6. Trinidad, The Land of Calypso – Roaring Lion

Roaring Lion was born Rafael de Leon (1908-1999) in the Caura Hills of northern Trinidad. Some other popular songs are Ugly Woman, Mary Ann and Netty, Netty. His “If you wanna be happy” was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 18, 1963. He had an illustrious career, even entertaining the U.S President Franklin D Roosevelt at the Walforf Astoria in New York. When he was asked about his country, he responded “The Land of Calypso“. He is the grandfather of an American actor and television personality, Alfonso Ribeiro.

Teaching Point

This song can be used as a teaching tool for Geography and Social Studies. It can be used to help identify the differences in cultures and the meaning of nationalism.

Song: Trinidad, The Land of Calypso

Lyrics: Trinidad, The Land of Calypso

People are interested to know where calypso originated
People are interested to know where calypso originated
Some say it came from Cuba, some said British Guyana
Some contend seriously it was sung by Moses crossing the Red Sea
But ah told dem…

No, no, oh, no, Trinidad is the land of Calypso
No, no, oh no, Trinidad is the land of Calypso

It was a serious contention that was causing some real confusion
Some said it’s Japanese or the folksong of ancient Chinese
A fellow said he is certain Delilah used to sing calypso to Sampson
One said he heard when Nero was burning Rome, he sang calypso
But ah told him…

No, no, oh, no, Trinidad is the Land of Calypso
No, no, oh, no, Trinidad is the Land of Calypso

One said that in India they sung calypso when charming cobra
Another said that Elijah sang calypso in the chariot of fire
They argued with one another, trying to find out the owner
They mention every country, all but the land of La Trinity
But ah told dem…

No, no, oh, no, Trinidad is the Land of Calypso
No, no, oh, no, Trinidad is the Land of Calypso

Excitement reached such a tempo when I said that the calypso
Is an ancient French ballad that was adapted by Trinidad
A fellow said if you please, it was sung by Espinosa and Socrates
And Hannibal sang a calypso when crossing the Alps to meet Scipio…

No, no, oh, no, Trinidad is the Land of Calypso
Jump high, jump low, Trinidad is the Land of Calypso

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