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R.I.P. Keith Smith, 1945–2011

by Nicholas Laughlin on February 10, 2011

The photograph of Keith Smith that long accompanied his Express column Keith Smith, Trinidadian journalist, died early in the morning of Tuesday 8 February, at the age of 65. Over his forty-five-year career, which started at the now-defunct Daily Mirror and ended at the Trinidad Express, the newspaper he helped found in 1967, Smith was [...]


R.I.P. Édouard Glissant, 1928–2011

by Nicholas Laughlin on February 3, 2011

Édouard Glissant, Martiniquan poet, novelist, essayist, and thinker, one of the Caribbean’s towering literary figures, died this morning in Paris, at the age of 82. Described by Le Monde as “the champion of métissage and exchange” — “le chantre du métissage et de l’échange” — Glissant was a major proponent of the Antillanité movement, articulating [...]


R.I.P. Gregory Isaacs, 1951–2010

by Nicholas Laughlin on October 25, 2010

Gregory Isaacs, Jamaican reggae singer, died this morning in London (as reported by the BBC and other media). Nicknamed “Cool Ruler”, Isaacs was once described as “the most exquisite vocalist in reggae, his pliable baritone equally at ease with silken ballads and slinky dance grooves.” His best known song is the title track from his [...]


R.I.P. Dawn Scott, 1951–2010

by Nicholas Laughlin on September 21, 2010

Dawn Scott working on A Cultural Object in 1985. Photograph courtesy the National Gallery of Jamaica Dawn Scott, Jamaican artist, died on Tuesday 21 September in Kingston. The National Gallery of Jamaica posted an obituary: Figurative batik was Dawn Scott’s main medium for some twenty years, culminating in her solo exhibition Nature Vive (1994) at [...]

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R.I.P. Jenny Alpha, 1910–2010

by Nicholas Laughlin on September 9, 2010

Jenny Alpha, Martiniquan singer and “grande dame de la culture créole,” died on Wednesday 8 September in Paris. The RFI website posted a short obituary: A familiar figure in French jazz clubs, Alpha crossed paths with actress Josephine Baker and musician Duke Ellington. After the Second World War, she campaigned for recognition of Creole culture, [...]


R.I.P. Seya Parboosingh, 1925–2010

by Nicholas Laughlin on August 20, 2010

Sharing at the Table (1999), by Seya Parboosingh. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Jamaica Seya Parboosingh, American-born artist living in Jamaica since 1958, died on Friday 13 August in Kingston. The National Gallery of Jamaica blog published a short obituary: The painter and poet Seya Parboosingh, née Samila Joseph, was born in 1925, in [...]


R.I.P. Sesenne Descartes, 1914–2010

by Nicholas Laughlin on August 12, 2010

Sesenne Descartes. Photograph courtesy the St Lucia Folk Research Centre My country heart, I am not home till Sesenne sings, a voice with woodsmoke and ground-doves in it, that cracks like clay on a road whose tints are the dry season’s, whose cuatros tighten my heartstrings. The shac-shacs rattle like cicadas under the fur-leaved nettles [...]


R.I.P. Sugar Minott, 1956–2010

by Nicholas Laughlin on July 12, 2010

Lincoln Barrington “Sugar” Minott, Jamaican reggae and dancehall musician, died on Saturday 10 July in Kingston. The Jamaica Observer reports: Minott . . . earned for himself the moniker Godfather of Dancehall. He is credited with being the pioneer, who, by laying vocal tracks over the original tapes from the 60’s, rather than using a [...]