This study is as much interested in how the Calypso reflects and shapes the race-nationalism debate, volatile which became highly volatile in the period 1970-1998, as in how this debate and matters arising have shaped the Calypso. It focuses on what has happened to the Calypso as it negotiates a difficult passage through a society which simultaneously demands of and denies calypsonians a voice in the heated debates of the day. It is to a large extent a response to the criticism which marginalizes or demonises the art-form which is at the mercy of social, political and economic trade winds. These forces generate the kind of song which has been performed in the survey period and beyond. Reading the songs as products of their contexts provides the enlightenment which should preempt epistemologically bizarre revisionisms of past calypsoes, neutralise most of the engineered antagonism of the present, and preclude implausible interpretations in the future.
Louis Regis is a former Senior Lecturer in Literatures in English in the Department of Literary Cultural and Communication Studies at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine. His major publications are Black Stalin Kaisonian (Mona: Arawak, 2007), The Political Calypso: True Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago 1962-1987 (Mona: UWI Press and University Press of Florida, Gainesville, 1999) and Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Trinidad and Tobago Calypso 1970-1998 (Arawak: Kingston, Jamaica 2017).
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