Lord Tokyo dies
No one can call Lord Toyko mové lange; yet he produced "Tennis Shoe Scandal" Dominica's hottest Road March ever and helped create Soca's first song "Ou di moi ou piti Shorty."
Best known for his raunchy calypso "Tennis Shoe Scandal", Hayden Desiree of Grand Bay whom almost everyone called "Lord Tokyo" died in New York last Sunday.
Described as a flamboyant and colourful character, Lord Tokyo began his Calypso career in the Sixties. And he did not retire.
Lord Tokyo (sometimes referred to as Doctor Tokes) won Calypso crowns in 1965 and 1966 in the Grandbay South Monarch Competition and later the national Calypso Monarch in 1966 with "To Hell with the Judges" and "Dr. Tokes".
However, the song that defined Lord Tokyo's lengthy and illustrious career was "Tennis Shoe Scandal" that he released in 1970; it later became an everlasting Road March.
"Woi, Woi, Woi, remember I did warn you", Tokyo sang. "Woi, woi woi, see what you do/ Is a brand new shoe/ Mamay say you shouldn't use/ You just coming/ Your big foot you pushing/ And see how you burst up/ My brand new tennis shoe tongue".
Well, everyone knew that Lord Tokyo was not referring to shoes in "Tennis Shoe Scandal" yet no one could call him "mové lange." Like beauty and all masked Calypsos, the meaning was in the mind of the beholder or the hearer.
"This song had everything the Calypso textbooks would recommend, and more, especially the art of masking," wrote Dr. Francis Severin of the University of the West Indies in the Dominica Calypso "Kaiso" Hall of Fame citation in honour of Lord Tokyo's contribution to the Calypso in Dominica.
During his career, Lord Tokyo sang much more than Calypso. His Christmas album "Chante Noel" remains one of the most durable Christmas songs in Dominica.
And his love for country was constant and unquenchable as he illustrated in many of his songs. Recall these lyrics:
"You see those lovely waterfalls/ Towering mountains looking up so tall / Dominica where all de beauty lies / Captain take me there before I die."
And his son Bert confirmed that when he spoke to state-owned DBS radio this morning. Bert described his father as: "Amusing, entertaining, loved Dominica to the max."
In case you are unaware, Lord Tokyo also helped in the creation of Soca, as writer Alex Bruno has revealed in his unpublished book "Historical Perspectives of Calypso & Soca".
Bruno says Tokyo assisted in the production of the Creole chorus of Trinidad's Lord Shorty (later Lord Short I) first Soca masterpiece titled: "Ou di moi ou piti Shorty,"
Thank you, Dr. Tokes, for the pleasure you gave to thousands of Dominicans through your Calypsos. Nobody "can give you mové lange".