About the album
KAISO STORIES is a free-jazz project with classic calypso lyrics. The lyrics I chose cover subjects such as politics, humor, being an immigrant and wanting to return home, speaking out against Trinidad's first prime-minister Dr. Eric Williams, stepping into the darkness of Shango Baptism, identity and what can happen at a wake. This hardly covers the cultural richness of Calypso lyrics; in my research for this project I encountered incredible stories such as elaborate scenarios to win back a jilted lover, lengthy discourse on government, strong pleas for a better economy or employment, or the value of taking care of your cat. Calypso lyrics tell the story of living life in Trinidad and calypsos were the newspaper of the people, the one place where the people could hear the issues of the day free from media-tampering by the Powers that Be. The story needs a messenger in the Calypso singer or ‘Calypsonian’, to tell the truth as he sees it and tell it good, otherwise the audience will let him have it. The importance of the message wasn’t lost on the government and censorship boards were set up to monitor calypsos, especially around Carnival - the annual celebration held before Lent of which Calypsos are an integral part. So Calypsonians devised clever strategies such as double-entendre to get their message across to the audiences it was intended for. This makes Calypso lyrics some of the most beautiful and imaginative I've ever heard in any genre.
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