I was walking outside of my office when I saw that the same wall that previously had remnants of erotic art week on it, had been painted over into..this..
I looked around for someone to ask about what the #Occupy2012* signified..and managed to find the painter – Benedict Fermin – somewhere in the back. He told me, “You know the Occupy Movements that are taking place around the world? Well, this is 3canal‘s interpretation of the Occupy Movement. It’s meant to signify and encourage freedom of thought and freedom of expression,,which is what 3canal’s music stands for. Are you familiar with 3canal? With Rapso?”
To which I replied, “No..I’m not! I’m new to Trinidad..Who are they? What is Rapso?”
“Rapso is a form of ‘conscious music’..(note: for those of you (my int’l readers mainly) who don’t know what conscious music is..it’s a type of music that promotes social change, tolerance, and spiritual growth. source). And 3canal is a Rapso band. They are going to be performing here for the next three friday nights in a row,,you should definitely come out and listen to some of their music, and learn more about their Jouvert band. 3canal attracts a very diverse crowd..come and listen on Friday, you’ll enjoy it!”
(note: again, for those of you unfamiliar with Jouvert, I wrote a post about it here.)
And that’s just what I did..but not before doing some research on Rapso first..I was very interested to learn more about this type of music as I had never heard about it before. And after asking some of my friends about 3canal, they describe the band as “defining the Rapso genre.” “3canal is synonymous with Rapso..they are one and the same” they would say…
I wanted to dig deeper into Rapso and it’s origins..and this is what I found:
What is Rapso?
There is a popular myth that rapso is the fusion of American rap music with soca, hence the name rapso. Sounds plausible, but it’s not true. Rapso is a unique style of street poetry from Trinidad and Tobago that originated in the 1970’s. Rapso was created to related to the everyday experiences of everyday people. The late Lacelot Layne is credited as the founder of this genre.
Also, according to 3canal, “Rapso is conscious music and is more of a philosophy and stance than an identifiable musical signature. It has been termed “The Power of the Word in the Rhythm of the Word,” “The Poetry of Calypso” and “The Consciousness of Soca.”
During the 1970’s Trinidad and Tobago experience much political and social unrest. The 1970’s saw the rise of the Black Power Movement and a corresponding pro-African sentiment. Trade unions also began to take shape. This is the environment that also gave birth to Rapso. Some of the first Rapso songs were chanted on the picket lines.ta
The article went on to talk about Cheryl Byron and Brother resistance – some of the founding elders of Rapso…and how bands like 3canal which have combined the positive messages of Rapso music with dance rhythms, have done much to popularize Rapso music. source
According to their website, ‘3canal began their musical journey in 1997, with the song “Blue”, a song which marked a turning point for the music industry of TnT. It became a benchmark for the new Sound of the music of Trinidad’s Carnival. Two years later they recorded “Talk yuh Talk”  a hard hitting response to all “mocking pretenders of society”. This went on to become an anthem for the dispossessed and voiceless.’
Last night, they were performing some of their new releases, ‘Can’t Done,’ ‘The Pappyshow,’ ‘Sacrifice,’ and ‘Work it Out.’
I managed to tape them performing a piece of ‘Can’t Done..’ check it out! (But my favorite song is definitely ‘The Pappyshow’..it has so much vibessss! I would’ve recorded 3canal performing it, but my camera ran out of memory! 😦 )
I so should’ve gone up on stage..
My first Rapso experience was..refreshingly different. The music, the vibes, the people. You can’t help but smile when you watch 3canal perform.. their music is infectious. And unlike other artists that I’ve seen perform in Trinidad, you can tell that they perform with a purpose.. A purpose bigger than winning Soca Monarch, signing an endorsement contract, and encouraging slackness.. Their purpose is to inspire social change and enlightened thinking..all while having a damn good time.
So yeah,..you could say I’m officially a 3canal fan.
Can’t wait to rock my RAPSO shirt.
3canal will be performing at Bohemia lounge on 33 Murray Street in Woodbrook on January 27th and February 3rd.
Entrance is $50.