outside, but not in the tent.

Lisa Lekis

The calypso researcher's job is never done and leads are to be found everywhere.  On the way back from Trinidad, I found in Tacoma, Washington an album called Caribbean Festival which was issued in the '50s by the Puerto Rico Tourist Board.  It was made up of field recordings by Ms Lekis from throughout the Caribbean.  The album has one calypso, Zebra's Radio Trinidad.  She had also had an album of her field recordings issued by Folkways in 1953, Caribbean Dances, which had Zebra doing a medley of old calypsos.  Did she record more of Zebra?  Other calypsonians?  I wanted to get more information on her research and have only turned up a few details.

Born in 1917, she did a dissertation at University of Florida in 1956 titled, Origin and Development of Ethnic Caribbean Dance and Music.  She published a book on the same subject called Dancing Gods, Scarecrow Press, 1968.  She appears to be an important researcher of Caribbean music whose tale has not been told.

Windjammer (1958)

In my research on calypso in the movies, I had never heard of this film until Lord Superior told me about it.  This full length documentary was produced and directed by Louis de Rochemount and follows the voyage of the tall sailing ship, The Christian Radish, on a trip from Norway to Maidera, Puerto Rico, Curacao and Trinidad and on to New York City.  In the Trinidad segment, the film featured the Silvertones and Boystown steelbands, the police band, limbo dancers, and an expanded March of Dimes group with Superior added.   The film was shot in a three strip Cinemiracle format and regrettably it is not likely to become available.

I am working up a preliminary working list of calypsos in films and there is more than you might think!  Anybody have information on ones I might not know about, drop me a line!

Mother Goose in CalypsoLand

I just missed winning this children's book in an auction and would be interested in finding more information on this odd item or its author. Norrie, Thelma V.  Mother Goose in Calypso-Land.  Port of Spain, Trinidad: Guardian Commercial Printry: 1955.  Paper covers, plus 28 pages.  The text went as follows:
The Five Pigs

This little pig did the jump-up,
And this little pig beat the drum.
This little pig had a pair of chac-chacs,
And this little pig stole a ham.
And this little pig cried, "You can't do that man!"

I am trying to get the person who won this booklet to xerox it when he gets it.  We'll see.

Keep those e-mail messages and news coming to the truly Frozen North.

Ray Funk

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