Rapso mesmerises German students

October 30, 2000

THE Department of Music Science at Germany’s Koln University last week retained local rapso artist Brother Resistance to lecture to final year students on the art-form.

Rapso, a hybrid of rap and calypso, has emerged as a legitimate art, with Brother Resistance filling the top slot in the wake of the 1990 death of its founder, Lancelot Layne.

Last week, the three-man rapso group 3-Canal took the lion’s share of awards at the Sunshine Awards for Caribbean music, which was held in Manhattan, New York.

Resistance’s works have attracted international appeal and are particularly popular in Europe, where he campaigns annually. In 1995, his composition “Mother Earth” was adopted as the official theme for the Brazil summit on the global environment.

His guest-lecture at Koln U, which lasted for 90 minutes, was presented as an official tutorial at the Department of Music Science, where it formed part of an ongoing study entitled “The Hip-Hop experience and it‘s influence throughout the world.”

Koln’s music department head, Oliver Seibt, said Bro Resistance’s presentation included the history of rapso and its place in the oral tradition of Trinidad and Tobago and the world.

Outlining the contribution of the Caribbean region to the development of the Hip-Hop experience in North America, he cited references to local characters from the Trinidad Carnival folk tradition, including the Chantuelle, Pierrot Grenade and Midnight Robber.

“His presentation challenged the documentation of US music industry writers and laid claim for the ‘Midnight Robber’ to be considered as the first rapper and in fact the originator of the speed-rap style.

Resistance also identified an organic relationship between Rapso, Dub Poetry and the Hip-Hop experience, arguing that they all came from the same source—the Griot in the African tradition and the drum, Seibt said.

Resistance concluded his presentation with a short performance, demonstrating the call and response technique of Rapso as well as the poetic nature of its lyrical content and structure.

Terry-J at I-Level