While the borough gears up for the annual
West Indian festivities on Labor Day weekend, Brooklyn Public
Library’s latest exhibit, "Calypso Music in Postwar America,"
explores the impact of the Trinidadian music sensation that swept
the nation from 1945 to 1960.
Curated by Ray Funk and Stephen Stuempfle, the display of more than 100 archival materials includes rare photographs, sheet music, songbooks, album covers and movie posters never before exhibited together, including a lobby card for Howard Koch’s 1957 film "Bop Girl Goes Calypso" (pictured), in which Bobby Troup plays a psychologist who predicts that calypso will supercede rock ’n’ roll in popularity.
The musical form, with its improvised lyrics, social commentary and complex rhythms, made a strong impact in Brooklyn, particularly in the 1950s, when the borough witnessed an explosion of West Indian immigration, according to the curators.
The "Calypso Music" artifacts trace the careers of calypso musicians in nightclubs, concerts, recording studios and movies. Among the artists showcased in the exhibit are Lord Invader, Sir Lancelot, the Duke of Iron, Macbeth the Great, Atilla the Hun, Lord Beginner and Lord Flea.
"Calypso Music in Postwar America," which is free and open to the public, is on display at the library’s Central Branch at Grand Army Plaza through Sept. 26.
Call (718) 230-2100 for further information.
Lisa J. Curtis