" Go on Papa Chantuelle sing yuh song...
I walk wid de glory of Kings...
...and de more yuh beat meh down...
de more yuh make meh strong!"
words depict the character of the man called Brother Resistance.
This Poet (Rapsoman) has taken a rootical world beat called Rapso
from an island state in the Caribbean called Trinidad & Tobago
to all corners of the earth.
The name of Brother Resistance has long been associated with the
artform called Rapso. It is an art form that many feel he invented.
But Brother Resistance himself insists that Rapso can be traced
back to the oral traditions of Africa, when the Griot was the historian,
counselor and poet of the tribe. After the middle passage, on the
sugar-cane plantation, the Griot's name was changed to Chantuelle.
The role played by this individual was transformed as well, and
he became the voice that made the suffering of the slaves bearable.
The evolution of the Chantuelle saw the emergence of the talkers
of the early Carnival, the Midnite Robbers, the Pierrot Grenades
and also the Calypsonian. The Rapso artiste is therefore the revitalisaton
of the old Griot / Chantuelle traditions in perspective of our modern-day
as he is commonly called, is considered the spearhead of the Rapso
movement, a movement born almost thirty years ago, when the late
Lancelot Layne successfully challenged the musical and literary
status quo of the Caribbean. Drawing on the folk traditions of the
Carnival characters of Trinidad and Tobago, Layne recreated the
vibes of the "Chantuelle", "Pierot" and "Midnite
Robber" to establish the reality of what is today called Rapso.
The musical experience, which fueled the new art form, came directly
out of the steelband yards, the drum yards and the calypso arena.
The vibes and the flavour came out of the social movement of a people
for true liberation and self-determination.
The birth of the Network Rapso Riddum Band at the end of the 1970's
with its lead chantuelles, Brother Shortman and Brother Resistance
heralded the new reality of roots music from Trinidad and Tobago.
The music now as defined by Brother Resistance is "the power
of the word, in the riddum of the word." In essence, it is
the poetry of Calypso blended with the African rhythms of Trinidad
and Tobago. It is also referred to as the Rap of Soca. It is interesting
to note that paralleling the development of Rapso in Trinidad and
Tobago was Dub Poetry in Jamaica (the Poetry of Reggae) and African-American
Rap music in the United States of America.