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Chocolate SurrealismMusic, Movement, Memory, and History in the Circum-Caribbean$
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Njoroge Njoroge

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496806895

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496806895.001.0001

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“Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse”

“Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse”

The Trinidadian Calypso to 1940

(p.15) 1. “Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse”
Chocolate Surrealism

Njoroge Njoroge

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines the rise and development of calypso in Trinidad. Trinidad is a rich site to explore issues of diaspora and historical development in the Caribbean since the island has the dubious distinction of being subject to all the major imperial powers in the region. Calypso is quintessentially urban, developed in the late 19th century through the intermingling of the largely once-rural proletariat, unemployed and under-employed ex-slaves, and formerly indentured Africans and other Creoles in the burgeoning city of Port-of-Spain. The music emerged from and was developed in the barrack yards, stick-fights, carnival tents, and city streets, and became a national music and symbol. This period is also one in which the economic penetration of the British into the island was transformed into formal political and ideological control, thus illuminating inter-imperialist rivalries and transformations, and the complications of political transition in a “plural society.”

Keywords:   Calypso, Trinidad, Music, History, Carnival

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