Print this Page

World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean


By Sule Greg Wilson
Published February 17, 2006


First it was called kaiso, Trinidad's version of the West African Jali's job: topical songs to spread the news, and enforce culture's values. When the Europeans noticed it, it was misnamed calypso, after the Greek sea-nymph. In the ’60s, calypso mixed with soul music, making soul/calypso: soca. All these influences are present in Victory's release, Calypso Heat, which opens with something everyone will recognize: a soca-ized version, by Vybe, of the hit "Hot, Hot, Hot!" Pay respects to the old, old School with the master calypsonian Pretender's classic "Never Ever Worry." Superblue's "Jump for Joy" is supercharged soca: you can't stay still. There's gotta be pan on any CD representing Trinidad and Tobago; this one’s got Andre Tanker's "Steelband Times." Rap-So's in the house, too, with Brother Resistance's political "I Can't Take That"--with a taste of Ray Parker, Jr.'s "Can't Change That." A cute recycling twist is Ataklan's "Spanish Fly," whose refrain is Herb Alpert's "Lonely Bull," stating, "Guantanamera Only Teasing Me." Carnival's Mud Men are represented in the Lavantille Rhythm Section's "Jouvert." Ajala's "Rang Tang Katang" reflects the Indian subcontinent.