☀️ Song of the Day: “Rum and Coca-Cola” by The Andrews Sisters

Fun Facts:

  • “Rum And Coca-Cola” was composed by Lionel Belasco, a composer best known for his calypso songs.
  • The lyrics were written by Lord Invader, a calypso singer from San Fernando, Trinidad.
  • Calypso is a genre of Afro-Caribbean music that arose in Trinidad and Tobago in the mid-19th century. The rhythms of calypso can further be traced back to a West African genre of music called Kaiso, illustrating calypso was largely created by West Africans enslaved by the French in the 18th century.
  • Like other music genres, calypso is very diverse and includes Benna, which originates from Antigua and Barbuda; Mento, which originates from Jamaica; and Spouge, which originates from Barbados.
  • “Rum And Coca-Cola” was copyrighted by Morey Amsterdam, an actor, producer, writer, and all-around entertainer, for sale and distribution in the United States. This allowed The Andrews Sisters to sing their version of the song which was then released in 1945 to great commercial success.
  • On one hand, The Andrew Sisters’ hit helped to expose American audiences to the calypso genre. On the other hand, their singing of the song was controversial because it was performed by a white singing group. Consequently, a white label was able to profit off of a distinctly Afro-Caribbean song in a genre that was created by enslaved Africans.

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J.N. Estey

J.N. Estey

She/her. MSW. Published writer and poet. Columbia ’21. ☀️ = Professional work, 🌙 = Personal work.