One Hand Don't Clap

If you’re not already a fan of Trinidad’s calypso music and its electrified descendant, soca (short for soul-calypso), One Hand Don’t Clap won’t necessarily win you over. Director Kavery Dutta points her camera primarily at calypso pioneer Lord Kitchener, still a rowdy stage performer in his 70s, and Calypso Rose, one of the music’s first female stars. They’re both wonderful, but attempts to get across the sexy, hard-driving wit of modern soca fall flat. That’s especially frustrating during the climactic bandstand competition between David Rudder and Black Stalin, two fiery singers whom Dutta films from the far side of the stage with muffled sound. At one point, Lord Kitchener sings a sweet bit of musical advice: ”Divide de goat from de sheep/Dat’s de only plan/Den you will know who is true Calypsonian.” One Hand Don’t Clap is more than a little sheepish. C+

One Hand Don't Clap
  • Movie