Category Archives: Calypso


Hello, Salut, Guten Tag, Yah Soo, Hola!  Well that’s about the extent of my language skills I’m afraid.  But it didn’t stop me putting together a show on MULTILINGUAL SONGS. Because one of the things that I miss about living in Sydney, I must admit, is the multicultural community. Sure, up here in Byron Bay we have a sprinkling of residents from other countries and certainly we have a lot of overseas visitors but, let’s be honest, it’s very much a white bread kinda town.  So, I’ve been inspired to create a playlist where each song features two or more languages in the lyrics.  Read on and see what I’ve got in store for you!

We opened the show with Joel Gray’s classic greeting from the stage show, and the film, Cabaret: WILKOMMEN. That one had three languages in there: English, French and German. Here’s the incomparable Joel Gray in Bob Fosse’s 1972 film version. Brilliant.

Get ready because German industrial metal band Rammstein will soon be here for the Big Day Out concert. They slide from German into English to make their point about US cultural imperialism on AMERIKA. Absolutely awesome video btw.

Punk gypsies Gogol Bordello, mixed Russian and English, to discuss the cultural revolution, in their own particular style, on SALLY.

I also welcomed some very special visitors into the studio this week. Hailing from Scotland, but citing influences from all over the globe, Orkestra del Sol take the brass band to a whole new level. We’re talking high energy swinging sounds with Balkan, Oompah, New Orleans and Gypsy flavours. They performed three original numbers live in the studio, which was a real treat.

I introduced Orkestra del Sol with the track CALYPSO COLLAPSO, from their album Moveable Feast. Here they are performing that track to a bemused audience at Edinburgh back in 2007:

Next it was Sigur Ros with HOPPIPOLLA, which is Icelandic for “Jumping into Puddles”. But you knew that, right? Onto the African continent with Amaswazi Emvelo and his track from the compilation album The Indestructible Beat of Soweto, INDODA YEJAZI ELIMNYAMA, which translates as “The Man in the Black Coat”. And then it was Cajun band Buckwheat Zydeco with MA TIT FILLE, from the soundtrack to the film The Big Easy.

Sergio Mendes and The Black Eyed Peas combine for a great version of Brazil’s most famous song MAS QUE NADA which, I understand, is Portugese for “But that’s nothing”.

Those obligatory French lessons at school must have come in handy for the Talking Heads on PSYCHO KILLER and Blondie on DENIS. Look, it was a toss up as to whether I should show you either of their video clips but when Deborah Harry dresses in a swimming costume with a guy’s jacket over it and does her ‘sex on a stick’ routine, well how could I resist? And she does include more French words than David Byrne does, so points for that.

Two more great multi-lingual songs: Ian Dury & The Blockheads with HIT ME WITH YOUR RHYTHM STICK and The Pogues with the highly infectious FIESTA.

O SAYA, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song, only losing out to another song from the film Slumdog Millionaire. In Hindi and English, its from A.R. Rahman and rapper M.I.A.

Reggae group The Abyssinians prove their devotion to the Rastafarian homeland of Ethiopia with a refrain in Amharic on their song SATTA MASSAGANA. A perfect companion was Yothu Yindi’s TREATY –  the first ever song, in an Aboriginal language, to gain extensive international recognition.

The Dixie Cups offered a catchy piece of Creole on IKO IKO. That was also from The Big Easy soundtrack. Another soundtrack worth collecting is the one for Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. In a classic scene, from the film, John Travolta and Uma Thurman’s characters kill it on the dancefloor to Chuck Berry’s C’EST LA VIE (YOU NEVER CAN TELL): “I wanna dance, I wanna win, I want that trophy, so dance good.”

Calexico is the name of a town on the US/Mexico border and it’s also the name of an alternative country band that I really like.  Their song BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE, features some pretty sexy French singing from chanteuse Marianne Dissard.

