NPR Features the Music of Trinidadian Singer, Calypso Rose


On August 25, 2009, NPR-Music featured the music of legendary Trinidadian singer, Calypso Rose from her GlobalFest performance earlier this year. NPR reports that hers was an impressive, closed-out performance with “the sensuous, vintage dance music of her Caribbean home,” adding that “having recorded her early hits in the mid-’60s, Rose is a venerable diva of an all-but-vanished style.” NPR describes the concert:

She and her mostly Trinidadian band delivered the calypso of old, before drum machines and keyboards revved calypso into soca and all subsequent variants. This was perhaps the evening’s only example of a group playing an established pop music style that they actually grew up with. Amid all the fusing and updating, Rose and her group provided a welcome shot of charm and class. Her playful rendition of “A Man Is a Man” sounded as sweet as anything heard all night.

You can listen to NPR for music from the live concert, including songs such as “Summertime,” “A Man Is a Man,” “Brown Sugar,” “Voodoo Lay Loo,” “Back to Africa,” “Rum & Coca-Cola,” “Calypso Blues,” “Israel by Bus,” “Fine in My Wire,” and “Medley.”

For the live concert, see

Photo from

One thought on “NPR Features the Music of Trinidadian Singer, Calypso Rose

  1. I wanted to ask a question about Caribbean music styles, particularly calypso, and cultural appropriation, given as the post is about a calypso artist. I am a 17-year-old Chinese girl from Australia with an interest in calypso who wants to become a calypsonian herself, but has had mixed feelings about it. One side of me is saying “sure, do what you want” and the other side is saying, “But what about the issues of cultural appropriation and privilege?” I posted this question on a folk music forum and got mostly positive responses, including a mention of Chinese calypsonians, but one poster told me that I should be asking some Trinidadians. And that’s what I am trying to do. I get the sense from the Internet sites I have surfed (quite a few, I have good Google skills) that the majority of people who follow calypso (and the sorts of artforms and issues on this blog) are from the Caribbean, as Caribbean music and other artforms seems to be the kind of interest that only “some kinds of people” seem to take, i.e. music from non-Western countries that is rarely heard and appreciated outside of those countries. And when it is, it is heard among mostly immigrants from those countries and other countries in the same region, and academics such as ethnomusicologists who specialise in this sort of thing. So some of the readers and commenters on this blog are (probably) Trinidadian. And this is the real question to the people who read and follow this blog:

    Because I know that the subject of traditional music is a hot-button issue in many different cultures, and I’m aware that you have to show respect in order to really be a part of another culture’s musical traditions, as well as of the old cliche, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” what is your response to a person not of your culture (me) wanting to extensively learn and become part of your musical tradition? I would particularly like to hear from Trinidadians about this.
    Sorry this post is so long but I really wanted to get my thoughts out. I hope that this isn’t considered an “inappropriate” post.

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