|Volume No. 1 Issue No. 62 - Friday September 03, 2004|
|Gordon Henderson: Cadence-lypso Legend Honord in Washington |
From the CAIO Independence Publication
Gordon Henderson was born in Roseau, Dominica and received his secondary education at the St. Mary’s Academy, where he joined the “glee club” and participated in numerous talent shows, activities which encouraged the pursuit of a career in music.
That musical career began with short stints with various teenage bands performing at talent shows and dances around the Island. In the late sixties he formed his own quartet called “Voltage Four” patterned on American group “Booker T and the MGs” or the “Meters”, and mainly toured the French Islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
In 1970 Henderson moved to Guadeloupe to become the lead singer of “Les Vikings” of Guadeloupe, a group which toured the French Departments of Guiana, Martinique, St. Martin and Metropolitan France.
He wrote and recorded a song entitled “Love” with the Vikings which became a huge hit across the Caribbean and particularly in Suriname and later Holland.
In 1973, Henderson invited fellow Dominicans to join him along with a Trinidadian and two Guadeloupeans to form the group EXILE ONE in Guadeloupe.
The group became legendary for having created Cadence-lypso defined by Henderson as “a synthesis of Caribbean rhythmic patterns...” The music combined the Anglo-calypso with the Creole in a manner that Haitians as well as Jamaicans could identify.
Cadence revolutionized Caribbean music while Gordon Henderson’s Exile One visited every Caribbean country on a regular basis to perform. Record licenses were rampant in Jamaica, Barbados, Columbia, and Japan among other places. The group became a household name in several African countries and the islands of the Indian Ocean.
In 1975, Exile One became the first Creole act to sign a major recording contract with the French label Barclay, today a part of Universal. Exile One would go on to sell numerous gold records.
Henderson went on to produce other artists including, Ophelia, a fellow Dominican who is known as the Creole lady of song. He also took time off to study the French language and did significant research on Creole culture.
In the 1980s he got involved in creating Tropic FM in Paris, France, a radio station now known as Media Tropical targeting the Caribbean Diaspora in France. He produced and hosted a TV show called “Feel the World Beat” that was broadcast on selected PBS stations in the US and the RFO-SAT network.
Henderson spearheaded the creation of an annual international music event in Dominica, The World Creole Music Festival, featuring the best performers of Creole music. The eighth edition is scheduled for October 28 – 31, 2004 in Roseau, Dominica.
He is the Vice-President of the Queen of the Caribbean pageant, which features contestants from 33 countries.
Among his other credits is author of a book entitled Zoukland, and producer and performer of over 30 long-playing recording projects. Publications references include: The Pop Music of a Continent (African All Stars) by Chris Stapleton and Chris May; Zouk: World Music in the West Indies by Jocelyne Guilbault (University Chicago Press); and World Music/The Rough Guide by The Penguin Group.