Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lord Invader, Macbeth, & Duke Of Iron - "Calypso War" (with lyrics)

Edited by Azizi Powell

Latest Update - Nov. 3, 2022 - title change back to "Calypso War" *

This pancocojams post showcases a 1946 sound file of Calypsonians Lord Invader, Macbeth, and Duke of Iron engaging in a extemporaneous Calypso battle.

This post also includes my transcription of that sound file. I consider this transcription to be just an initial attempt. Corrections are very much welcome.

The content of this post is presented for historical, folkloric, educational, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes. The copyrights remain with their owners.

My thanks to the legacy of early Calypsonians and specifically to Lord Invader, Macbeth the Great, and Duke of Iron.

My thanks also to the uploader of this featured sound file. 
*I had changed the title of this post to "My Intention Is War" because the first verse of this song is Lord Invader singing the first verse of his song with that title. However, the lyrics for "My Intention Is War" are different from the lyrics for the song in this sound file. I therefore changed the title back to the one that is given in this YouTube sound file.

The title "Calypso War" is also the title of a 1959 Lord Terror calypso. Click for information about that song and information about Calypso in London in 1956-1957. 

Selected comments added Oct. 1, 2020

The Calypso in Trinidad and Tobago, is mainly of African origin, and can be traced to the traditions of West Africans in terms of music , structure and function. Calypso , which has been called a poor man’s newspaper in times when literacy was not wide spread , traces its roots to African traditions of improvised songs of self-praise and scorn for others, brought here by enslaved peoples. It developed to become both a dance and cultural record of events at first in single tone style with implicit meanings and a spicy flavour.

The roots of “Calypso” are diverse. Some argue it came from “kaiso” a Hausa word for “ bravo” ; some say the word came from the French “carrousseaux” a drinking party; or the Spanish “ calliso” a tropical song ; or the Carib “ carieto” ,meaning the same thing.

"Sex, scandal, gossip, innuendo, politics, local news, bravado and insulting other calypsonians were the order of the day in classic calypso, just as it is today with classic hip hop."

Calypso War- Lord Invader, Macbeth the Great, Duke of Iron.wmv

Uploaded by cvbagva on Jul 18, 2010

Calypso War, lord Invader, Macbeth the Great, Duke of Iron, Caribe, Caribbean, Music

The photograph in this sound file is of Lord Invader.

The title "Calypso War" might be incorrect. This song is best known with the title "My Intention Is War". 

(Lord Invader, Macbeth, and Duke of Iron)

Note: Transcriptions that I'm unsure of are placed in with a question mark in brackets.

Lord Invader
Yes, my mother dead and my father disown me,
What am I to do?
My mother dead and my father disown me,
What am I to do?
Now I'm livin' in this world and I've got nobody,
No brother, no sister, no cousin family,
But it's war and rebellion when I meet calypsonian,
My intention is war.

Calypso singing is such a technical thing
It was not made for one and every to sing.
How by the heavens can these songsters win
Except by me comin back and seein it’s a sin
My head is like a book that is welcome fat
My tongue like a gun that never is snapped
And I’m sorry for the molester who molest Lord Invader*
My intention is war.

[Audience member? -"Sing it!"]

Macbeth the Great:
Ladies and gents most respectfully,
Please accept my compliments most gorgeously
I most appreciate your loyalty
A patronage that been given to me
I start to sing 1928
Today I’m known as Macbeth the Great
And I want you to know, my friends,
That I master Calypso wherever I go.

Duke of Iron:
Now I believe their condition
They have no ammunition
To fight in this sudden competition.
When it comes to Calypso singing
Both of them, they appear as weaklings.
Don’t they know I’m the Duke of Iron
And I command Calypsonians
wherever I go.

Lord Invader:
This insolent would be
Delirious mule
Audacious lamonger you’re out of rule
You’re abnormal expression
Would no more hearing in this tent at once
Pretender, and stop your sneerin
You gabaless swabbler
Illiterate ape
Now you are in a terrible scrap
And you resemble a man a go go a forty from Tobago***

[audience laughs]

Macbeth the Great
Men like you who are corrupted and defiled
With such dangerous disease you should be exiled
You see the council should have you fumigated
From the company of man you should be isolated.
Ladies and gents, please look at this face
And tell me does that belong to the human race?
[audience laughs]
Those poor fools [foundations?] can’t fool the population.
Tell them roll away.

