With a combination of old school and new school Bahamian artist, Artist Pages on Island FM’s website seeks to educate persons about the traditional forms of Bahamian music as well as the new genres explored by the newer artist. It’s not just music; it’s our music.
A proud descendant of the Majors and Deans clan of Long Island, James explains that although he was born in the city he has always had an “island mentality” meaning he believed in hard work. Beginning his early education in 1944 at Sands School (Eastern Prep), Worrell School/Victoria School in 1948 and then on to Eastern Senior School. At the age of 16 he began writing poetry only letting those close to him read them such as the late Meta Davis Cumberbatch. In 1979 he published his first collection titled “Expressing Myself” which was dedicated to his mother Ms. Theresa Elizabeth Major.
This was followed by other works such as Reading, Roasts and Other writings. He also has a collection of prose about some of the Bahamas leading luminaries and political figures. An’ a Don means Cola, a play about the use of drugs in the Bahamas. “Nuff Said, and Poems – Religious and Philosophical.
Catalyn is also noted for the Bahamian musical hit m Guanahani, for which Andrew Curry wrote the music. (Taken from The Guardians’ Weekender insert)Playwright, author, satirist, dialectologist, lecturer, actor, comedian, producer, director, adjudicator, compere, town crier, lyricist are some of the accomplishments of James Catalyn.
Born in Nassau, Bahamas on August 4th, 1944 has through his music been able to provide for his family and build a name for himself. In his earlier days he worked as a waiter at major hotels in Nassau as well as Paradise Island Theatres.
Wilson sees fellow Bahamian artist such as Ezra Hepburn and Smokey 007 as his inspiration and channeled their energy when he first performed on “The Banana Boat”. He is most known for is hit song “All the Flowers”.
Born to a Baptist minister in Small Hope, Andros Islands, Joseph Spence is known world-wide as one of the best-know Bahamian musicians. Spence received his early music education from an uncle who was a professor of music. Along with his uncle playing the flute, a man beating a drum and one hitting a tambourine, they began playing for gatherings and dances once he became proficient on the guitar. In these dances he would play quadrille dance, waltz, heel and toe polka and the calypso round dance.
Other influences would include jazz, blues, boogie woogie and country. Additionally “anthems” and island songs made up the bulk of his repertoire along with works songs commonly used by sponge fishermen, a fraternity in which Spence participated on Andros. Never leaving his guitar behind, Spence along with his wife worked on American farms during the time the United States contracted laborers from the Bahamas. These years would take him to Georgia, the Carolinas, Delaware and Tennessee where he would take the opportunity to expand his vast repertoire of popular and sacred songs.
Born and raised in Nassau, Julien had an undeniable urge to sing at a very young age. Growing up with a policeman father and a school teacher mother there was no music around him yet he still sang his heart out at every chance he had. Under the influence of Bob Marley, Brian McKnight, Joe, Ronnie Butler and Boyz II Men; Julien listened to these genres of music and fashioned his very own style of writing. At the age of twelve, Julien while attending church met with other young men who shared his passion for music and they formed EDJ.
Gaining popularity throughout the Bahamas they went on to open for acts for main stream artist like; Sean Paul, Destiny’s Child, Babyface, Mariah Carey and Brian McKnight. With extreme perseverance he got a job and devoted every cent into developing his music. With only a keyboard, hand microphone, a g5 and a Mackie and made his very own make shift studio in his bedroom. It was there that he fine-tuned his writing and his vocals; soon after he began recording in professional studios and traveling.
In 2009 he teamed up with Dominic McFadden (son of Gene McFadden) and his partner Phillip and together they produced one of Juliens’ biggest hits “Believe”. Compared to the famous Curtis Mayfield, his smooth sounds and dynamic talents pushed his lyrical content taking the simplest subject matter and infuses’ it with love, wit, wisdom and an uplifting, inspirational feeling.
Born September 23, 1934 Eric Williams was born in the settlement of Acklins, Bahamas into a musical family, although he didn’t pursue a career in music until his adulthood. Eric began to lead several musical bands during the 1950’s. He later formed King Eric & The Knights in 1957.
Influenced by his environment, Eric admits that he observed other and took life lessons from their mistakes. He was then given the nickname Prophet for his decision to not smoke or drink. His music is describes as modern calypso and gained instant popularity with the tourist. In 1966 Eric opened a recording studio for other Bahamians to explore their musical talents. Later, he opened a night club called “King & Knights” featuring the band and other local talent. This club was later renamed to the Blue Note in 2006.
IN 2004 Eric King Gibson was invested into the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Civil Division) as part of the Queen’s New Year Honors for 2004.
Born to Beatrice and Ortland Bodie during the early 70’s in the Bahamas, KB admitted to having no interest in music as a child. Growing up he enjoyed riding around with his father listening to the radio. KB began his education in Martin Town, Eight Mile Rock Primary & Secondary School; when his father decided to move the family to Florida he continued his high school education at Hialeah High School in Hialeah, Florida.
After returning home to Grand Bahama after high school, KB began a series of odd jobs and here began singing at talent shows and special events in Grand Bahama. Soon an old childhood friend Sid Rolle approached him about starting a band. Not knowing what that meant he quickly caught on and along with two other friends (Dave Cooper & George Delancey) the group Ego Trip was born.
Inspired by fellow Bahamian artist such as Tony McKay, Ronnie Butler, Jay Mitchell & Eddie Minnis; American artist Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder , KB decided to take on a solo career and moved to Nassau in the early 90’s making his debut at the Family Island Lounge on Soldier Road. During this time Kirkland Bodie would receive his greatest success producing hits such as “She Fat”, “All the Meat”, “Start me Up”, Bush Mechanic”, and “Annie” all telling stories of island folk. Since then he has produced and written for Sweet Emily, Nita, Funky D and Spice
Veteran and Trade Unionist, Duke Hanna, born September 7, 1933 at Bahamas General (now Princess Margaret Hospital) was in 2004 invested into the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Civil Division) M.BE during the Queen’s New Year Honors at the Government House. Having spent over 40 year in the trade union business, Leroy says it’s passion that drove him to support the musicians’ union. He is now one of the founders of the National Congress of Trade Unions and the Trade Union Congress and is still today a member.
Maureen Verlene Duvalier entertainer for over sixty years, known to many as the musical prodigy and the Queen of Junkanoo was born in Nassau May, 14, 1926. She admits that it was not easy being a female entertainer during the 1950’s, this was a time when woman were looked down upon for engaging in night-life and entertainment. But in 1958, against the wishes of her mother Maureen led sixteen woman and sixteen men onto Bay Street as a group sponsored by Fine’s Department Store in the Junkanoo parade. Her first and only album “Calypso Mama Sings” would be recorded later that same year.
Knowing she was destined to become an entertainer, she was excited to be hand -picked by the late Freddie Munnings Sr. to work at the Silver Slipper Night Club. She always admired Freddie’s dedication to his music and the loyalty he has for his island home. It was there where she was inspired along with Freddie Munnings to introduce “Floor Shows” to the clubs’ line up. She has explored about forty of the fifty two of the United States representing the Bahamas, in 2004 along with Leroy Hanna and Eric Gibson was invested into the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Still confident in her ability and proud of her Bahamian roots she is still considered The Original Bahamian Diva.