Saturday, January 28, 2006

Ray Funk's Calypso Memorabilia

Dust off all those old 78s, 33s, 45s and take a closer look at the jacket, you may uncover a treasure.

“There was no event that had more impact on the global spread of calypso as the million selling album by Harry Belafonte. For about 6 months, the American entertainment industry was convinced that calypso would kill Rock and roll. Records were rushed out, dances were created, films released, and nightclubs changed their décor but then it seemed to be over before it.."

This retrospective worth seeing because as it gives an insight of how music indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago finds a place on a World stage

The Graphic Design of the age is the first thing that makes an impact when looking at the memorabilia from Ray Funk’s collection. The mimicry of the art of the times is clear, yet the fact that the subject is calypso, makes the viewing that more exciting. Advertising was not exactly in its infancy, but it was still a relatively young profession in the 40’s and 50’s.

What strikes me with the record albums, magazine advertisings and posters is the use of typography. Quite clearly the designer had to convey a sense of the music and tried to do so with hand drawn typography in some cases. The testament to the power of calypso may not be clear to the younger viewer gazing on Harry Belafonte’s face as he grins skywards with the strong brush script text stating, calypso with an exclamation point. Yet even today many people, particularly in America associate Trinidad and Tobago with Harry Belafonte’s Rum and Coconut water. - Adele

Co-curated by Ray Funk and Steve Stuempfle, the curator of the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, and Sonja Dumas, the curator of the Clico Gallery.

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