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  • Real Calypso music always has brass in it.

    That statement may be subjective, however it is how I identify with my music. From the barrack yards brought back to life in the Sing De Chorus trilogy, written by Rawle Gibbons, to the modern day Kurt Allen and 3 Canal, few maintain the old time way of writing and delivering. Of course it is ever evolving but I can still hear some brass, the after thoughts of a rhythm section and words that have meaning.

    The brass is losing its shine, though.

    The stories are cut short.

    This year, I am struggling to find a Calyspo that speaks to me.

    So when I heard that Calypso Rose would be performing in the UK, I made sure I did not miss it. Miss Rose, born the same year as my beloved mother, 1940; still performing and hitting the road.

    It was a set list that honoured the survivors of our grim past, the slavery, the rape, the freedom that was fought for and won; but always at risk, always at risk of being taken away again and again.

    I took my English, white friend with me and I wondered if she noticed how hard I was trying not to cry. I wondered if she had any idea what it is to not know all your ancestors because the entry you found on the paper just said, "Mr and Mrs Smith and 4 negros." Yet how proud I was, that I could stand freely in a Jazz Cafe in London and watch our Rose singing her life, my life, our lives.

    It wasn't that long ago when my mother's friend told me that when she was a maid in one of the colonial homes in St Clair and she fell pregnant, the madam of the house obliviously said to her, "What will you do? You're unmarried and pregnant? I hope he puts a ring on your finger and makes an honest woman of you." All she could do was nod.

    Because it was the master of the house she was pregnant for.

    Her mother was the maid before her and now she was the one.

    Two children now.

    Yes Madam.

    (Photo credit to Diane Thompson ~ awesome school friend who was also there with me that evening)

    *** A big shout out to the band who supported the legendary Calypso Rose....they too were in awe to be on stage with an icon, including my dear friend and bass player, Corey Atheleny Wallace***

    And thank you for the brass!
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