How Trumpet, Trombone, and Saxophone will Blow your Mind
Besides percussive, like elements and rattles, trombones, horns, and trumpets were the basic instruments, as well as a few string instruments, like the cello was used. Brass bands build the background music for calypsonians in calypso tents and during live performances. Often one band was chosen for each calypso tent.
Tobagonian calypsonian King Wellington, a name since the 1950s, will describe in his song the vibrant Carnival feeling out from his own point of view. The song was released in 1973 on a vinyl record.
And if you have a little more time, here is a full concert of Mighty Sparrow for you. For nearly 50 minutes, the international calypso superstar, with origin in Grenada, has been living a long time his life in Trinidad and Tobago, providing the sounds for generations and a lot of inspiration for uprising artists. The brass band is backing the singer in an incredible mixing from song to song. Enjoy the live experience, as it is very seldom with vibrant interaction of band and artist, again.
There is still so much that needs to be discussed here in detail, especially the influence of jazz, funk, and soul on brass bands. But with the progress of the virtual archive, you will be able to read more about it.
In present days, instrumentalists are thriving, as band, or as solo artists. Ricardo Seales is a great example. Born in Tobago, the musician is able to play different brass instruments. Enjoy the upcoming cover of Freetown Collectives „Kassandra“, released in 2021.
Soca music is already great, but even greater to hear it with a band, performed on a big stage with a band, and in a colorful live show. Even though many musicians nowadays perform with the original track playing (like a playback in the background). A phenomenon, that I still try to learn to understand. So let’s say, once the stage performance is done right, soca can sound fabulous in a live experience. I have no issues with the inclusion of DJ sounds, but often you would love to hear the real thing, and not watch the artist turning into an MC animating his own song, while it’s playing in the background. The time when at least so-called TV tracks have been used (instrumental tracks with background singer vocals only), seems to be quite rare.
Still, there are great exceptions. I am sharing a virtual concert with you by Kes the Band in a very unusual place, including an amazing introduction to the drive and power of music. The band consists of three brothers and is releasing music since 2005. They fuse soca with a little bit of reggae and a little bit of rock. In their constellation, there are no wind instruments again, but I believe, if they would include some, it would be fire! Enjoy!
As much as I hope you enjoyed the concert and introduction, as much I hope you go ahead learning about Trinidad and Tobago’s vibrant music.
TT MUSIC LIBRARY - VIRTUAL MUSIC ARCHIVE | JUKEBOX TT
Note: This article is a "work in progress". With every visit, more content will be added. Get in touch, if you have something to share.
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Jocelyne Guibault (2007): Governing Sound – The cultural politics of Trinidad’s Carnival Music
University of Chicago, Ian Randle Publishers
John Mendes (2003): Coté ci Coté La – Trinidad & Tobago Dictionary, Medianet Publishing
Gerard Besson (2011): Calypso, Calypso Music
Ronald C. Emrit: Calypso History
Calypsoworld.org: Calypso in Trinidad – Carnival and Musical Traditions (offline nowadays)
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