Cariso is a kind of Trinidadian folk music, and an important ancestor of calypso music.
As early as the 1780s, the word cariso was used to describe a French creole song and, in Trinidad, cariso seems to have been perfected by the (mostly female) chantwells during the first half of the 19th century.1 The chantwells, assisted by alternating in call-and-response style with a chorus, were a central component of the practice called Calinda (stick-fighting).
Calinda was a central component of early carnival celebrations in Trinidad, and after emancipation (1834), Afro- Creoles essentially took over the streets during carnival. Elite French Creole revellers, for their part, moved their carnival celebrations indoors and to private parties. Cariso used satirical and insulting lyrics, and is related to the picong tradition. Cariso singers, called chantwells, sang primarily in French creole.
Cariso is also Virgin Islander folk song.