Before there was soca, reggae, or ska, calypso was the signature sound of the West Indies. In Trinidad & Tobago, competition between calypso singers has been a key part of Carnival for more than a century. The genre has had few stars brighter than McCartha Monica Sandy-Lewis.
Ms. Sandy-Lewis, who performs as Calypso Rose, was born in 1940. This past April, she played at Coachella – the first calypsonian and the oldest artist to grace that festival’s stage to date. That same month, she released the single Young Boy in collaboration with Caribbean superstar Machel Montano.
Calypso Rose’s career is all the more remarkable when one considers that she hails from Tobago; most T&T performers are from Trinidad, by far the larger of the twin islands. In an idiom with more than its share of macho posturing, she has blazed a trail for female vocalists. In fact, the annual Calypso King prize was renamed Calypso Monarch in 1978 when Her Majesty took top honors.
In recent years, she has spent a lot of time in France. Her 2017 album Far From Home – produced by Manu Chao – went platinum in that country. Parisians will have a chance to behold a legend when she plays L’Olympia on October 9th.
By the early 1960s, the bossa nova boom had fostered the image of Brazil as a sun-drenched playground, simultaneously sophisticated and laid back. But by the middle of that decade, the reality was anything but chill. Backed by the United States, a military coup ushered in an era of dictatorship.
The tropicalia movement emerged as a response. Younger artists fused Brazilian musical traditions with elements of the international counterculture. Caetano Veloso a singer and writer from Bahia, was a leading light of the genre. Arrested and forced into exile by the regime, Veloso returned to his homeland in the 70s, and his career has flourished continuously. On November 23rd, he will join his sons Moreno, Zeca, and Tom onstage at Sao Paulo’s Unimed Hall .
Seen through the lens of televised hype, spending New Year’s Eve in Times Square appears as the apex of holiday hedonism. Reality is very different.
When the ball drops at midnight, some privileged visitors bear witness from exorbitantly priced hotel rooms, or in the mediocre chain restaurants that dominate the district. Outside, security concerns mean the masses are packed into metallic holdings pens. Waiting for the broadcast to begin, they stand there for hours, without refreshment or access to sanitary facilities. The cameras may capture noisemakers and novelty hats, but seldom show the catheters and adult diapers. Yeah, it is that kind of party.
December nights in NYC are often frigid; so most New Yorkers tend to avoid the area. The good news is that this year, a warm front is forecast to roll north from the delta. On the evening of December 31st, New Orleans native Troy Andrews will bring his band to Port Chester.
Located about 30 miles from midtown Manhattan, the village is home to the historic Capitol Theatre. Better known as Trombone Shorty, Mr. Andrews has released 11 albums since 2002 and was a regular on the HBO series Treme. His brassy pyrotechnics first heated up the Capitol stage four years ago. The 2019/2020 edition will also feature the North Mississippi Allstars and Devon Gilfillian.