- Paperback: 518 pages
- Publisher: Frontline Distribution International (Feb 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0948390808
- ISBN-13: 978-0948390807
- Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.2 x 2.8 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,416,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A masterpiece of social history, Dr.Liverpool's book, "Rituals of Power & Rebellion -The Carnival Tradition in Trinidad & Tobago 1763-1962" is an invaluable addition to the scattered body of literature available on this topic. Hollis "Chalkie" Liverpool, has successfully managed to put into context, the social, political, economic and cultural forces which inadvertently came together to create the greatest show on earth. Rituals of Power & Rebellion is an in-depth study of the development of Trinidad carnival. It reveals that what appeared to be simply a musical bacchanal, was in fact the struggle of an oppressed people to maintain their cultural identity in a land of foreign domination, class struggle, economic deprivation and political strife, The Trinidad carnival provided an outlet for the maintenance of sanity and a powerful weapon to resist oppression & injustice.
Dr. Liverpool has done the people of Trinidad and Tobago a tremendous favour by making this book available for posterity. He has set a standard in a West Indian context, that is rivaled only by Dr. Williams' "Capitalism & Slavery" and Walter Rodney's "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa" in terms of his documentation of historical events. The extensive research that went into the writing of this book is beyond impressive and the fact that is was written by a son with the caliber of "Chalkie" as opposed to a foreign observer is a credit to West Indian scholarship.
This book should be read by anyone interested in the history of Trinidad and should be compulsory reading for students of West Indian history at the University level. To a griot and historian, I say Chuba Dubai.
J. Michael De Gale
Prof. Hollis "Chalkdust" Liverpool,
Rituals of Power & Rebellion. The Carnival of Trinidad and Tobago 1763 - 1962. Chicago: Research Associates School Times Publications and Frontline Distribution Int'l Inc., 2001. ISBN 0-94839-080-8
Dr. Hollis "Chalkdust" Liverpool has a natural talent for writing. The roots of the Carnival tradition, the history of calypso, the music, the dancing, and the masquerading date back to the place of origin, the homelands of the Africans, in the Western regions of Africa, before the period of slavery and forced migration to Trinidad. In the 18th and 19th century in Trinidad, the lyrics, the melodies, the tunes, the call/response style, everything related to calypso, were eventually affected by the Spiritual Baptists' arrival to Trinidad from the US. The Shango music and the African style of dancing from Africa were brought to Trinidad and Tobago by the slaves, and as a result of adaptation to their new environments, the Africans produced "the calypso". The Carnival and the calypso cannot be separated, for the Africans created their new style of masquerading and singing to vent their anger and frustrations from their oppression during their period of enslavement. "Rituals of Power and Rebellion" and the sequel "From the Horse's Mouth" are two books that go together and deserve recognition not only for the literary style, but for their authenticity as historical texts that shed light on a topic that few historians have discussed before. It is true that texts prior to these scholarly books were Eurocentric in their outlook. The Europeans style of masquerading was also brought by the French and others to Trinidad, but the survival of the Carnival tradition was mainly due to the Africans from Africa who created their new style of masquerading and singing in their new home in Trinidad and Tobago. Recently, Prof. Hollis "Chalkdust" Liverpool launched his book in Toronto, "From The Horse's Mouth: Stories of the history and development of the Calypso", published in Port of Spain, Trinidad: Juba Publications, 2003. ISBN 976-8194-13-8
Dr. Hollis Liverpool is currently a Cultural Anthropologist and Assistant Professor of Social Sciences at the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas. He is a Professor, a Calypsonian, an historian, a Calypso Monarch, a writer, an author of many books and has made suggestions in his book "From the Horse's Mouth" that the music and recordings of all the calypsonians from Trinidad and Tobago should be preserved for generations to come in the Archives. The Carnival and the calypso history are part of the culture of Trinbagonians and we must be proud to promote it as such. The birth of the T and T calypso has its own natural beauty. Dr. Liverpool says, and I put it succinctly, "If you don't buy a book for yourself, buy them for your children," and I agree with him. We must teach our kids the appropriate historiography of our country of birth. I enjoyed reading both these books, because now I have a greater understanding of Caribbean history, music, culture, and traditions. Trinidad and Tobago has calypso, kaiso, soca, chutney soca and many more styles of music yet to come.
Review by Henrietta Akit, a Trinidadian from Toronto. B.A. Honors in History, from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.
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