Tuesday, 13 May 2008

The Lion – Trinidad, the Land of Calypso

Raphael de Leon, (1908–1999) AKA The Lion, or Roaring Lion, a leading figure in Calypso for over sixty years, was both a popular Calypsonian, with songs like Ugly Woman, Mary Ann and Netty, Netty, and a historian of the genré. In his book Calypso From France to Trinidad: 800 Years of History (1986) he argued against the prevailing idea that Calypso was based on African musical forms, and proposed medieval French troubadour origins.

He even disputed the origin of the name “Calypso”, usually said to be from the word kaicho, from language of the Huassa tribe in Nigeria. Roaring Lion argues that it's from Enrico Caruso. The name of Caruso, the opera superstar of the turn of the century, had in the Trinidad of his youth became a descriptive noun for any singer, or vocal performance. More information in an interview from Variant Magazine in 1991.

Anyway, here’s a recording made in London on the 16th of June 1954, where he teases those who assert that the source of Calypso is anywhere else but the “Land of the Trinity”.


Download The Lion – Trinidad, the Land of Calypso MP3 (rapidshare)

From Caribbean Connections: Black Music in Britain in the early 1950s Volume 2. New Cross records (Charly) NC006 1987. My first vinyl-to-mp3 conversion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your first vinyl conversion sounds great. Love the layout + pics. And the Klaus / Werner concept. Have you read Kinski's autobiog by the way? Dug has a copy