The late, great Kirsty MacColl embraces both Spanish and English on  IN THESE SHOES. It’s from her album, Tropical Brainstorm. Here she is on Later with Jools Holland in 2000:

Isobell Campbell & Mark Lanegan’s song DEUS IBI EST features both English & Latin. The Latin section is actually lifted from a very well known hymn, Ubi Caritas and Deus Ibi Est translates as God is there. They are such an intriguing duo, aren’t they? They’re  like dark and light, but somehow what they produce is just perfect. You can find this track on their album Ballad of the Broken Seas.

Here are two Francophiles who have something to say: Jonathan Richman wants you to GIVE PARIS ONE MORE CHANCE and the wonderful Blossom Dearie asks COMMENT ALLEZ-VOUS? I love both these artists for the same reason – their supreme wit and subtlety, combined with a certain camp charm.

We closed the show with Youssou N’Dour and Nenah Cherry and their hit song 7 SECONDS. It’s trilingual with N’Dour singing Wolof (The Senegalese language) and French with Cherry singing in English. The song is about the first 7 seconds in the life of a newly born child before they become aware of the violence in the world. Let’s contemplate that as we head off into 2011.

Next week’s theme will be FOREVER YOUNG. i.e. I’ll be looking at the music that the baby boomer generation has grown up with, and still supports. The list will feature the bands  that we listened to in the 60s, who are still touring and raking in the dollars. I’m inspired by the fact that Iggy Pop will be headlining the youth event, The Big Day Out, this month. And at Easter we have the Blues Fest’s line up of Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello and Jethro Tull making it look like a Baby Boomer’s convention. What is it about this generation that refuses to take it easy and retire? Tune in and we’ll try and work it out together.

Big thank you to the Orkestra del Sol who entertained us in the first hour of the show. And I’d like to wish you a peaceful, loving and positive 2011.

Here’s this week’s playlist:

Willkommen – Broadway: The American Musical [Disc 4], Joel Grey

Amerika – Reise Reise, Rammstein

Sally – Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike, Gogol Bordello

Calypso Collapso – Moveable Feast, Orkestra Del Sol

Hoppipolla – Takk…, Sigur Rós

Indoda Yejazi Elimnyama – The Indestructible Beat of Soweto – Volume One, Amaswazi Emvelo

Ma ‘Tit Fille – The Big Easy Soundtrack,  Buckwheat Zydeco

Mas Que Nada – Timeless, Sergio Mendes feat. The Black Eyed Peas

Denis – Atomic: The Very Best Of Blondie, Blondie

Psycho Killer – Talking Heads, Talking Heads

Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick – Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll – The Essential Collection, Ian Dury and The Blockheads

Fiesta – The Best Of The Pogues, The Pogues

O…Saya – Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack, A R Rahman & M.I.A.

Satta Massagana – Satta Massagana, The Abyssinians

Treaty – Radio Mix – Tribal Voice, Yothu Yindi

Iko Iko – The Big Easy Soundtrack, The Dixie Cups

C’est La Vie  – Pulp Fiction Soundtrack, Chuck Berry

Ballad of Cable – Hot Rail, Calexico

In These Shoes? – Tropical Brainstorm, Kirsty McColl

Deus Ibi Est – Ballad Of The Broken Seas, Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan

Give Paris One More Chance – Jonathan Sings!, Johnathan Richman & The Modern Lovers

Comment allez-vous? – Blossom Dearie, Blossom Dearie

7 Seconds – The Guide (Wommat), Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry


Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
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Cats & Dogs

This week’s theme is one that is close to my heart: cats and dogs. I think you are either a cat or a dog person and anyone who says that they like both equally are in denial. Me? I’m absolutely a dog person, although I have always had a cat and I’ve had a habit of only ever having had a ginger cat. Apparently ginger cats are nearly always male. You can get a ginger female, but it is incredibly rare. 

In any case, I tried to give our canine and feline friends fairly equal time when it came to choosing the music and we started off with ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’ by the Baha Men. I knew that the ‘Baha’ was short for Bahamas, which is where the group were all born, but I had no clue as to what their style of music – ‘Junkanoo’ – was about. I’ve since done a bit of research.

