My first Rapso experience

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..

3canal backyard jam session

3canal backyard jam session

3canal backyard jam session

3canal backyard jam session

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’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.)

3canal backyard jam sessions

the flyer - a better picture of the painted wall...

3canal jouvert band

photos from 3canal's jouvert band..

3canal jouvert band

photo from 3canal's jouvert band


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” [1999] 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’ 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..

3canal backyard jam session

The crowd..

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, could say I’m officially a 3canal fan.

Can’t wait to rock my RAPSO shirt.


My rapso shirt!


the back of the shirt...word power riddum!

3canal will be performing at Bohemia lounge on 33 Murray Street in Woodbrook on January 27th and February 3rd.

Entrance is $50.

To learn more check out 3canal’s FB page here, and their event pages here and here.



Filed under Life in Trinidad

6 responses to “My first Rapso experience

  1. Cheyenne Baptiste

    Really insightful post Danielle! I am very pleased that you were able to experience and enjoy Rapso!
    Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  2. Rob

    Great post, thanks for sharing… hoping I can check it out next Friday!

  3. canal real mad. the only thing i don’t mind spending money on for carnival (besides alcohol) is a ticket to 3canal’s carnival show and a 3 canal tshirt. last year’s show was sick. waiting for it this year.

    let me also share with you some of our contribution to rapso. some people that we worked/workin with:

    check this short documentary by one of my friends done by an artist we produce for. a good description of what the focus of rapso is and a little extra perspective on the triniscene fuh yuh:

    hail mih fuh more stuffs when yuh ready.

  4. actually the first time i’ve seen the whole of that last video. that was actually a vid done by a dude who got the track online and did a shout out.

  5. oh… check out also this song that ah find real mad:

    and check this group on fb:

  6. SB

    thoroughly enjoyed reading this!!

Leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s