Tropical Disco Hustle: Highlighting The Disco Era in Trinidad + Beyond


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Levi John

Levi John got the disco bug while living in New York but opted to record back home. “I felt at that time that Trinidad was the best place to go because musicians were so versatile and innovative with rhythm,” he told LargeUp. “Disco in America was basically the Philadelphia Orchestra and I wanted something more like” – over the phone he mimicked the difference between a basic disco beat and a more complex syncopated beat like in steelpan or kompa.

Port of Spain clubs like Rolls Royce, the Heritage, and the Penthouse featured live disco bands during the peak of the craze. Ensembles like Wild Fire, who have two tracks on Tropical Disco Hustle, served as house band for some of these clubs, perfecting a West Indian twist on the New York and Philly sound. Mighty Duke’s “Be Yourself” comes the closest to a pure calypso-disco fusion with an uplifting message and some pioneering synthesizer.

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