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France

Published on November 28th, 2015 | by Ray Funk and Andrew Martin - Trinidad Guardian Newspapers

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French steelband undeterred by attacks

Despite the horrors of the terrorist attack on their city, the great Paris-based steelband Calypsociation is continuing to offer music and harmony in these tough times. The band is one of the largest and longest tenured steelbands in France. Known the world over for their musicianship and progressive arrangements, the band has recently released a tribute album to Calypso Rose featuring several never-before recorded steelband arrangements of calypso and soca classics by the calypsonian. The album, Calypsociation Steelband Plays Calypso Rose, is the band’s fourth album release since 2004 and is available for download on their website, iTunes, and throughout the Internet.

The album grew from drummer Mathieu Borgne’s relationship with both Calypsociation (where he is drummer, arranger, and captain) and Calypso Rose (for whom he played drum set at several concerts and festival appearances in past years). The album grew out of the friendship between the pair. Borgne recalls that it was Rose who first proposed the idea of creating an arrangement of Senior Citizen Day for Calypsociation.  “It’s one of my tunes that Boogsie wanted to arrange!” Rose noted, and with this, Borgne went to work.

One arrangement led to another, from the Calypso Rose road march classic More Tempo to Do Dem Back and many more, until there was enough material to fill an entire album. It became obvious to Borgne and Calypsociation that they had the material to record a tribute album to Calypso Rose.  The results are stunning, and Calypso Rose, too, was very pleased. “She loves the album and she wants to perform with them, maybe in Paris next time she will come, or in Trinidad!” Perhaps one of the best-known steelbands in France, Calypsociation has been together for over two decades. The roots of the band trace back to the late 1980s when Guillaume Kervel and Barthelemy Fougea went to Trinidad with some friends, and they fell in love with the music, culture, spirit and steelpan of Trinidad. The group brought a few steelpans back to Paris, and started learning the instruments. In 1993, Phase II Steel Orchestra toured France, and prior to returning to Trinidad, the band sold all the large steelpans (cellos, bass, guitars) to Calypsociation. With the addition of these instruments, Kervel and Fougea now had enough steelpans to create a steelband. They founded Calypsociation.

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