King Selewa & His Calypsonians

Calypso: Back to Mi Home

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Calypso: Back to Mi Home Review

by Adam Greenberg

Though originally from Africa, calypso hitmaker King Selewa found his way to Trinidad after some time, taking up residence amidst the roots of the music he had come to stand for. Interestingly, while much of modern calypso has grown more closely attuned with other Caribbean genres (soca, steel band, reggae), Selewa takes much of his form from the classic format. He acts as troubadour, composing songs around notable figures and news items while maintaining an upbeat musical style. The result can be lifting, as cultural values are listed out in musical form. It can also be a bit disconcerting, as when the subject matter is darker while the music remains light (as it is on "Congo War," where Selewa breaks out such classic lines as "Human bodies widout dem heads/Found in di river bed/Di wata foreva red" to a catchy dance beat). Selewa also touches briefly on ska (with the Paragons' "Ridin' on a High and Windy Day") along the way, but his focus is best kept on the calypso that he reels off with such aplomb. Fans of the more modern Caribbean traditions may be a bit surprised by Selewa's more traditional style of calypso, but they should also be pleased with that surprise.

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