André Tanker / Sept 25, 1941 - Feb 28, 2003

Happy birthday to Trinidadian composer André Tanker, the "Bob Dyan of T&T". Born in Port-of-Spain, he started playing the steelpan at 7 and as a teenager learned guitar and cuatro. He also played vibraphone and harmonica.

He worked as an arranger for the Invaders Steel Orchestra, who were based in his neighborhood. His own Hilton Flamingos were a steady-working hotel band in the late '50s and early '60s. His late '60s & '70s work fused Caribbean folk music, Indian "chutney" music, jazz, Yoruba drumming, funk and black power themes, with Mongo Santamaría being a major influence.

He scored the music for the film Bim in '73, a major landmark of Caribbean cinema. He also wrote for theater productions. In later years he produced rapso records. It was his tune "River Come Down" (reissued on a Soundway 45) that brought me to his music and further exploration yielded sweet sonic fruit.

Tagged: André Tanker, Boogaloo!, calypso, Celebrate Icons, folk, jazz, soca, soul/funk

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