De Healer and Third Eye: Dad and Son in Dominica Calypso
Eighteen year old nursing student at the Dominica State College (DSC), Phael "De Healer" Lander believes he has what it takes to make it to the top of Calypso in Dominica.
A former student of the St. Mary's Academy (SMA), De Healer said he started singing in the Junior Calypso Monarch competition when he was11 years old in Second Form, in 2011.
"My motivation to come into the 'big ring' was my desire to follow in the footsteps of my father "Third Eye". I have always loved Calypso growing up. It has always been a passion for me and even when I did not take part in 2015, because of my studies, I had a bit of a "gwo pwel". I just wanted to be involved, so last year I did backup vocals since it was also my first year in college. But being involved got me motivated further and so I got involved this year, 2017. I had the idea of the song and sent it to Nicole Knight- Laville and the rest is history," he said.
Phael's Calypso name (De Healer) is easy to explain-he is pursuing his education in pre health, the first part of Bachelors in Nursing programme at the DSC. He is very active in the DSC Key Club- he is the president; he is also a volunteer at the Dominica Red Cross and also part of the medical team of the Dominica Football Association (DFA) and has travelled with the national Under 20 team to the Dominican Republic.
De Healer's advice to those wanting to enter into the competition is: set your goals.
"My goal was that I am starting in Elimination and I don't want to go back there…I have already achieved that goal. My new goal is to make it to the final round; so, even if you fail a million times, set goals for yourself not only in Calypso but in whatever you do in life," he said. For him it was a "pleasure" and honour to be on the big stage with his Dad and he was hoping that he would have made it all the way with him.
His father is Reginald "Third Eye" Lander, a 30-year veteran in the Calypso business.
"I started singing Calypso in 1987 and went straight to the Finals with my song "Clean up Time." From that time it has been rough and bumpy for me. I then made it to the Finals again in 1993 with "Homework" and again in 1996 with "Moo Moo is talking". I have had some nice songs but not sure what has happened, maybe it went over the judges' heads," Third Eye said.
The elder Lander explained that he was part of what was described as a "Calypso Coup" in 1990, getting rid of then president of the Calypso Association Bernard "Rabbit" Alexander and the Swinging Stars.
"We were not happy with the way they were controlling and running the affairs of Calypso in the country. And the rest is history, as in 1991 the executive went to the band Stylee and we had sabotage when the show started in the wee hours of the morning. I have been part of every new tent from Stardom in its present form started in 1991," he said.
He said he was part of another Calypso coup in 2000/2001 where they removed Kelly "Ghost" Williams and his executive.
"Some guys are on the executive for 20 years and Calypso is going nowhere…no training, not a thing. I got $1,000 for making it to the Quarter Finals in 2017 and I spent $880, so just do the math. I said ten years ago I was finished with Calypso but when September comes I get sick…a gwo pwel". I had to come back especially when my son decided he wanted to be in the ring, I could not let him go out to be eaten by the wolves. I had to be there to give him that support. It's nasty at the Quarters, Semi's etc, lots of jealousy and dirtiness, some say it's evil. I wanted to be there with him to guide him along," he said.
He continued: "Maybe that is why I may have mumbled a few lines. But I am happy my son is there, he is confident and has a strong team, with his Mom along with me and many others. He already has his second song, we are trying to keep him focused and calm. He is a darling, respectful son and my Mom loves him with all things equal, and (if) he gets to the Finals he will be a force to be reckoned with. I am just proud of him," Third Eye stated.
Third Eye regards Norman "Ency" Cyrille as one of the greatest calypsonians ever in Dominica and believes that his earlier close association with Pat "Musician" Aaron and his "no nonsense" attitude to the management and governance of Calypso in Dominica, may have caused him to be unpopular and or disliked by some.
"But I am not worried…I just love Calypso and can't stay away from it," he said.