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Baker's Dozen

Panning For Gold: Fimber Bravo's Favourite Music
Zakiya Mckenzie , March 3rd, 2021 10:13

In this week's Baker's Dozen, Zakiya Mckenzie speaks to steel pan legend Fimber Bravo about his favourite music, from Aretha Franklin to Stormzy and Johnny Cash; Sun-Ra, Hot Chip and Miles Davis


Calypso Rose – Far From Home
I started with a sister from Trinidad, Winifred Atwell, and I’ll end with another Trinidadian woman, Calypso Rose. I couldn’t hold my head in Trinidad if I choose a Baker’s Dozen without selecting a Calypsonian. Calypso Rose was not allowed to sing in the Calypso King competition because she was not a man. She would have been the first woman to win it in 1963, but she was barred from collecting the award. In 1978 she returned to the competition a winner and the name was changed from the Calypso King to the Calypso Monarch contest. Her songs stand up for women in a real macho world. ‘Leave Me Alone’ is a road march anthem demanding our sisters are free from groping and worse. She sings about being left alone to dance with their friends. “Boy don’t touch me, I there in the party enjoying my body, with my friends I am happy - so leave me alone”. ‘No Madam’ criticised the nasty way domestic servants were treated, she helped to prompt the Trinidad and Tobago government to pass a minimum wage for domestic servants requirement. She called out domestic violence in the song ‘Abatina’ which became one of her most popular songs. Calypso Rose told soca legend The Mighty Sparrow to stop singing sexist lyrics in his songs. This was a very brave thing to do to the king of all the Calypso kings in Trinidad. Bob Marley loved her and she went on tour with him three times. I love when Calypso Rose says “been breaking down walls ever since I was small,” it’s very true.