August 1, 2022

Calypso Stars Workshop


Calypso workshop

Photo by Brian Medina


The workshop is a basic calypso composing exercise, using a series of rhyming couplets and repetition to tell a story in eight lines of poetry. The workshop leaders will be the well-known bandleader and entertainer Shak Shak, award-winning composer Roger “Rajiman” Gibbs and recording artist and educator Henry “King Cosmos” Gomez.   

They will give the participants a brief background on the transition of calypso in Trinidad and Tobago from Patois to a combination of Patois and English, then to English. They will also explain some social conditions that led to rivalry among the calypsonians, “picong,” and the many calypso wars that ensued. The calypsonians chose names like Attila the Hun, Lord Executor, the Iron Duke and the Duke of Marlborough. Some, if not all, came from the Chantuelle tradition of stick fighting.   

Rajiman Gibbs and King Cosmos will demonstrate the structure of Sans Humanite through singing and acoustic guitar accompaniment. They will encourage the participants to sing the “break” together as a warm-up.  They will then solicit topics from the participants and ask them to choose which ones they want to compose individual our group Sans Humanities. Rajiman Gibbs and King Cosmos will accompany those willing to show what they created. They will encourage everyone to “la la” during breaks or band choruses.  

About Roger Gibbs

Roger Gibbs began his career as the lead singer of the Sandpebbles, a popular Caribbean band in the 1970s. He worked as Cultural Affairs Officer, Ministry of Information and Culture and as the Barbados and Music Secretary, Carifesta. In Toronto, Canada, since 1986, he worked as a performing member of COBA (Collective of Black Artists), a leading dance theatre company.   

Gibbs has served on the board of the Organization of Calypso Artistes and the board of the Festival Management Committee, the organizers of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival (Caribana). He received a special award for outstanding contributions to the growth and development of calypso in Canada.   

He has recorded two solo albums, two with his classic calypso band Shak Shak, and a folksong collection with brother John titled Bim – Folk Songs of Barbados. Gibbs has presented papers and university lectures in Canada, Barbados and the UK on Calypso and Barbadian folk music. In 2017, in partnership with Gloucestershire Archives, UK, he successfully submitted a rare Barbadian folk song to UNESCO’s Memory of the World registry. His research has uncovered previously unknown late 19th-century Barbadian folksongs in Panama. 

Dates & Times

August 1
12pm – 2pm


Lakeside Terrace

235 Queens Quay West
Toronto ON

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Keywords MusicWorkshop