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Monday, August 15, 2022

ACUK to launch Calypso in London book on 26 October


This year the London Calypso Tent enjoyed its best season yet. Now it has even more reason celebrate.

To mark the Tent’s silver jubilee, the Association of Calypsonians UK (formerly Association of British Calypsonians, ABC) will be launching a commemorative book at a special event at the Tabernacle, Powis Square, London W11, on Thursday 26 October. All are welcome and it’s free to attend.

Everyone who goes to the launch can collect their own free copy of Calypso in London. The attractive illustrated book not only includes the history of the Tent from 1992 to 2017, but also takes a backwards glance at the pioneering days of the 1960s 80s. To the best of ACUK’s knowledge, this is the first book that has ever been published solely on London’s calypso heritage.

That heritage stretches back much further than the founding of ABC in 1991. Renowned historian John Cowley (author of Carnival, Canboulay and Calypso) points out in his fascinating introduction that calypsonians were present in Britain 100 years ago and were active in the late 1930s.

Calypso in London also has short profiles of ABC/ACUK members past and present, a descriptive glossary and an appendix listing the Tent’s many Calypso Monarchs and Groovy Soca Monarchs. The book will appeal to diehard calypso fans and carnivalists, students of Black history, academics and anyone interested in the music of the Caribbean diaspora.

The launch event will include historic DVD footage of past events, talks on calypso’s extraordinary history, live calypso performances and an exhibition of photographs of the London Tent’s stars. If that has whetted your appetite, free refreshments will be provided!

There will be two sessions: one from 1.30pm to 4pm and the other from 8pm to 10.30pm, so be sure to choose either the afternoon session or the evening session when you book.

Calypso in London is just one part of a larger and longer project to record calypso’s history in the capital, and includes calypso-writing workshops, oral history sessions, a new website (www.acukheritage.co.uk) with an online ‘virtual’ archive, plus an exciting collaboration with the London Metropolitan Archives (facebook.com/londonmetropolitanarchives/) that will ensure the best of London’s calypso heritage is preserved for future generations to enjoy.

ACUK is appealing for anyone with material they’d be prepared to loan or donate, or memories to share, to get in touch and be part of this valuable project, which has been supported by generous grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Westway Trust, plus collaboration from Carnival Village and LMA.

As they say in the Tent – Kaiso! Kaiso!