Benji of Triple Kay
Benji of Triple Kay

Can you believe it? It's that time again when we acknowledge some of the artistes who really stood out last year.

Well, for several years now none has been able to surpass, at least in my estimation the Triple Kay Band from their position as Band of the Year. Benji being an integral part of that line up is front man of 2016 also, by virtue of his command on stage and ability to incite fans into a frenzy, keeping them constantly entertained.

Triple Kay's album featuring their interpretation of "Everybody loves Coco" and James Brown's "I feel good" has really captured the imagination of fans and the nation. Hence they also capture the Album of the Year accolade. However, the composition of the year would be the late Trevy Felix's international hit "Every day is a day for love". Not much local airplay was given but it's one of the best composed and arranged songs for 2016. This is closely followed by "Rise again" a Ronald Charles composition performer by Jerd Dorset and the "Look us Band" of Trafalgar. Jerd himself is the Most Promising Lead Vocalist/ Singer of the Year.

The leading female and artist overall for 2016 is the undisputable Michele Henderson who has thrilled fans on her many tours of duty in the Francophone world and beyond.

Meanwhile, the underrated Peter Letang reigning Customs/ Port Calypso Monarch is Musician of the Year. The unassuming Peter is responsible for recording half of all Dominica calypsos for the past five or so years. He is the musical leader of the Swinging Stars, saxophonist for the Music Lovers Government Band, calypsonian, and has served in a back-up capacity for many private gigs, and for over 100 calypsonians annually. Last year (2015) was no exception; he sequenced and played for over 70 calypsonians at Eliminations and wrote over 50 music scores overall.

Ferdina Frampton is a breath of fresh air from the political talk shows and so it was easy to once again rate her Monday Nights Q95 hosted show as the best. Her depth of discourse and well-chosen guests generated range of emotions from smiles to tears.

Chad Ambo continues to dominate the music video landscape and is Music Videographer of the Year. Reggae singer Aima's "Can't Stay" is my pick for Music Video for its quality and story line. I pause to acknowledge Cornel as Producer of the Year having produced for a number of local artistes incorporated on his new "Love riddim".

Devine Echo, an accapella group just over one year old, is the Most Promising Group to emerge on island while most promising band is Cadence winners Ti –Orkest.

The Best Gospel Album belongs to Yohann Henry while the artiste calling himself Shernel is the Best Gospel Performer of 2015. Best Young Female Artiste is Mel –C who apart from performing with her band locally is doing solo work even in Martinique where her music videos and compositions are receiving airplay and some recognition in the French territory.

Teen idols Casim Birmingham and Janae Jackson are the Male and Female Teen Artistes of the Year coming from their successful tour of the Bahamas where they impressed an international group of music scouts. They continued to make strides locally in the Christmas Song Contest and on the national calypso stage.

Phaze Five Steel Pan is the most visible Steel Band on Island for the past 25 years; the band performs at formal government engagements, the Fort Young Hotel, private weddings, festivals, the Ross University, tourist events or other functions all over the island.

Sisserou Singers is rivalled only by River Songs" (albeit by some distance) as he Best Chorale Group on island. Miguel Labadie is DJ of the Year as his show is not just about music but also analysis, promotion and interviews with the artistes themselves. Mr Mystic comes in a close second.

Former National Queen, Leandra Lander, an award winning writer of short stories and poetry is my choice for Artist of the Year. She often falls under the radar because she is very often in the background except for when she performs with the Sisserou Singers, in which she is a high profile member.

Until next time have a productive 2016.

BY Ian Jackson