The great calypsonians of the past displayed style and wit that unfortunately is missing from many of today’s singers, whose idea of political commentary is more like musical documentaries.
One of the best of them all was the Mighty Cypher a.k.a The Clown Prince of Calypso, whose social and political commentary was filled with wit and humor.
This is his take on the Watergate affair of 1974.
Today’s political climate offers many opportunities for witty and humorous commentary , one wonders if today’s young artists have the talent to express it.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé was long regarded by many football critics, players, fans in general as the best player of all time.
Surprisingly , this former Brazilian soccer superstar, once considered the sport’s main ambassador, was practically invisible at the World Cup competition held in his country a few years ago.
This may be because of the unfortunate legal and criminal issues involving his son Edinho, who had been recently imprisoned for his involvement with drug dealing and money laundering.
On a brighter note , when he visited Trinidad in the nineteen sixties, Pele was in his prime , and his ball handling skills were unmatched by anyone, anywhere.
The Mighty Cypher was also impressed by the great Pele ,and not to be outdone , the Clown Prince of Calypso came up with his own ideas about handling Pele’s Balls.
So , to celebrate the annual FIFA World Cup, and in recognition of the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world , here is The Mighty Cypher and “Pele Balls”.
In this take on his contemporary society,The Mighty Cipher, “The Clown Prince of Calypso”, reflects on the possible issues caused by having the pictures of notable people (like himself) on the pages of the local newspapers, in the days when those papers also functioned as toilet paper.
“Pepper in me eye, pepper in me eye, aye aye aye”
Apart from his witty lyrics and his take on society , his style and delivery made him one of the funniest calypsonians of them all.
Here is his take on social unrest in Guyana back in the days when the country was known as British Guiana (BG).
Aye aye aye, Cypher!
One of the things that seem to be missing from today’s calypso culture is the ability to create political humor.
Today’s political commentary in calypso tend to be more documentary than satire, which makes them somewhat boring , at times.
The Mighty Cypher was a master of political satire, and this humorous take on the previous year’s election by the “Clown Prince of Calypso” won him the Calypso Crown of Trinidad and Tobago in 1967.
Here ., from 1967 is a live performance of his winning calypso “Last Election”
As a bonus , this is an instrumental version of the calypso “Shaver Man”from the early 1950s by the Cyril Diaz Orchestra , which is the first hit that I’m aware of by Cypher.
The recording is a direct transfer from a 78″ recording.
Another classic from the man they called “The Clown Prince of Calypso” .
“Fresh Water Yankee” – A Trinidadian who has never left his country,or who’ve briefly visited the US and tries to impress by adopting an American accent.
Dillary Scott , The Mighty Cypher was an unparalleled master of the art of comedy and satire in calypso, and we must make sure his legacy lies on.
May he Rest in Peace.