Monthly Archives: December 2015

R.I.P. King Rhino

Grenada has lost a cultural icon.  Former Carriacou and Petit Martinique calypso and soca Monarch Kenly Joseph (better known by the sobriquet Rhino) died from gunshot wounds in Brooklyn, New York on December 4, 2015.  Fans and friends remember Rhino for his joyful disposition, sharp social commentaries, wit, and his exploits as a distinguished parandero. Many are moaning Rhino, especially as the holiday season is upon us, clearly one of the seasons he lived for. For more on the tragedy please visit the story from the Grenada Chronicle.  Big Drum Nation consulted cultural and community activist Nic Cox for his reflection on King Rhino’s contribution and legacy.

Big Drum Nation: Who was calypsonian King Rhino? 

Nic Cox: In my opinion, Rhino was a very talented calypsonian. He was blessed with a rich and powerful voice which he controlled very well. He had a great command of the stage and used his body language well to convey his messages. I particularly remember viewing him, via the internet, as he performed at a  competition in Carriacou. It was a social commentary/political commentary, partly referencing the issue of garbage disposal in Carriacou and Petit Martinique. His imagery and antics play back in my mind to this day.

Big Drum Nation: It is noted that Rhino won the Carriacou calypso crown in consecutive tournaments: How good was he (how do you rate him)?

NIc Cox: I was not able to particularly follow or document Rhino’s competitive achievements, yet I was aware of him being Carriacou and Petit Martinique’s calypso monarch on multiple occasions.  I rate him second only to the Mighty Hypocrite, who dominated the Carriacou and Petit Martinique calypso arena in the early to mid 1970s.  In my judgment, Hypocrite edges out Rhino in crafty lyrics.

Big Drum Nation: Did he record? If yes, are his records available?

Nic Cox: Unfortunately, I do not own any recordings by Rhino.  I am not sure if the calypsos that he did in Carriacou were commercially recorded.  When Rhino moved to the USA I did encourage him to collaborate with me to record his past work and do new recording projects.  He declined the offer saying that he was done with the business.  He later did produce some recordings which included “Come Back Home for the Carnival”.  The lyrics suggested an answer to the fans who longed to hear and see him.  I was never able to figure out how to own a copy of this recording.

Big Drum Nation: He was calypsonian and parandero: Did he dominate the Carriacou parang?

Nic Cox: Even though I was not present in Carriacou for the parang competitions, I did follow the happenings to some extent and was always impressed by the groups from the Brunswick/Six Roads area of Carriacou.  Their parang groups held true to the history of Brunswick/Six Roads/Mt. Desire being leaders in creative paranging.  Rhino may have participated in the Parang Festivals as part of a parang group and not as an individual.

Big Drum Nation: When did he come to the U.S.? How will you remember him?

Nic Cox: Sometimes we live with history, and then have to reflect and research before recording it.  I cannot at this moment remember even approximately when Rhino moved to the USA.  I do remember him as a very charming fellow.  He seemed to carry an eternal smile and was ready to “burst a laugh” at any given moment.

Big Drum Nation: How will Rhino be remembered in Carriacou?

Nic Cox: I am aware of the legacy that Rhino built in Carriacou in the world of calypso.  The fans would remember him as one of the greatest.  There will be wishes that he was still here to give some more of that great talent bestowed on him.

Big Drum Nation: Thank you.

Come Celebrate 10th Anniversary of NYC Transit Strike this Saturday at MEC

twu-feature[1]This coming weekend marks a decade since the City of New York was brought to a standstill as a result of the first Citywide Transit Strike in 25 years. The strike started on Dec 20th, 2005 and lasted for 3 days.41L+NSgdboL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_[1]

A program marking the 10th Anniversary of the Dec 2005 NYC Transit Strike is being held on Sat. Dec 19th from 2pm to 6pm.

The program is free to the public and will be held in the ‘Founders Auditorium’ at Medgar Evers College, CUNY, located at 1650 Bedford Ave in Brooklyn (Between Crown St and Montgomery St).

The program is supported by the Medgar Evers College Department of Public Administration and is sponsored by a working committee of Transit workers, Community organizations, Activists, and experts from the Legal and Academic communities.

45CC4697-5056-A174-19672572D9664B7F_mid[1]The program features displays, videos, slides about this historic 2005 strike. It includes a keynote address by Roger Toussaint, who led Transit workers during their strike and presentations from Journalists, Commentators, Legal and Academic experts as well as Social Justice Organizers from the Black Lives Matter and Domestic Workers Movements.

Take the IRT #2,3,4 or 5 train to Franklin Ave. The Bldg is two blocks from Empire Blvd.

Parking is also available in the rear of 1650 Bedford Ave.

“One of the best novels set in the Caribbean in the last 50 years” Launches in Brooklyn

Book launch of ‘Gypsy in the Moonlight’


“Gypsy in the Moonlight,” a novel set in Trinidad and Tobago during World War II, written by Lawrence Waldron, will be formally launched Tuesday evening December 15 at the Brooklyn Public Library branch at 22 Linden Blvd, Brooklyn. The launch, scheduled for 6:00-7:45 PM,  will be hosted by the Caribbean Awareness Committee and the Trinidad and Tobago Folk Arts Institute, in collaboration with the Caribbean Literary and Cultural Center.

The book is, as described by the  author, “a historical novel that combines the wry wit, urban commentary and gender anxieties of the uniquely modern and surprisingly compatible mediums of calypso and noir.”

A New York resident and émigré from Trinidad and Tobago, author Lawrence Waldron teaches Caribbean Art at City College of CUNY. “Gypsy in the Moonlight” provided Waldron with an opportunity to lean heavily on abundant research and extensive writing and lecturing he has done on Trinidadian cultural traditions, including calypso.

Dubbed “a calypso mystery,” the novel uses the presence of American servicemen stationed at the naval base in Chaguaramas, Trinidad from 1942 and the resulting so-called “social invasion” that impacted Trinidadian society, to weave its tale of mischief and eventually, murder. Reflecting the tenor of the times, the calypso art form, as an important forum for topical commentary, boldly addressed the dramatic change in social mores occasioned by the American military presence, no individual composition doing so  more famously than Lord Invader’s classic “Rum and Coca Cola.”


J.L.F. Waldron

Positive advance comments about “Gypsy in the Moonlight” include the following: “a fine, powerfully evocative literary work that confronts the dark shadows of the Yankee presence in Trinidad during the 1940s” (Roger Toussaint, former president of the Transport Workers Union Local 100); “it beams light on the often condescending presence of American military personnel stationed in Trinidad” (Duff Mitchell, Trinidad and Tobago Folk Arta Institute); “It is easily one of the best novels set in the Caribbean in the last 50 years” (W.R. Holder, educator).

The December 15 book launch event is free and open to the public. For information contact: Caribbean Awareness Committee at 718-532-6347 or T&T Folk Arts Institute at 718-252-6161. 

“Gypsy in the Moonlight” can be purchased through the author’s blog.


Honey, dat is a Sweet Victory


The loss of bee-loved forage habitats and the reckless use of new generations of “pesticides”UK Honey Award have combined to bring havoc to bee populations all around the world. Grenada is at the head of the fight to save the world’s bees. In fact, Grenadians Dr. Valma Jessamy and Mr. Jerry Edwin, have won the 2015 Medal of Ukraine, a world-recognized distinction of excellence in the business.

Read more: