As 2018 closes and a new year looms the Calypso fraternity in the Caribbean region and the world has lost a number of stalwarts. Indeed, this now appears to be the passing of one era – the gilded golden age of Caribbean calypso – and the ushering in of a brand new and uniquely different musical art form. Indeed, many of the foundation builders of Trinidad and Caribbean calypso are now long in the tooth and over 70 years old.
And as they leave us, the next generation in waiting seems not to respect or even acknowledge the great contributions of these incredible men and women who are now basking in their twilight years. Just recently, about a month ago we lost the incomparable Mighty Shadow whose death brought a screeching halt to his own special brand of calypso that has stuck out as a sore thumb in the business.
Now we’ve lost yet another calypso icon in the person of the uniquely talented and charismatic Lord Superior who died in New York after a long bout with cancer, we’re told. We want to extend on behalf of CARIBBEAN TIMES NEWS and our thousands of readers and our staff our heartfelt condolence to Superior’s family and friends, his wider calypso family and the people of Trinidad and Tobago. His contributions to the growth, sustainability and development of calypso was great and substantial. He will be missed.
Born Andrew Mercano 81 years ago (1938), Superior, a cancer survivor, had fallen ill earlier this year and had been ailing for some months. Superior would have turned 81-years- old next month. His calypso career spanned 64 years. Superior, also known affectionately as “Brother Superior,” was born and grew up in Rio Claro and developed a love for calypso as a youth, listening to the songs of old time legends like King Radio, Tiger, Melody, Kitchener and Spoiler.
Always an advocate for more calypso and Soca being played on local radio, Superior labored for some 20 years to secure a radio license from the Trinidad and Tobago Government. When he was granted this license, he set up a radio station he named Superior Radio that featured calypso and Soca 24 hours a day.
As the joins his ancestors, friends, family, the musical fraternity and Trinidadians and Tobagonians everywhere are mourning his sad passing also fondly known by friends and family simply as ‘Supie’.TUCO Trinidad and Tobago issued a statement hailing Marcano’s musical genius and passionate spirit.
“For the third time in less than a month, the calypso fraternity is plunged into mourning another calypso icon, with the death of Dr. Andrew Marcano, also known in the calypso Industry as Brother Superior who passed away on Saturday 24th November 2018, after ailing for some time now.
“Supie as he was fondly called, was one of those special bards who advocated for years, that there should be more calypso played on local radio stations to the point that he labored for over twenty years until he was afforded a radio license from the government. He called his station Superior Radio and was one in those days that played calypso music twenty-four hours each day,” the statement said
Lord Superior was known for always being impeccably dressed.
“One of the bards who was always dressed to kill as we say in T&T, he will be remembered for the life of our cultural history. On behalf of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organization, once again the President Mr. Lutalo Masimba and his General Council along with the entire TUCO membership, we sincerely extend our deepest condolences to his immediate family around the world and here in T&T. May the soul of the late Dr. Andrew Marcano aka The Brother Superior rest in peace with our calypso ancestors.” the statement said.
His son, Moriba Marcano said on social media that the calypso icon was a visionary of his time. “RIP Dr. Andrew ‘Lord Superior’ Marcano, my dad just passed in NY, one of his favorite places in the world, where he was set to be a star in the 1960’s before deciding to return to Trinidad in an attempt to assist the burgeoning nation in forming its cultural identity. He was a great man and a visionary of his time writing songs to help guide humanity in general and his people in specific.
“Sadly misunderstood and underappreciated, I studied the man like a text book and I only hope that his genius and goodwill will be more easily recognized in the afterlife. I loved you dad,” he said.
Lord Superior made his debut into calypso at the age of 16 singing a calypso called “Coconut” at the Victory Calypso Tent in Port of Spain. In those days he was considered to be the youngest Calypsonian to perform locally. Some of his memorable calypsoes were, Spread Joy, San Fernando Carnival, Saga T’ing, We Want A Day, Standardise Pan, Cultural Assassination and Put The Women On Top.
He was awarded the Hummingbird medal Silver in 2015 and received his Honorary Doctor of Letters at the 2017 graduation ceremony at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. Lord Superior was considered to be the first calypsonian to produce a record on his own record label, the first to Perform at the Madison Square Gardens, in New York, USA, and the first to produce a full-length calypso musical. He also attended the inauguration of President Barack Obama as a special guest in 2009.