Vintage Calypso and The Steelband

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of vintage calypso music, and a thought occurred to me.

When we speak of the future of the art-form we should also address the music we play, it’s quality, and the most suitable music genre that the steelband can call it’s own.

We have an incredible catalogue of about seventy five years of calypso music, much of it composed with the steelband in mind.
Some of this music have been forgotten, may be unfamiliar to people under forty, and many of us have never heard this music on Pan.
However, this is music that was connected to the the growth and development of the steelband and yet for some obscure cultural reason steelbands refuse to draw and sample from that catalogue, and show it the respect we give to the musical libraries of long dead European composers.

Part of the reason for this of course is the steelband’s obsession with the “one tune competition “, which doesn’t allow for experimentation with music more focused on partying and entertainment but less on competition.
One of the decisions we must make is whether our primary musical output should be technically sound competition test pieces, or well arranged, enjoyable party music to entertain the masses.

Just a few more random thoughts….

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