Christopher Columbus landed on Trinidad on July 31, 1498, during
his third voyage. At that time, the island was populated by a relatively
peaceful Arawak subgroup called Igneri, who engaged in primitive
agriculture, and the fierce Caribs.
The people of Trinidad and Tobago enjoy a rich cultural tradition.
The distinctive West Indian musical form of the calypso originated
in Trinidad during the 1800's.
The calypso music, which is now part of the West Indian people's
way of life, is a cultural and artistic expression of the political,
economic, and social situation. It has been described as a development
of African folk music, with French creole and Spanish influences.
The rhythmic music varies from a moderately slow to a fast and pulsating
tempo. The lyrics also vary from topical political issues to witty
satire, sexual innuendo, and comedy. Calypso mostly consists of
verses and a chorus or refrain.
Calypso is often an accompaniment for dancing, whether in the street,
at a Trinidadian nightclub, in a dance hall, or at a fete (party).
One famous dance performed to a calypso rhythm is the limbo.