A FREE virtual lecture beckons: Calypso and Soca: The Sound of a People

Saturday, September 12, the SUNY-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development (SUNY-UWI CLSD) in partnership with the SUNY Empire State College’s Shirley Chisholm Center for Equity Studies is set to host the second session of an ongoing Community Engagement Lecture Series. This free virtual event, titled Calypso and Soca: The Sound of a People begins at 4:00 pm (EDT).

Music is an essential expression of culture and identity within the Caribbean diaspora and is one of the most widely consumed art forms around the world. The session will explore the musical traditions of Trinidad and Tobago with particular emphasis on Steel Pan, Soca, and Calypso—the rich history and roots of how Steel Pan, Soca and Calypso music evolved in the 1970s to become a post-colonial hybrid art form.

Departing from a traditional academic lecture, the event includes pillars of the field including innovators, musicians, and industry insiders, the likes of Etienne Charles, Recording Artist, Composer, Arranger, and Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University; Barbados’ Alison Hinds, popularly known as the “Queen of Soca”; Edwin Howell, Manager, Distribution and A&R Representative for VP Records; and Dahved Levy, Trailblazer in the field of broadcast media, Host of the “No. 1 Caribbean Show in the world”, Caribbean Fever on 107.5WBLS FM, NY.

Professor Brian Copeland, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St. Augustine Campus is among the distinguished panellists. Professor Copeland is renowned for his work on the Genesis Pan (G-Pan) and Percussive Harmonic Instrument (P.H.I.). For his research in the development of the G-Pan, Professor Copeland was awarded Trinidad and Tobago’s highest award in 2008: the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The P.H.I. gained popularity locally and internationally, having been used in international music videos and is a staple in many Carnival bands in Trinidad and Tobago.

The event title itself is adapted from Etienne Charles’ 7th studio album (with his blessings), released in March 22, 2019—Carnival: The Sound of a People. Commenting on the initiative, Co-Executive Director of the SUNY-UWI CLSD, Ann-Marie Grant said, “Traditionally, in a pre-COVID-19 world, the Labour Day Parade or West Indian Day Carnival would gather over two million people in Brooklyn, on the first Monday of September to celebrate the Carnival event in New York City. The celebrations were not only for entertainment but a major economic contributor to the local economy. With no such live event this year, this virtual dialogue offers the West Indian diaspora in New York, the Caribbean and beyond a front seat view of this vibrant, complex and textured art form from a variety of perspectives as presented by our distinguished panellists on a genre of music which has so eloquently described the various aspects of Caribbean life in all its lived experiences. My Co-Director of the SUNY-UWI CLSD, Dr. Latasha Brown and I are looking forward to presenting an exciting, entertaining and interesting experience for attendees. We invite the public to register now and join the conversation.”

To register for Calypso and Soca: The Sound of a People, visit https://www.esc.edu/thesoundofapeople

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