Posts Tagged harry belafonte

Featured Artist – Jimmy and the Parrots

Posted in Featured Artist of the Week, Island Enthusiasts, Meeting of the Minds, Pirates, Trop Rock Artists, Trop Rock Happenings, Trop Rock Radio | Comments Off on Featured Artist – Jimmy and the Parrots


Grab your beach chair, your suntan oil, and your favorite drink, and get ready for a trip to the islands! From the West Indies and Jamaica to cities all over the US, Jimmy and the Parrots have been playing to delighted crowds for over 10 years. The band has performed at the annual Meeting of the Minds Parrot Head conventions in Key West, Florida, as well as well-known Key West venues such as Schooner Wharf, Sloppy Joes, The Rum Barrel, and Rick’s Cafe. Additionally, the band has rocked the original Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Café stage on Duval Street several times to rave reviews.

Internationally, the band has traveled to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Basseterre, St. Kitts, West Indies, Cap Cana, Dominican Republic, and the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. They’ve been part of two Yea Mon cruises; the first found them performing on board as well as during our port stop in Nassau, Bahamas, at Senor Frogs. Our next cruise will have them performing during our port stop in Key West; there will will take the stage at the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon.

The title track from their debut CD, “Yea Mon,” was included in a beach music compilation CD entitled, “Thongs in the Key of Life, Vol. II.” In October 2004, they released their CD of all-original tunes, “Better Than New,” to rave reviews. In March 2006, they released “Island Jam,” a 3-CD set, which has already sold over 40,000 copies nationwide. That was followed up with another 3-CD set, “Sun Jams, and most recently, the band released another CD of original tunes, “Back to the Bayou.”

One of the most requested Jimmy Buffett cover bands in the country, Jimmy and the Parrots perform not only all the great Buffett songs you love, they also play new and classic rock ‘n roll, as well as outstanding original songs written by lead singer/guitarist Jimmy Maraventano. Their cover songs include favorites by the Beach Boys, Zac Brown Band, Toby Keith, Jerry Jeff Walker, Harry Belafonte, and Bob Marley, among many others. The band truly appeals to all ages and all musical tastes.

Jimmy and the Parrots wrote a beautiful anthem to commemorate the SS United States . The Conservancy would like to personally thank Jimmy Maraventano and his band of Parrots: Lance Hyland Stark, Jimmy Maraventano, Jr., and Hal B. Selzer.

Additionally a personal thank you to Manager Mary Beth Rotella for providing the lyrics which follow.

Words and Music by Jimmy Maraventano
Copyright 2010

She floats as only she can
Proud and majestic is she
Colors of grandeur none can compare
Could you picture her on the high sea

Kings and queens were the guests of her time
Persons of fortune and fame
Can you recall the time it was
When the whole word would utter her name

She’s a symbol of America
Built with American hands
She cuts through the seas with amazing ease
She stills holds the Blue Riband

Flagship of our nation
The strongest and fastest to date
We cannot stand by we will not accept
That this is to be her fate

Her contours split the horizon
Defying the endless tides
Though faded and rusting you’ll see right through
Her beauty her grace and her prime

But now broken, alone, no place to call home
She sits and wait patiently
To ride the waves, fly her flags
Fulfill her destiny

She’s a symbol of America
Built with American hands
She cuts through the seas with amazing ease
She stills holds the Blue Riband

Flagship of our nation
The strongest and fastest to date
We cannot stand by we will not accept
That this is to be her fate

For fifty odd years she continues to fight
The ravages of the sea
Time will win out as it always does
Fade into history

Now is the time is to hear her call
Let’s end these years of neglect
A second chance to serve again
She deserves at least that much respect

For she’s a symbol of America
Built with American hands
She cuts through the seas with amazing ease
She stills holds the Blue Riband

A symbol of America
Her namesake the United States
Let’s do this for our country
Before it is too late.

A symbol of America.

“Honest to God, I loved Jimmy & the Parrots more than anybody I saw all weekend. And as you know, everybody else was great too! The energy on stage, the sound, the songs, everything, loved it! Can’t wait to see them again sometime in the future.”

Dennis “DK” King
Island Time Radio Show, WBWC 88.3 FM
Berea, OH

“Our Beach Party was a success, and we’d like to personally extend our thanks to you and the members of Jimmy and the Parrots for providing us with the music to guide our night along. We estimate more than 550 people attended this year’s inaugural event. Your upbeat attitude and harmony kept the event running smoothly. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all of you and congratulate you on a job well done!”

Lisa O’Neill
Ocean County Parks and Recreation Department
Toms River, NJ

“Jimmy and The Parrots were fabulous. Guests of all ages were dancing in place, moving and grooving as they walked around the show. I even noticed that the catering staff was choreographing their food and drink service to the beat.

One senior executive at PNC commented to me that she thought it was the best Flower Show Dinner yet because of the band — she thought Jimmy and The Parrots made the party. That is quite a compliment considering PNC has been doing this event for 15 years.

