Tuesday, 24 January 2012

American President Roosevelt Visits Caribbean Island of Trinidad

Several US Presidents have graced the shores of Trinidad. However, besides Barack Obama, I don't think any songs were made of any of these Presidents other than Franklin D Roosevelt.

In November 1936 US President Franklin D Roosevelt stopped in Trinidad en route to South America. He stopped once more in December on his way back to the USA. He must have liked the island as he passed through en route to Casablanca. The route to Casablanca was full of stops. In Casablanca (Morroco) he would meet with Winston Churchill (the British PM). He made a fourth stop in Trinidad on his way back from Casablanca.

The song below is a calypso giving honour to that US President and his visit to the shores of Trinidad. Calypso music then was topical, funny, and dance-able.

The singer is called "Atilla the Hun" but his real name was Raymond Quevedo. He began singing calypso in 1911. He took calypso to the United States of America for the first time in 1934. The song is called ROOSEVELT IN TRINIDAD.

According to Wiki: the song was written by Fitz MacLean and popularized by Attila the Hun (Raymond Quevedo) to commemorate U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1936 trip to Trinidad.As part of Attila and his band's repertoire in New York City during the 1930s and 1940s, it brought increased popularity to the genre. Roosevelt had become a calypso fan in 1934 following the band's performances in New York City during 1934. The song was covered by Ry Cooder in his 1971 album Into the Purple Valley, Van Dyke Parks in his 1972 album Discover America, and performed in local skits.


when roosevelt came to the land of the hummingbird shouts of welcome were heard
when Roosevelt came to the land of the hummingbird shouts of welcome were heard
His visit to the island is bound to be, an epoch in local history
Definitely marking the new era, between trinidad in america

And so the ... and jubilation, was evidenced by desire for elation
Friendship for the u.s.a. was shown and from his house the stars and the stripes were flown
Port of Spain opened the gate to the president of the united states
In fact everybody was glad, to welcome roosevelt to trinidad

We are privileged to see the democratic, president of the great republic
With his charming and genial personality, and his wonderful urbanity
We were struck by his modest style, and we were intrigued by the famous roosevelt smile
No wonder why everybody was glad, at the great honour shown Trinidad

Now we understand that the president has just been, on a visit to brazil and to the argentine
With Mr. Cordell Hull in attendance, where they took part in a peace conference
To stop war and atrocity, and make the world safe for democracy
The greatest event in the century, in the interest of suffering humanity

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