[audience laughs and claps]

Duke of Iron
Now Lord Invader now listen to me
While I am shaping up your destiny.
How dare you to approach your superior
With your rotten composition that is inferior.
Don’t you know that I am a warrior of royal birth
And I will put you six under the earth.
Don’t you see that I am the Duke of Iron
And I destroy Calypsonians
Everywhere I go.

Lord Invader:
Once my enemies found me in attack
I fought them bravely, I fought them back.
Some people call me the great Julius Caesar
While others call me William The Conqueror.
It is not for me they have got to fear
It’s long simple why I got them there.
I’m just like a mystic when I should face these lunatics.
My intention is war.

[Audience laugh or uploader laugh]

Macbeth the Great
When on the battle field I begin to crawl
Calypsonians become excited get up and bawl.
Ferocious beast before my bravery
[nay that me mostly?] to be killed and slain.
Listen to me, they are just like a lamb
For the worse ammunition can’t do me no harm.
For my [beckoning?] is as strong as the Rock of Gibraltar.
Tell them run away.

Duke of Iron
Invader, has not fall into submission.
But we goin to finish with this composition.
But I want you to know
That you cannot beat Trinidad for Calypso.
Now ladies and gents accept my compliments.
I know that you have accepted our implements.
So we going to end up with this little Calypso
Because its getting late.

Macbeth the Great [?] says “No, no not yet. Finish up now.”

Lord Invader
Now I’m gonna rhyme most extemporaneously
And show you my singing ability.
I’m proud and delighted to have you here.
And to tell you without no care,
Ladies and gentlemen we welcome you whole heartedly
And to tell you plain and candidly
Lord Invader a massive Calypsonian
Has gained satisfaction
My intention is war.

-end of transcription (Azizi Powell, 5/27/2012)

* if I enter the competition and see what they’re doing is a sin [because it’s so poorly composed]

**I'm sorry for the molester who [attempts to molest (mess with) Lord Invader [because when it comes to challenging me in a Calpyso competition they will be beaten]

***"a go go a forty" =(going on forty)

[added October 1, 2020; numbers are added for referencing purposes only]

1. kingcutt, 2014
"recorded as part of Alan Lomax's Calypso at Midnight/Calypso after Midnight series at New York Town Hall in December 1946. Great stuff!"

2. Tony Porridge, 2016
"I cannot believe I stumbled across this. I am actually working on a Hip Hop Curriculum at the Schomburg Center in Harlem. I'm looking for more of early music soca, calyspo, reggae, dub, whatever that could have been an early influence to rap music. This is by all means a battle , and the fact it took place in 1946 is amazing."

3. spidrawebster, 2017
"It goes back even further than 1946. They happened live at Carnival, but I'm not sure how many made it to being recorded."

4. Burton Sankeralli, 2019
"Calypso recording began in 1912. In the first half of the 20th century prowess in calypso or extempo war was the mark of a calypsonian. The tradition goes back to the 19th century "chantuelles" who led stickfighting bands on the streets of Trinidad in the 19th century and engaged in verbal battles as a prelude to the bloodier ones involving "bois" (sticks)."

5. Burton Sankeralli, 2019
"By the way stickfighting is still practiced in Trinidad."

For a more commercial version of "My Intention Is War" click Lord Invader "My Intention is War"
From Lord Invaders Calypso in New York

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  1. This is a class recording, finding it was one of my greatest discoveries

    ...excellent job with the lyrics, the that stuff you didn't get, is the stuff I didn't get either

    1. Thanks for your comment, Barry Jahed.

      Yes, Lord Invader's "My Intention Is War" this is an important recording. It's too bad more people aren't aware of it.

      I certainly meant to add that additions & corrections to my transcription of Lord Invader "My Intention is War" are very welcome.