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Born Raymond Quevedo, Atilla de Hun recorded with American record companies beginning in 1934, when he and Roaring Lion (Hubert Raphael Charles, later Raphael de Leon were the first Trinidadian calypsonians to record in New York City During his career he also recorded with the ...

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Dexnell G.L. Peters

was born Raymond Quevedo on 24 March 1892 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. He was born to a Trinidadian mother and Venezuelan father. Quevedo won a government scholarship, receiving his secondary education at St. Mary’s College or the College of Immaculate Conception, a prestigious Port of Spain school. He likely spent the years 1904 to 1908 at the college. It should be noted that secondary education at the time was a privilege only afforded to those of the wealthier classes or those able to attain one of the few available government scholarships. Although this privilege allowed Quevedo the opportunity to pursue various career options, he eventually decided to become a calypsonian and later was popularly known by the sobriquet “Attila the Hun.” In 1911 he sang his first calypso publicly and later began singing in calypso tents venues where calypsonians performed regularly and where he grew tremendously ...

Article

Manuel Monestel

was born on 7 May 1919 in the town of Guabito, Costa Rica, on the border with Panama. Two years later his parents decided to move back to Cahuita, in the Costa Rican Caribbean province of Limón. The grandson of Jamaican migrants who arrived in Costa Rica to build a railway and work in the banana industry, Ferguson was the fifth child of Melsha Ferguson and Sarah Byfield Dykin. He grew up in the town of Cahuita, where his parents had a little farm. As a young boy, he also lived in Port Limon, where he stayed for a while with his aunt, who wanted him to learn how to read music and play the piano and the organ. He soon left Port Limon and went back to Cahuita, a little town on the shoreline of the Caribbean Sea, where he has lived most of his life.

Known as Mr ...

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John Gilmore

Alias of Aldwyn Roberts (1922–2000), calypsonian born in Arima, Trinidad and Tobago. He was already a successful performer in his native island when, while on a tour of Jamaica, he decided to join his fellow calypsonians Lord Beginner (Egbert Moore, 1904–80) and Harold Phillips (1928–2000) in taking a passage to England on the Empire Windrush.

Kitchener provided two of the most iconic images of post‐war Caribbean migration to Britain. The Pathé newsreel that recorded the arrival of the Windrush in 1948 featured a still youthful Kitchener singing ‘London Is the Place for Me’, which he had written on the ship, and later recorded on disc in 1951. And it was Kitchener who led the invasion of the pitch when the West Indies cricket team won at Lord's in June 1950 though it was Lord Beginner who celebrated those little pals ...

Article

Louis Regis

was born on 18 April 1922. He was the youngest of six children born to Pamphille Roberts, a blacksmith at Arima, Trinidad, and Albertha, a homemaker. As a child, “Bean” (so named because of his gangling frame), learned to play the guitar and at age 10 he composed his first calypso. He sang with a fluency that belied the stammer which afflicted his speech. When he left elementary school at age 14, he was paid by the water company to lead its employees in work songs while they laid mains in Arima.

In 1937 he appeared at a small traditional calypso tent in Arima and in 1938 he won the Arima Calypso King competition with “Shops Close Too Early.” His successful triple defense of this title earned him the sobriquet “The Arima Champion.” In 1941 he joined the cast of the Roving Brigade and after a two year ...

Article

Cleve McD. Scott

popularly known as “Frankie,” soca and calypso music arranger, Caribbean-jazz pianist, and musicologist, was born in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in August 1946 to a middle-class family. His father was Arthur McIntosh, son of the politician George Augustus McIntosh (1886–1963). His mother, Belle (née Cordice), was of East Indian ancestry.

After primary school, Frankie attended grammar school, also in Kingstown, from 1956 to 1962. His introduction to music came when he was about 3 years old, with his father teaching him to play the flute. Sent to a private music tutor to study piano, by the age of 9 he was playing for his father’s dance band, the Melotones. In 1960 he formed the Frankie McIntosh Orchestra. In 1966 McIntosh moved to Antigua to work as a schoolteacher; there, he played piano for the Laviscount Orchestra. In 1968 he relocated to the United States ...

Article

David Simonelli

was born Slinger Francisco on 9 July 1935 to Clarissa and Rupert Francisco in Gran Roi, a fishing village on the island of Grenada. His family migrated in 1937 to Trinidad and Tobago, where his father, a carpenter, had found work in Port of Spain. Slinger Francisco was later enrolled in Newtown Boys Roman Catholic School, where he sang psalms at weekly school concerts in the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church choir. Eventually, he became the lead choirboy, singing baritone and tenor, and learning Gregorian chants and plainsongs in Latin.

At home he listened to calypso which his school condemned as evil but which his parents enjoyed as the popular music of the Caribbean Trinidad s Carnival celebration was steeped in calypso music and parades A part of Carnival was an informal competition the Road March title to determine which song was played most often by the crowds at given judging ...

Article

James Sellman

According to Caribbean scholar Peter Manuel, Mighty Sparrow is “[one of the] two most important figures in modern Trinidadian culture,” rivaled only by the late Eric Williams, the long-time head of the People's National Movement and a popular prime minister. Born in Grenada as Francisco Slinger, the singer made his name in Trinidad's Carnival, the long celebration ending with Lent for which most Calypso music is produced.

Mighty Sparrow has a strong voice and is an effective performer. He is also a capable songwriter. He has won more of the island's prestigious calypso competitions—the National Calypso Monarchy (for the best performer of the year) and Road March (for the most popular party song)—than any other performer. His first popular success was “Jean and Dinah” (1956). In 1957 he paid tribute to the wild Carnival spirit: The biggest bacchanal is in Trinidad Carnival,

Regardless of ...

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Susan D. Toliver

actress, dancer, and singer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Lucas Premice, a furrier, and Theloumene Thomas Premice. Josephine and her older sister Adele spent summers in Haiti, in an attempt by their parents to keep them in touch with the family's roots. As a child Premice was sickly, and an affliction with rickets left her bowlegged.

Premice was educated in Brooklyn public schools. At home her parents, whose origins were in the Haitian aristocracy, schooled her and her sister in the art of being ladies. Although it may seem ironic that a black girl who attended a Brooklyn public school was educated in upper-class etiquette, Premice's schooling in the social graces paid off later when she was a part of the society circles in which she would travel the United States and abroad.

Despite her parents attempts to dissuade her Premice ...

Article

Louis Regis

was born at the then Colonial Hospital, Port of Spain, Trinidad, on 6 May 1953. The first of five children born to Elsie Rudder, a housewife, and Lionel McLean, an oil worker, he grew up in Belmont, a suburb of Port of Spain. Belmont was a culturally diverse Afro-Caribbean center that had a yard for followers of Shango (the local name for the Orisha religion of the Yorubas), a Rada community (Rada is the religion of the Fons of Dahomey), several steelband yards, and Carnival “mas camps” (which provide costumes for Carnival celebrations). It was also home to calypsonians and badjohns, the colorful urban street fighters of the early twentieth century.

The artistically gifted David who has confessed to being influenced by Belmont s diverse community life began composing at age 14 or 15 and in the late 1960s he was a founding member of the singing group In ...