Junkanoo is more than just a musical style; it represents a whole cultural phenomenon. The music itself is very primitive and incredibly infectious. The basic musical instruments are made in the Bahamas and consist of the drum cowbells, horns, whistles, scrapers and brass. Twice yearly huge Junkanoo street parades are held where special Junkanoo costumes, music and dance are on display. It sounds absolutely amazing. Find out more at

‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’ was released in 1998. The video clip still stands up as great entertainment in its own right, so here it is for you:

Thanks to all those dog and cat lovers who agreed to contribute to our vox pops. Loved the comment: “Dogs have masters and cats have slaves.” My little dog Charlie is 11 now and we have been through thick and thin together. He is my lttle mate. Charlie even has his own blog, although he hates the fact that he has to wait for me to type it up for him. Charlie put in a special request for some classic rock. He’s a bit of a boy like that. So, especially for Charlie, I played some Led Zepp – ‘Black Dog’ (in memory of Charlie’s companion Coco who passed away last year) and AC/DC with ‘Givin’ the Dog a Bone.’


‘Fraid Pussy Bite Me’ is a fantastic piece of early Calypso from the King of Calypso, Mighty Sparrow. Born in 1935, he is still going strong at 73 years of age. His lyrics are famous for being witty, ironic and ribald. He also frequently comments on social and political issues in his songs and recently endorsed Barack Obama and presented him with a CD of a song he had recorded in his honour, “Barack the Magnificent”.

The track I played, ‘Fraid Pussy Bite Me’ is from The Renaissance CD, a hot compilation of classic tracks where Sparrow displays his versatility. Well worth the search if you can find a copy.

charlieIt’s been suggested that pets resemble their owners. In which case it should be pointed out that my pup Charlie is in incredibly good shape for his age, but Felix the ginger Abyssinian, talks way too much. Charlie has insisted that I include a photo of him which was taken recently while he was being given a massage. I suppose that I should add that, yes, we are both also a bit goofy!

My Roy Orbison song this week was ‘Hound Dog Man’ from the album Blue Angel. And I really covered a lot of other musical territory, crossing generations and genre with wild abandon. Check out the complete playlist below:

Who Let the Dogs Out –  Baha Men

The Alley Cat Song  Peggy Lee

Bear Cat  Rufus Thomas 

Fraid Pussy Bite Me  Mighty Sparrow

Sam the Hot Dog Man  Lil Johnson

Hound Dog  Big Mama Thornton

Call Me The Wolf  Howlin Wolf

How Much is That Doggie in the Window?  Patty Page

Puppy Love  Paul Anka

The Puppy Song  Harry Nillson

Pussy Cat  Ross Hannaford Trio

The Love Cats  The Cure

Stray Cat Blues  The Rolling Stones

Pink Panther (with vox pops) – Hollywood Studio Orchestra

Black Dog  Led Zeppelin

Givin the Dog a Bone  AC/DC

Rain Dogs  Tom Waits

Stray Cat Strut  Stray Cats

Bird Dog  The Everly Brothers

Stray Dogs and Alley Cats  The Lonesome River Band

Hound Dog Man  Roy Orbison

Top Cat  Theme song

Teach Me Tiger – April Stevens

What’s New Pussycat?  Tom Jones

Year Of The Cat  Al Stewart

How Come My Bulldog Don’t Bark? – Howard Tate

I Wouldn’t Treat A Dog (The Way You Treated Me)  Bobby Bland

I’ll Be Doggone  Marvin Gaye

Walking The Dog – Rufus Thomas

Pussy Cat Dues  Charles Mingus

Next week: to celebrate the Oscars, I’ll be playing music from all my favourite films (not necessarily Oscar winners).

Tune into The Theme Park with Lyn McCarthy on BayFM 99.9 Tuesdays 2-4pm Sydney time. Also streaming at

Charlie’s blog:

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