16 Calypso Songs For Teaching

Calypso is a genre of music that is Caribbean. The History of Calypso is very interesting, and language plays a very important part in this music. The music is influence by all aspects in society – political, economical, social, and cultural. Calypso began in the mid-19th century with roots from the African slaves and the French planters. It was originally sung in patois (French creole) and later in English as English became the official language of the country. The early calypsonians were considered like royalty as it is reflect in their names.

Your calypso name is given to you by your peers, based on your style. In the old days they tried to emulate British royalty. There was Lord Kitchener, Lord Nelson, Duke. When I started singing, the bands were still using acoustic instruments and the singers would stand flat footed, making a point or accusing someone in the crowd with the pointing of a finger, but mostly they stood motionless. When I sing, I get excited and move around, much like James Brown, and this was new to them. The older singers said “Why don’t you just sing instead of moving around like a little Sparrow.” It was said as a joke, but the name stuck.” — Mighty Sparrow

Teaching with calypso

Today, there are a large number of songs within the Calypso genre. They can be used as a tool for teaching and learning. Children learn by songs very well, and calypso has been overlook for far too long by teachers within the Caribbean. Calypso is part of the culture of the islands; and we should not shy away from making it part of a teaching aid. This idea was most supported by Leonid Francis; and to his pleasure the Ministry of Education acknowledged and sponsored a workshop where Mr. Francis was able to explain to other teachers how this can be done.

Many calypso songs cover a wide variety of subject topics – from Language Arts to History and Social Studies. Most likely, this is one way the young generation can develop an appreciation for their culture; and encourage their participation in the many aspects of their culture. I find Mr. Francis idea brilliant. Thus, we have selected a number of songs we believe could help teachers accomplish their teaching goals.

The following are 16 songs that can help teachers teach various topics. There are countless others and perhaps over time we might build on this list.


Bring Back The Old Time Days – Nappy Mayers

Jean and Dinah – Mighty Sparrow

Federation – Mighty Sparrow

Portrait of Trinidad – Mighty Sniper

Journey – Tambu

Trinidad, The Land of Calypso – Roaring Lion

King Liar – Lord Nelson

Feel to Party – Black Stalin

Plant the Land – Lord Shorty

Last Train – Duke of Iron

Far From Home – Calypso Rose

The Hammer – David Rudder

Love Thy Neighbour – Roaring Lion

Sir Garfield Sober – Mighty Sparrow

Sip and Chat – Lord Relator

Don’t Cry For Me – Denyse Plummer