Calypso: The Anatomy of Controversy

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Louis Regis


Calypso fictions and narratives, fantasies and commentaries, venture into vitally important areas of social intercourse which, because of unspoken protocols of civil discourse, remain sensitive areas of darkness. Within the freedom of performance, a space hallowed by tradition, the calypsonian has been able to discuss and comment upon taboo subjects, and in the volatile times in which we live at present, nothing is more explosive than inter-ethnic sexuality. If one wants to measure how far Trinidad and Tobago has progressed - or regressed - along the road to national unity, one needs to monitor the nation's sound sensors (puns intended) which register increasing decibels of lacouree whenever a calypso discusses intimacy between an Afro-Trinidadian male and an Indo-Trinidadian female. Songs about intimacy between the Afro-Trinidadian male and the Indo-Trinidadian female are far more common than those between Indo-Trinidadian males and Afro-Trinidadian females, partly because Afro-Trinidadian male calypsonians far outnumber their Indian ancestored counter parts. [One notes in passing that the handful of women calypsonians -Afro in the main - never discuss inter-ethnic sexuality in song].

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