Hellish Calypso

by Various Artists

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about

Why "Hellish"? The liner notes explain that it's in part because of the very apparent "pear-shaped atrocities" a listener hears in out-of-tune melodies and unintelligible lyrics. But this is a "basic misconception" of what makes good music. While calypso orchestras can play on "true pitch," they often choose not to because love and politics are "targets for the jeering crossfire of calypso" and the musicians are "laughing while playing" or disguising "unspeakable lyrics into the mouthpieces of the horns they blow." Incidentally, the tuning isn't so bad, and the lyrics, while pointed, are quite easily understood. With song titles like "They Ballin Me Name" and "Donkey Must Wear Pants" sung by King Fighter, Wrangler and Viper, this is a must-hear.

credits

released January 1, 1962

2004, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings / 1962 Cook Records

Learn more: folkways.si.edu/hellish-calypso/caribbean-world/music/album/smithsonian

license

all rights reserved

tags

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