Hollis Urban Liverpool

2001 Honorary Member

The 2001 SAM Conference was hosted jointly with the Center for Black Music Research in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. In the Summer 2001 Bulletin Kate van Winkle Keller wrote: "Our man-on-the-spot was Trinidadian Dr. Hollis Urban Liverpool, who gave us a rousing keynote address, was inducted as a SAM Honorary Member, MC’d an amazing show of music, dancing, and song at the Country Club as well as helping with myriad other details." He "also put together a two-hour session featuring local tradition-bearers, including performers in their full Carnival regalia, several story tellers, singers and ... pan (steel drum) players."

As a calypsonian Liverpool is known as “Chalkdust,” referring to the instructional nature of his 300 recorded songs, which he calls “academic papers.” He won the Buy Local Competition in Trinidad five times, the King of the World Calypso Contest in St. Thomas eight times, the World Calypso Monarch twice when it was held in New York, and the Calypso Monarch of Trinidad and Tobago seven times.

But his teaching wasn’t confined to Carnival. He taught primary and secondary schools in Trinidad and Tobago over a period of 35 years and afterwards served in the Ministry of Culture as Cultural Officer 111 and Director of Culture between the years 1993 to 1999, when he retired from the public service. He founded and served as the first Director of the Carnival Institute and has carried out extensive research in all areas of culture pertaining to the Caribbean in general and Trinidad and Tobago in particular.

He holds a Trained Teacher’s Certificate, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education, a B.A. in History and Sociology, an M.A. in World History, an M.A. in African History, a Certificate in Philosophy and a Ph.D. in History and Ethnomusicology. A prolific scholar, his masterpiece is Rituals of Power and Rebellion: The Carnival Tradition in Trinidad & Tobago, 1763–1962 (1993), an indispensable social history from the point of view of practitioner and scholar.