Prominent calypso lyricist dies

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Winsford “Joker” Devine

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Culture and Arts Minister, Randall Mitchell, has paid tribute to the prolific calypso writer Winsford “Joker” Devine, who died earlier on Tuesday. He was 77 years old.

Devine, who was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of West Indies, St. Augustine, in 2017, had penned more than 500 songs for singers, including the renowned calypsonians Singer Francisco, the Mighty Sparrow, Black Stalin, Sugar Aloes, Baron, Crazy, and Machel Montano.

The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) described his tune ”Progress,” which had been sung by the late King Austin, as the song of the last millennium.

In a statement, Mitchell said his contribution exemplified his commitment to Trinidad and Tobago’s culture through calypso.

“His iconic contribution has advanced calypso over the past decades. Many of his songs will continue to inspire and uplift us today and in the future,” Mitchell said of the self-taught musician, who learned the basics of his craft by playing the steelpan.

Devine also wrote the memorable Steelband Music Festival Test Piece titled “Fire and Steel.”

Devine was the recipient of The Hummingbird Medal (Silver) for Music and the Arts. He was also awarded an Honorary Distinguished Fellow, The Arts, from the University of Trinidad and Tobago in 2016.

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