Home > Blog > Life on the bandstand: Scholar writes about Roy Cape in music…

Life on the bandstand: Scholar writes about Roy Cape in music…


Repeating Islands

Roy Cape and Jocelyne Guilbault

Joshua Surtees speaks to the author of Roy Cape: A Life on the Calypso and Soca Bandstand, a book to be released in September, the book will be a must-read for calypso and soca historians, a fascinating addition to the canon of work on the genre, documenting Cape’s star-studded half-century career. “The book is an experiment in storytelling,” says Jocelyne Guilbault, lecturer in ethno- musicology at University of California, Berkeley and scholar of Caribbean popular music. 

She’s in Trinidad working on her forthcoming book, Roy Cape: A Life on the Calypso and Soca Bandstand. While it’s a scholarly text, printed by Duke University Press, it’s essentially an autobiography of Roy Cape, co-written by the man himself.

Some chapters are ethnographic accounts of Cape’s management of his band and the skill of keeping musicians together over decades—how he recruits, his democratic decision-making policy and transparent band wages. Another chapter is a photographic…

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