From Minshall‘s 1983 Mas production The River


“Prophets everywhere gaze upon the
horizon and declare
That judgment will come
As the savage hands of unscrupulous
Men defile everything pass by
Time is running out as we eat and drink
Species at the brink of being extinct
And I think no one can deny that the
price of progress is high, real high”

‘Progress’, sung by King Austin, was voted ‘Calypso of the Millennium’ by the Trinbago Unified Calypso Organisation (TUCO). Progress is a haunting song that calls attention to nature and direction of our development.

The words of ‘Progress’ really struck a chord in view of what I’ve been reading and writing recently. The song has been going through my head ever since I stumbled across the review of this book, The Progress of Winsford Devine, which is described as being more a collection of his works than a biography. If you are a soca fan, you should know the name of Winsford “Joker” Devine, but even if you don’t know his name, if you listen to soca and calypso music, you have heard his work.

. . . his themes span science, geography, civics, economics, civilization, culture, technology, history, socialization, development and a multiplicity of subthemes.
. . .
Winsford Devine’s mass of writings are an eclectic mix of poetry, social commentary and party songs.

And it is a wonderful mix, joining society, science, politics, sex and satire.

I only found one place online in the US where I could buy it, here. Although if you live in a large and international metropolitan area, you may be able to find a local bookstore that carries it.

Otherwise, if you are in the mood for soca and more, check out the Labor Day Carnival in Brooklyn September 3.