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Carnival Season: Calypso!

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This week on Sound Travels, we officially light the fuse. A spark that'll wend its way through the weeks and days we've got before Mardi Gras. Of course 88Nine is having a Fat Tuesday Party, and on Sound Travels we'll connect you with the music that suits the Carnival mood, from all over the world. This week that starts with Calypso and Soca... 

Calypso is an amalgamation of sounds from many cultures as are the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, where it was born. And born like so much of the innovative music Africans in the New World were making at that time from ashes of a past and restrictions of colonial overseers. In Trinidad, as in most places founded on slave labor, old cultural traditions were banned and for African in the New World, that meant the drums were taken away and music and story-telling traditions were banned. Just like everywhere else, people found ways to circumvent these rules.

In Trinidad and Tobago, they started beating on steel pans for rhythm sections, giving birth to the steel drums Trini is famous for. The old African griot traditions, stories and songs used to convey history, news and daily life found new life in music that came to be known as calypso. I'm no expert, but I did find some good, early calypso tunes to share...

Mighty Sparrow "Congo Man" Sparromania!

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King Short Shirt "Tourist Leggo" Ghetto Vibes

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Scrunter "Ah Lick E Thing" The Very Best Of Scrunter

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Roaring Lion "Carnival Long Time Ago" Sofrito - Tropical Discotheque

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Although calypso is usually associated with Trinidad and Tobago, calypso (or very calypso-like) music is played throughout the Caribbean as well as in the coastal areas of Central and South America. On Wednesday, we played some Jamaican sides from artists you may know like Toots & The Maytals, a few others more obscure like Count Lasher as well as a nice lil Panamanian side from Lord Cobra. Though a bit different from classic-era Trini cuts, they still carry the calypso vibe strong...

Toots & The Maytals "Bam Bam"

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The Maytals "Bim Today (Bam Tomorrow)"

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Count Lasher "Bam Bam feat. Lyn Taitt" 

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Aston & Yen "Skillamy"

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