In its simplest forms, calypso is carnival music in Trinidad. Because it jams outrageous, calypso spread throughout the caribbean world and ultimately across the atlantic to England and Africa. From what we can hear, it goes back at least to the earliest years of recorded sound. The Lion, a dominant calypsonian, takes its carnival roots to make the claim that its true roots go back to the troubadours.
Calypso forms an astonishing parallel afro-diasporic universe that developed on a tiny island in the caribbean at the same time that Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, and others were inventing their own world of 34s, signifying monkeys, dry wells, honey drippers -- ya know: some gangsta shit. Calypso does just the same. Here's the dealio:
For starterscalypso is all about public competition among calypsonians, singers with crews of backing musicians. …