SHADOW (1941 – 2018)

Some sad news in today that legendary Calypsonian – Shadow (or Mighty Shadow as he was also known) passed away at the age of 77. Many people here in the UK got to see him via Channel 4 films such as Carnival in 1983 and Kaiso in 1985 but he was something of a people’s champion in the Calypso world. Despite rarely getting the same recognition by the establishment as the likes of Sparrow or Kitchener, he still maintained a strong influence on the scene and many credit him with being instrumental to the birth of Soca with his high energy Kaiso that often lay heavy on the drums and bass. I’ve pulled out a few of his tracks that I feel best outline his impressive history.

The Threat
From 1971, this could largely be considered his calling card. It’s a direct challenge to the ruling Calypsonians of the day, Mighty Sparrow and Lord Kitchener.

In 1974 he finally went head to head with Sparrow in the Calypso Monarch finals. He lost out on the title once again but he did win both first and second place in the Road March contest that year with this track and ‘Ah Come Out To Play’.

Jump Judges Jump
Frustrated by his lack of titles, he penned this attack on the Calypso Monarch judges in 1977.

Bacchanal Time
This funky little number was the title track from a 1978 comedy film he starred in alongside Calypso Rose and Crazy amongst others.

Always up for experimentation, this track from his 1980 album D’Hardest is delving into Disco territory. This is probably his most sought after track by DJs but was tagged onto an Analog Africa 2017 re-release of his equally funky 1984 album ‘Sweet Sweet Dreams’.

We played this on the Super Soca Show recently, it’s one of my favourites and it was a big hit for Shadow in 1992. Such an uplifting track and if you didn’t know, Dingolay means to dance joyfully and expressively like nobody is watching.

Scratch Meh Back
Eventually Shadow would win the Calypso Monarch title, but it took him until 2000. This ode to getting old was one of his winning songs.

In 2001 Shadow won both the Road March and the Soca Monarch title with this track, only the second artist to do so since Super Blue (who won both in 1993 and 2000).

This is by no stretch a comprehensive over view of the enigmatic and ground breaking artist, but hopefully these tracks should give anybody who has joined the Shadow party a little too late, enough interest to discover more from the great man themselves.

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