Archive for the ‘Calypso’ Category

Trinidad Goes Latin

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

The island of Trinidad, the cradle of Calypso, is home to an incredible history of unique music. As with pretty much anywhere in the musical melting pot of the Caribbean, influences and styles cross-pollinated freely. The Mambo and Cha Cha Cha crazes of the 50s and 60s left their mark throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and this blog is pretty much devoted to just such cultural exchanges. This week’s episode features two obscure Trinidadian 45s recently obtained on a dusty digging expedition in Brooklyn, NYC, which both reveal the beautiful things that happened when Latin music found influence in Trinidad.

The Monogram Caribbean Orchestra played with none other than the legendary Calypsonian Lord Kitchener, but is virtually unknown beyond that (try Google if you don’t believe me!). Here they do a blistering tune called “Calypso Cha-Cha For Spooks” that’s more of a slow Calypso-Rhumba than a Cha Cha Cha, but that’s hardly the point. Stylish soloists go to town over the brooding bassline and drum beat, with piano, flute, trumpet, guitar and alto sax all doing their spookiest. They were certainly a talented group of musicians, and I wonder who else they played with?!

Next up is Pete De Vlugt & Orchestra doing “Caremelos (Twist)”. It’s a cover of Sonora Matancera’s tune of the same name, which provided a young Celia Cruz with an early hit. This totally reminds me of Congan Rhumba music (itself also heavily influenced by Cuban groups like Sonora Matancera), and no doubt you will agree once you press play. The swinging piano and melodic horns are simply beautiful. Enjoy the heavy Tropical vibes!

Monogram Caribbean Orchestra: “Calypso Cha-Cha For Spooks”
From the Monogram 7″ (USA)

Pete De Vlugt & Orchestra: “Caremelos (Twist)”
From the RCA Victor 7″ (Trinidad, W.I.)

Spectacular Panama Calipso

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Today I have a very special post for you guys.  I was recently digging in San Francisco just before Christmas, and unearthed this gem on 45 that sounded super familiar to me when I played it on my portable turntable.

It turns out that I had originally heard this track on Luis Soulful’s YouTube channel and immediately fell in love with it. Such a great positive vibe to it!  The copy in Luis’ YouTube video was discovered by tropical digger extraordinaire DJ Papito from Italy.  The few copies he found while digging in Colombia were on the Ecoll record label and the song is credited on them as “Com Colom” by the group Ritmo Calipso.  After finding my copy (seen below), it appears that those Colombian presses are bootlegs or alternate pressings of some sort.  Who knows, maybe the artist had a shady record deal and had to boot his own record?  Anyhow, the “original” press seems to be from NYC.

International record nerdery aside, this 45 contains two spectacular calypsos that I hope you will enjoy.  “Concolon (Calypso Windsor)” is an upbeat ode to the classic Panamanian dish concolon, and I get hungry every time I hear it!  The vocalist De Briano is accompanied by the Alonso Wilson Quinteto, who released a number of great Calypso and Latin Jazz records in Panama throughout the 60s and 70s.  The b-side is a spanish language track similar in style to “Concolon” that continues the vibe nicely.

This was the best Christmas present I could have hoped for!

De Briano with the Alonso Wilson Quinteto: “Concolon (Calypso Windsor)” & “Tu Unico Amor (Guaracha Windsor)”
From the WPC 7″, NYC