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Wilmoth Houdini

Biography

Wilmoth Houdini was the most recorded Calypso singer during the formative period of the 1930s. His rhythmic, flowing voice has a haunting quality that stays with the listener. Wilmoth started off singing in Lionel Belasco's orchestra, quickly establishing his name and embarking on a solo career. Singing topical songs about women, gender relations, natural disasters, social and racial justice and plain old party jams, his songs play like an alternative history of Trinidad. Backed by percussion, guitars, and clarinets, this typical Calypso orchestration is not unlike a Caribbean version of a ragtime band. His popularity was based on witty lyricism that incorporates wordplay, satirical references, and risque overtures. Though he has long since passed, his music not only still entertains, it educates.

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