It was a pleasure working with you all. ”

Barbara Sheehan
Sheehan Events
West Chester, PA

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The Roots of Trop Rock – Calypso Music

Posted in Island Enthusiasts, Reggae Roots Music | Comments Off on The Roots of Trop Rock – Calypso Music
Photo: Calypso



Calypso developed during the 19th century with roots in Trinidad’s Carnival. It grew out of the various styles of Carnival music, including ribald songs, traditional drumming and stick-fighting songs, first sung in French Creole and by the turn of the century sung in English.

These tunes were originally sung by chantwells, singers who led carnival masquerade bands in call and response in tents in the weeks leading up to Carnival and on the streets during Carnival itself. In the 1920s, calypso was transformed into a more ballad style of political and social commentary. The singers no longer led the masquerade bands performed in the tents as shows rather than rehearsals for the street carnival. A strong crop of calypso singers emerged in this period all taking on warrior like pseudonyms including Roaring Lion, Atilla the Hun, Lord Beginner, Growling Tiger, King Radio and Executor. These calypsonians wrote and sang sophisticated songs and performed in competing tents during the Carnival season of the ’30s.

Although a few calypsos were recorded in the first two decades of the 20th century, the major break came with the 1934 recording trip to New York after Carnival by Roaring Lion and Atilla the Hun. Their recording brought international notice to calypso and won respect at home. In addition to the recordings, Lion and Atilla were taken under the wing of Rudy Valle, who brought them important exposure at his New York nightclub and on his Saturday night radio broadcast. That session yielded two classics: Lion’s “Ugly Woman,” which was later featured in a Hollywood musical and rewritten into a rhythm-and-blues hit, and Atilla’s “Graf Zepplin,” a celebration of the airship coming to Trinidad in the fall of 1933, a song still sung today.

For the rest of the decade, calypsonians went to New York each year to record and numerous field trips were made to Trinidad. By 1938, Time proclaimed a calypso boom in the United States. However, it didn’t really seem to happen until the Andrews Sisters’ version of Lord Invaders’ “Rum and Coca Cola” became popular during World War II: Despite being banned from the radio, it was one of the best-selling records of the war era. This song was a watered-down version of a sharp commentary on the ill effects of the American presence in Trinidad during the war. Still, it provided enormous exposure to calypso and sparked even more interest that led to an increase of recordings in the United States and England as well as the increased travel of calypsonians to both locations.

In 1957, the Calypso album by Harry Belafonte sparked a short-term calypso craze in the United States and to a lesser extent around the world despite the fact that most of the album was not calypso. For six months, the American entertainment industry rushed out dozens of singles and albums and three movies were produced with calypso themes. A craze for calypso dancing was born and it caused many nightclubs to change their décor and seek out any calypsonians they could find. The craze fizzled out quickly but not before calypso had entered the music conscious of many people around the world.

In 1956 a young Trinidadian singer named the Mighty Sparrow declared, “Yankee gone, Sparrow take over now” in his hit song “Jean and Dinah,” referencing the declining presence of U.S. servicemen in the country after WWII. Sparrow all but took over calypso from leading lights like Lord Melody (with whom he had a delightful duel in song) and the comic genius Spoiler. He created a new sound and style, one that was more melodic and brought a new excitement to the calypso tents with memorable albums of great songs that were heard throughout the Caribbean.

The other great calypsonian of the time was Lord Kitchener who had gone to England in 1948 and was a major force during the Fifties with his recordings of calypsos were popular throughout the Caribbean and in Africa. With Independence, Lord Kitchener returned and the two led competing tents of great singers during a golden era of calypso in the ’60s and ’70s with other masters of the art form: Duke, Stalin, Cristo, Cypher, Chalkdust and others. In the late ’70s, a whole new style, soca, was created by Lord Shorty (aka Ras Shorty I), Shadow and others. These artists brought a range of influences, from Indian music to R&B, and melded them into a more dance-driven, less-lyric-oriented style that has since evolved quite a bit apart from calypso. More recently artists like David Rudder have created a unique style merging elements of calypso and soca, and new forms like rapso exert a strong influence.

In the last decade Extempo competitions have emerged, where calypsonians are asked to compose and sing on the spot on any subject. A master calypsonian like Gypsy has made this art form his own. Until the 1960s, there were few women singing calypsos but with pioneers like Calypso Rose and Singing Francine and current masters like Singing Sandra, the situation has changed and women sing many of the strongest calypsos.

In Trinidad the crowds at calypso tents are older and not as well attended as the large and younger-leaning soca fetes. Yet there are more calypso tents than ever, and they go on the road all over the country during the Carnival season. There are more competitions, and companies continue to have their own calypso contests. There are ongoing efforts to involve young people in singing calypso with youth tents, school events and competitions. Throughout the Caribbean, calypso is a major part of Carnival celebrations in Barbados, Antigua, St. Vincent and the Virgin Islands, while calypsos are sung each year at Carnivals outside the Caribbean, as in Caribana in Toronto and Notting Hill in England. —Ray Funk


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