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Trinidad & Tobago - Culture

Trinidad & Tobago Culture

Calypso, a medium for political and social satire, has roots on Trinidad. It stems back to the days when slaves sang in patois, mocking their colonial masters. The Mighty Sparrow, long-time king of calypso, is a Trinidadian native, as are many of the Caribbean's up-and-coming calypso stars. Today, the music of indentured servants from India has also become an integral part of Trinidad's musical repertoire.

Integral to Trinidad's outrageous Carnival festivities is the music of the steel drum (pan), which was invented in Trinidad half a century ago using the hammered-out ends of discarded oil drums. Panyards, where steel drum bands practice in the evenings, abound in Port of Spain and, particularly in the weeks preceding Carnival, the decibels go through the roof.

A number of internationally known writers hail from Trinidad, including VS and Shiva Naipaul, Samuel Selvon and CLR James. St Lucian native Derek Walcott, the 1992 Nobel prize winner for literature, lived in Trinidad for much of his adult life and is an active advocate for local theatre projects.

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