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Soca & Calypso

Soca & Calypso

in North Kensington Part 1

 

The Portobello Wall ‘Rhythm and Sound’ Installation features Calypso and Soca in North Kensington.

Part 1 of our feature includes a free digital download of the book, Calypso in London by Stephen Spark, which includes an excellent essay by renowned historian John Cowley on the story of the music’s arrival in Britain. Get your e-book here for free, but only for this month. If you would like to purchase a hard copy, it can be obtained online at https://www.acukheritage.co.uk/product/calypso-in-london/

Calypso and Soca are Carribbean cultural artforms. They form part of the wider celebrations of The Notting Hill Carnival in West London. For calypso-lovers, there’s only one place to be on an August Friday evening: the London Calypso Tent. The ‘tent’ is now the stage of The Tabernacle in Powis Square in W11. The term harks back to the days when calypso was the Caribbean’s rebel music played in a ‘hall’ of bamboo poles roofed in palm leaves.

Pinning down the music’s origins more precisely is challenging, but it’s likely it developed in the Caribbean as a creolised hybrid of different traditions from various parts of Africa. Some Africans freely migrated to Trinidad after Emancipation, and these arrivals would have been able to retain more of their own language and culture, including music and dance. Other musical influences reached Trinidad from neighbouring islands, particularly Martinique, and Venezuela.

The music’s very name is a clue to its complex history. ‘Calypso’ dates only from the late 1890s, before which it was known as cariso or caliso, a Spanish word for a topical song. Earlier still, many researchers argue, it was kaiso, derived from a Hausa word meaning ‘bravo!’ The word lives on, as people still call out “kaiso” at the London Tent after a particularly fine performance.

Today the London Calypso Tent remains the only one in Europe. From the moment the Divettes take to the stage and the ABC Band strikes up, the atmosphere in the hall crackles with anticipation. Britain’s talented calypsonians keep alive this marvellous artform that for more than two centuries has been pricking pomposity, mocking the powerful, challenging injustice and making the audience laugh.

Part 2 will feature the local artists and their music, as well as interviews and videos, and a winners of the London Calypso Tent timeline for more than 25 years, and more. Subscribe to our newsletter for the latests news and events.

Calypso in London

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Portobello Radio
Certain Blacks
Carnival Village Trust
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Colour Sonic
 

Through the Wall

The Portobello Wall installation Ryhthm and Sound is accompanied by a rolling programme of musical events and participatory opportunities from 2019-20. A fantastic variety is on offer, from informative digital sound engineering sessions, to steel-pan music workshops. and free digital downloads. With the Month of October fast approaching there’s no better time to let you know what’s through the wall

To celebrate black history mornth we will be making available a free digital e-book titled, Calypso in London by Stephen Spark. The book is a great record of the history of Calypso in North Kensington. Just head over to our Calypso and Soca in North Kensington page here to get your free copy.

In the Community in the Mix Sound Arts Media in partnership with Carnival Village Trust have been running music and sound technology workshops since 1999 in London and have been doing a series of drop-in workshops at the Yaa Centre in London for all ages since 2013.  Drawing on the network of producers musicians and engineers, the workshops focuses on all aspects of sound technology using Apple computers looking at software such as Ableton Live, Avid’s Pro Tools, and more. The work shops will be informing participants about the availability of different creative software and hardware used in today’s technological artistic environment.

The Workshops will be an open/drop-in work shop on Thursday the 24th Oct and Friday 25th from 11am till 2pm than 3pm till 5.30pm this is mainly for young people from 8 to 16. years old last class of the day will be from 6.30 till 9pm and this will be for adults.

Adobe software, photo shop, illustrator, Adobe premiere and  apples Final Cut Pro. Music software logic pro, Ableton live and Pro Tools will all be on show with Master sessions from leading artists and DJ’s such as Tony Gab Robinson  from Aswad,  Guitaris  Cameron Pierre, and Greg Hunter, digital electronic guru. You can register for a place on our Event page here   or on  Eventbrite.com.  Please register early as places are limited. For all our up coming events and workshops please sign-up to our newsletter or drop us a email 

 

 

Partners & Supporters

 
Colour Sonic
Portobello Radio
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Carnival Village Trust
Certain Blacks
 

First Post!

Welcome to our first post.

The Portobello Wall Public Art Project

The Portobello Wall Public Art Project is an annual commission for a 100m stretch of brick wall linking two of the most vibrant and well-known market areas in London: Portobello Road and Golborne Road. 2019 marks the twelfth edition of the Portobello Wall Public Art Project. Proposals were invited via open submission that responded to the theme of Rhythm and Sound:

‘From the dance-steps and steel-pan beats of Notting Hill Carnival to the bustle and banter of Portobello and Golborne Road markets; from momentous performances at the Tabernacle to the original Rough Trade Record shop; Rhythm and Sound is woven into the rich cultural heritage, identity and place of North Kensington.’

Guitar Man

Guitar Man © Wayne Crichlow

2019 Commission Winner – Tony Thomas

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Arts and Culture Service was delighted to announce Tony Thomas as the winner of the twelfth edition of the Portobello Wall Public Art Project. His winning proposal embraces technology to make digital links between historic and present day images representing ‘Rhythm and Sound’. Using QR codes and augmented reality Tony brings the sounds of Portobello Road and the surrounding area in North Kensington to life.

Pan Man Kevin Joseph

Image: The Pan Man ©

In Tony’s words, “The commission has allowed me to connect to many different communities in West London. Each one makes and enjoys different music from around the world. This includes leading London jazz players, Steelpan from the Caribbean, punk, and digital music. Portobello Road reflects the richly diverse community of London and it has been great to be welcomed by all and engage them in my work. Rhythm and Sound in North Kensington is a community-wide positive thread that runs through the history of the area and is worth celebrating. As John McLaughlin says, ‘The mathematics of rhythm are universal. They don’t belong to any particular culture’.”

With Thanks: Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Arts Service, Carnival Village Trust, Certain Blacks, The Audio Engineer Society, Portobello Radio, The British Association of Steel Bands, Coloursonics, Shannon Ribbons, and Jean-Paul Pirie for technical direction. QR Code illustrator: Martin Abel.

Photographers and illustrators: Stephen Spark, Wayne Crichlow, Jason Garcia, Benjamin Salmon, Carl Gabriel, Peoples Sound, Tara Hobson, Kevin Joseph, Nick Anthony Fiorenza, Moose Azim, Bread and Shutter, Collin Hill, Jim Linwood, John Joe Coffey, Oxford Gardens Primary School, Benjamin Salmon, and Victor Novais.
Special thanks to Janet Kendall, Greg Hunter, and Emelia Thomas.

 

Hip Hop © Shaban, Krew B Boys

Hip Hop © Shaban, Krew B Boys

Outreach

The installation is accompanied by a rolling programme of musical events and participatory opportunities from 2019-20. A fantastic variety is on offer, from informative digital sound engineering sessions, to steel-pan music workshops. So for all the latest news and evevnts subscribe to our news letter or just check back.

 

 

 

Partners & Supporters

 
Colour Sonic
Portobello Radio
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Carnival Village Trust
Certain Blacks