Trinidad and Tobago to introduce calypso music as subject in schools

October 09, 2019 at 01:34 pm | Entertainment

Mohammed Awal

Mohammed Awal

October 09, 2019 at 01:34 pm | Entertainment

Calypso Rose -- Photo via: Wikimedia Commons

Trinidad and Tobago’s Education Ministry has signed an agreement with the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) for calypso to be taught in schools as part of the visual and performing arts curriculum.

TUCO believes introducing calypso in schools would reduce juvenile delinquency, as well as, improve communication among students.

The collaboration came to light during a meeting between Trinidad and Tobago’s Education Minister Anthony Garcia and TUCO hierarchy Friday.

“It is incumbent upon us, that we ensure that all our youths are exposed to all aspects of our cultural heritage, notably the steelpan and calypso, which gave birth to so many sub-genres that we enjoy today,” Garcia said.

According to Garcia, inculcating calypso in the school curriculum will help children get a better understanding of poetry and essay writing.

According to reports, the art of writing and singing calypsos will be taught from the level of early childhood care and education to primary and secondary schools.

“People must be aware of their culture, and culture has to be transmitted from one generation to the other,” Garcia said.

Already, a cross-functional team had been formed comprising representatives from TUCO, the Curriculum Planning and Development Division, Multicultural Music Programme Unit, and the Laventille/Morvant Schools’ Improvement Project to design the Calypso curriculum.

Calypso is Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the mid-19th century. It is linked closely to the annual celebration of the pre-Lenten carnival. The music and the name’s root is uncertain. 

Generally, scholars concur that calypso is an example of a hybrid musical form resulting from the interactions of colonizers, slaves, and others from the eighteenth century onward.

Calypso is characterized by highly rhythmic and harmonic vocals and is most often sung in a French creole and led by a griot. As calypso developed, the role of the griot became known as a chantuelle and eventually, calypsonian.

Calypso includes a range of genres, including the Benna in Antigua and Barbuda and Mento, a style of Jamaican folk music that greatly influenced ska and reggae.

In the early 1900s, Calypso was being marked lyrically by social satire and political commentary, as well as, sexual innuendo, according to encyclopedia.com.

It was performed in calypso tents—temporary venues in which calypsonians competed against each other for prizes offered by private sponsors.

The first calypso recordings were made in 1914. By the 1920s and 1930s, Trinidad’s finest calypso singers, such as Attila the Hun, Roaring Lion, and Lord Invader, were regularly recording and performing in the United States.

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