Black Stalin

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Black Stalin
Birth name Leroy Calliste
Born (1941-09-24) 24 September 1941 (age 72)
San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago
Genres Calypso
Years active 1959–present

Leroy Calliste (born 24 September 1941), better known as Black Stalin, is a leading calypsonian from Trinidad and Tobago known for his militant Rastafarian and black nationalist lyrics.[1] He has won the Calypso Monarch competition on five occasions and the Calypso King of the World title in 1999.

Biography[edit]

Born and raised on Coffee Street in San Fernando to George and Elcina Calliste, he is one of four children. He attended San Fernando Boys' R.C. School. He worked as a limbo dancer before taking up singing calypso in 1959 when he made his debut at the Good Shepherd Hall in St. Madeleine, but did not join a calypso tent until 1962 when he joined the Southern Brigade.[2][3] He was given the nickname Black Stalin by fellow calypsonian Blakie in the mid-1960s.[2] In 1967 Black Stalin joined Kitchener's Calypso Revue tent and managed to place in that year's Calypso Monarch competition.[3]

Stalin won the Calypso Monarch competition for the first time in 1979 (with "Caribbean Man" and "Play One") and went on to win it again in 1985, 1987, 1991 and 1995.[4]

In 1979 he moved over to the Mighty Shadow's King of the Wizards Tent and recorded his first album, To the Caribbean Man. That year he walked away with his first Calypso Monarch crown for his two compositions, "Caribbean Unity" and "Play One".[5]

In 1985 he won the crown again with "Ism Schism" and "Wait Dorothy",[2][6] and again in 1987 with a tribute to steelband entitled "Mr. Panmaker" and "Bun 'Em",[7][8] a song calling for St. Peter to cast the likes of Christopher Columbus, Cecil Rhodes, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan into Hell.[2][9][10]

In 1987 he was also awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Silver) for his contribution to Trinidad and Tobago culture.

In 1991 the usually dread and critical Stalin took a winning turn and walked away with the Calypso Monarch crown again, with "Look on the Bright Side" and "Black man Feelin' to Party".[2] In 1995 he went chutney, with a "Tribute to Sundar Popo", in honour of his old friend and fellow singer.[2][11]

In 1994 he signed with Eddy Grant's Ice Records label, releasing the Rebellion album that year and Message to Sundar in 1995.[2]

After finishing as runner-up to Mighty Sparrow in 1985, in 1999 Black Stalin won the title of Calypso King of the World with the calypsoes "Black Man Feeling to Party" and "Wine Boy", poking fun at the politician Dhanraj Singh.[2][3]

Black Stalin became Dr. Leroy Calliste on 31 October 2008, when he was conferred with an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, for his tremendous dedication and contribution to Calypso music and culture in Trinidad and Tobago.[12]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • To the Caribbean Man (1979), Makossa International
  • This is It (1980), Makossa International
  • In Ah Earlier Time (1981), Makossa International
  • You Ask For It (1984), Charlie's
  • Wait Dorothy Wait (1985), Charlie's
  • I Time (1986), B's
  • We Can Make It (1988)
  • To De Master (1989), WB
  • The Bright Side (1991), Straker's
  • Cry of the Caribbean (1992), Straker's
  • Help (1993), Straker's
  • Rebellion (1994), Ice
  • Message to Sundar (1995), Ice
  • Just For You (2009), Charlie's/VP
Live
  • Live! Collector's Edition (2009), JW
Compilations
  • Roots Rock Soca (1991), Rounder
  • Best of Black Stalin (1997), Musicrama

Singles, EPs[edit]

  • "Man Is Man" (1977), Semp
  • Nah Ease Up EP (1990), Carotte

References[edit]

  1. ^ Edmondson, Belinda (1999) Caribbean Romances: The Politics of Regional Representation, University of Virginia Press, p. 70; ISBN 978-0813918228.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Thompson, Dave (2002), Reggae & Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, pp. 37-8; ISBN 0-87930-655-6.
  3. ^ a b c Joseph, Terry (2001) "Sando Celebrates With Black Stalin ...popular bard turns 60 today", trinicenter.com, retrieved 11 September 2012.
  4. ^ Harris, Craig "Black Stalin Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 11 September 2012.
  5. ^ Scaramuzzo, Gene "Caribbean Man Review", Allmusic, retrieved 11 September 2012.
  6. ^ Scaramuzzo, Gene "Wait Dorothy Wait Review", Allmusic, retrieved 11 September 2012.
  7. ^ Scaramuzzo, Gene "I Time Review", Allmusic, retrieved 11 September 2012.
  8. ^ McLane, Daisann (1987) "In the Court of the Calypso King", Spin, November-December 1987, p. 12, retrieved 11 September 2012.
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert "Black Stalin", robertchristgau.com, retrieved 11 September 2012
  10. ^ Dumas, J. R. P. (1997), In the Service of the Public: Selected Articles and Speeches 1963-1993 with Commentaries, Canoe Press, p. 45; ISBN 978-9768125248.
  11. ^ Pareles, Jon (1995) "POP REVIEW; Two Calypso Monarchs in the Park", The New York Times, 19 July 1995, retrieved 11 September 2012.
  12. ^ "University of the West Indies (UWI) honorary degrees for Lee Chin and Orane", Jamaica Gleaner, 29 April 2008, retrieved 11 September 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Regis, Louis (1986), Black Stalin: The Caribbean Man, Jordans Printery.
  • Regis, Louis (2007), Black Stalin: Kaisonian, Arawak; ISBN 978-9768189516.

External links[edit]