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Calypso king dies aged 83

Reuben McCoy in 2008 with Dale Butler, then Minister of Social Rehabilitation and Culture, and Melvin Dickinson (File photograph)

A calypso artist from an era when the upbeat Trinidadian music was the soundtrack of Bermuda tourism has died.

Reuben McCoy was 83.

Mr McCoy – nicknamed Lord Flea – was a popular calypso singer whose recordings included albums such as Bermuda Calling with the Barbados group the Bimshire Boys.

The album can be heard online here.

Dale Butler, a music historian and former Government minister, called him “another talented and gifted calypso singer who made excellent recordings using his warm and passionate bass voice along with his soothing guitar to woo audiences”.

Mr Butler added: “Often seen colourfully dressed, walking through town, or on the ferry serenading Bermudians and tourists, he did not like the limelight but strove to always excite and genuinely touch the hearts of everyone.

“He bundled a bright smile into a small package that made him a consummate performer.

“I extend my condolences to his family.”

Alfred Caisey, 84, a musician with island bands such as the Bermuda Longtails and Les Amis, grew up with Mr McCoy in the Friswell’s Hill neighbourhood on the border between Pembroke and Devonshire.

Mr Caisey said: “Mac was a dear friend. We were schoolboys at Central School – when we went.

“I think Mac was home-grown. I think he taught himself guitar. We were both like that. Mac was calypsonian and I got into R&B. Mac was a loner, but he was a great guy.”

Mr Caisey added: “He was a calypso king to me – he was up there with Hubert Smith.”

Mr Caisey’s former wife June Caisey, a singer, said: “When I was introduced to Reuben, he was playing the guitar like crazy and I was kind of jealous. If I could play, I would not need an accompaniment.”

She added Mr McCoy had told her she only needed to know three chords.

Ms Caisey added: “Every time he saw me in town, no matter if I was in a restaurant, we would end up singing and dancing. That was Reuben.”

⋅ Reuben George McCoy, a calypso singer and guitar player, was born on July 25, 1937. He died in June 2021. Mr McCoy was 83.

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Published June 14, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated June 11, 2021 at 2:12 pm)

Calypso king dies aged 83

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