Exile One

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Exile One
Origin Dominica, West Indies
Genres kadans
World music
Years active Early 70's – present
Members Gordon Henderson
Vivian Wallace
Fitzroy Williams
Julie Mourillon

Exile One is a legendary cadence musical group of the 1970s from Dominica. Gordon Henderson is the leader and founder of the famous musical group Exile One and the one who coined the name Cadence-lypso for a genre of music that revolutionized modern creole music worldwide.


Exile One, based in Guadeloupe, is a legendary Dominican group of the 1970s that was very influential in the development of Caribbean music.

In 1969, Gordon Henderson (the creole father of soul) decided that the French Overseas Department of Guadeloupe had everything he needed to begin a career in Creole music. From there, lead singer Gordon Henderson went on to found a highly influential kadans fusion band, the Vikings of Guadeloupe – of which Kassav' co-founder Pierre-Eduard Decimus was a member. At some point he felt that he should start his own group and asked a former school friend Fitzroy Williams to recruit a few Dominicans to complete those he had already selected. The group was named Exile One.

In these years, Exile One was the primary Antillean band performing the cadence (kadans) music that was common to the entire French-speaking Caribbean. The band moved from Dominica to Guadeloupe and developed a style that layered onto the kadans form elements of American rock and soul, as well as the Latin and West African rhythms coming into popularity at the time.

The Dominican kadans band Exile One led by the talented Gordon Henderson introduced the newly arrived synthesizers to their music that other young cadence or compas bands from Haiti (mini-jazz) and the French Antilles emulated in the 1970s. In forty years, Gordon Henderson has worked with scores of different musicians.

Exile One was the first kadans band to sign a production contract with a major label called Barclay Records. The first to export kadans music to the four corners of the globe: Japan, the Indian Ocean, Africa, North America, Europe and The Cape Verde islands.

Gordon Henderson[edit]

Gordon Henderson was born in Roseau, Dominica and received his secondary education at the St. Mary’s Academy, where he joined the “glee club” and participated in numerous talent shows, activities which encouraged the pursuit of a career in music.

Gordon Henderson musical career began with short stints with various teenage bands performing at talent shows and dances around the Island. In the late sixties he formed his own quartet called “Voltage Four” patterned on American group “Booker T and the MGs” or the “Meters”, and mainly toured the French Islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe. In 1970, Henderson moved to Guadeloupe to become the lead singer of “Les Vikings” of Guadeloupe, a group which toured the French Departments of Guiana, Martinique, St. Martin and Metropolitan France. He wrote and recorded a song entitled “Love” with the Vikings which became a huge hit across the Caribbean and particularly in Suriname and later Holland.

The group became legendary for having created Cadence-lypso defined by Henderson as “a synthesis of Caribbean rhythmic patterns...” The music combined Haitian cadence and the Anglo-calypso music with Creole in a manner that Haitians as well as Jamaicans could identify. Cadence-lypso revolutionized Caribbean music while Gordon Henderson’s Exile One visited every Caribbean country on a regular basis to perform. Record licenses were rampant in Jamaica, Barbados, Columbia, and Japan among other places. The group became a household name in several African countries and the islands of the Indian Ocean.

In 1975, Exile One became the first Creole act to sign a major recording contract with the French label Barclay, today a part of Universal. Exile One would go on to sell numerous gold records. Gordon Henderson went on to produce other artists including, Ophelia, a fellow Dominican who is known as the Creole lady of song. He also took time off to study the French language and did significant research on Creole culture.

In the 1980s he got involved in creating Tropic FM in Paris, France, a radio station now known as Media Tropical targeting the Caribbean Diaspora in France. He produced and hosted a TV show called “Feel the World Beat” that was broadcast on selected PBS stations in the US and the RFO-SAT network. Henderson spearheaded the creation of an annual international music event in Dominica, The World Creole Music Festival, featuring the best performers of Creole music.

Among his other credits is author of a book entitled Zoukland, and producer and performer of over 30 long-playing recording projects. Publications references include: The Pop Music of a Continent (African All Stars) by Chris Stapleton and Chris May; Zouk: World Music in the West Indies by Jocelyne Guilbault (University Chicago Press); and World Music/The Rough Guide by The Penguin Group.


Here are the names of the original members of Exile One.

  • Gordon Henderson - Lead Vocal, Organ
  • Fitzroy Williams - Organ, Synthesizer
  • Oliver Cruickshank - Drums
  • Julie Mourillon - Guitar, Chorus
  • Vivian Wallace - Bass, Chorus
  • Kremlin Fingal - Trumpet, Chorus
  • Pierre Labor - Sax, Chorus

External links[edit]