Thursday, May 05, 2016

Humboldt State Calypso Band

 Founded in 1986 by Dr. Eugene Novotney, the Humboldt State Calypso Band was the first ensemble of its kind in the entire California State University system.

As of spring 2016 marking the 30th anniversary of the Calypso Band at HSU, the Calypso Band now stands as one of the oldest and longest standing steelbands in the entire United States.

 The Humboldt State Calypso Band is a 100% acoustic group comprised of an orchestra of steelpans. The Humboldt Calypso Band prides itself in maintaining an accurate and authentic connection to the roots of the steelband movement and the innovative musicians of Trinidad & Tobago, the island nation that created and developed this unique percussion phenomenon.

 Many of the Humboldt State Calypso Bands’ original steelpans were built and tuned by Clifford Alexis, a Trinidadian native who’s work with steelbands in the Caribbean and the United States is legendary.

 The indigenous “Calypso”and “Soca” music performed by the Humboldt State Calypso Band represents the true voice of steelband music in the Caribbean, and steelband arrangements from Trinidad & Tobago greatly influence the group's repertoire and instrumentation. The Humboldt State Calypso Band has developed a relationship with some of Trinidad & Tobago’s most important steelband composers, most notably Ray Holman & Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, who have written many of the arrangements and original scores that the group performs.

Some alumni of the group have traveled to the West Indies, where they performed in the National Panorama Competition during Trinidad’s famous Carnival celebration, and performed in some of the best steelbands in the world, such as the Phase II Pan Groove, the Invaders, Silver Stars, Starlift, the Hummimgbird Pan Groove, and others. Other alumni have gone on to lead steelbands in communities, in public schools, at colleges and universities, and professionally throughout the United States.

 In addition to the Humboldt State Calypso Band’s regular performances in Humboldt county and throughout Northern California, the Calypso Band has undertaken tours to San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno, Bakersfield, Berkeley, Oakland, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego, Eugene, OR, and Seattle, WA.---Humboldt State Calypso Band

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