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Thread: Andre Tanker Dead at age 61

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    Andre Tanker Dead at age 61

    By Nigel Telesford

    After complaining of what he thought was indigestion all Friday evening, veteran musician, singer and composer, Andre Tanker, suffered a massive heart attack and died around 10 p.m.

    According to his daughter, Zo-mari Isava, 61-year-old Tanker was at his Maraval home preparing to look at the finals of the International Soca Monarch competition, which was being broadcast live on TV6, when he took ill. (see Page 6 profile on Tanker).

    “I believe the last thing he said was ‘look, Soca Monarch Finals are going to start’, “ she said. “Then we heard a kind of gurgling sound and he was gasping for air, so we rushed him to the hospital, but by that time he was already gone, he had stopped breathing.”

    Tanker’s relatives expressed disgust over the response of the health services.

    His son-in-law, Ryan Isava, said: “We called the 999 emergency number and they told us that they had no ambulance for that area, which is ridiculous because it’s not like he lives up in the bush or something. So, I raced down to Maraval from my home in Petit Valley and then we had to get him down the stairs and into the car and from there we rushed him to St Clair (Medical Centre).

    “When we get there now, I run inside and tell the receptionist that Andre Tanker is in the car outside and he’s having a heart attack and she watches me and calmly asks ‘can he walk inside’. So I literally start cussing and eventually they get a stretcher and take him inside, but even on the way up they’re telling us that it costs $400 to see the doctor and asking who’s paying for it and really badgering us about a matter that we considered trivial at the time. They were very insensitive and inhumane and I think that memory will stay with me forever.”

    Staff at St Clair Medical Centre declined comment yesterday.

    Tanker’s “musical journey” began in the 1960s. His most recent performance was at “The Mad Hatters Ball” hosted by Island Style Entertainment at MO2BS on Thursday night.

    He remained at the venue long after his feature presentation.

    “We limed really late at that fete,” his daughter recalled, “because he said it was his last party—well, at the time he meant his last party of the season, but... it really turned out to be his very last.”

    She added: “We’re trying to stay strong, you know, but it’s a tremendous shock and it happened so suddenly. We’re just trying to cope with this loss and, of course, all his extended family, that is, his many adopted children are distraught as well. He touched so many people...”

    His funeral is tentatively set for March 6 at the Church of Assumption, Maraval.

    Andre Tanker :BIO

    Andre Michael Tanker was born on the 25th of September, 1941. Born into an artistic family, Andre was introduced to music at an early age, as his mother, a dancer at the time, always brought home countless records to listen to. The likes of calypsonians The Mighty Sparrow and The Lord Kitchener together with internationally renowned artistes such as Perez Prado, Ray Charles, Fela Kuti and Ravi Shankar were always being played around the house and inspired Andre to set out and pursue his own musical identity.

    Today Andre Tanker is a regionally and internationally recognised composer, musician and singer with such hits as "Sayamanda", "Basement Party" and "Forward Home". Andre also plays the guitar, cuatro, flute, vibra phone and blue harp and openly admits that he appreciates all spectrums of music and is motivated by the many diverse cultural and social influences which shape today's sound. As for his own unique style of music, he describes it as being Caribbean in flavour with a world consciousness.

    Over the years, Andre has composed and directed musical scores for regional and international stage productions such as Derek Walcott's "Ti-Jean and his brothers" which was performed throughout the Caribbean, North America and Europe, Earl Lovelace's "The Dragon can't Dance" which was performed in the Caribbean, as well as in England and in Canada. And he composed and directed the musical score for director Frances Ann Solomon's made for television movie " What my Mother told me" which was aired on London's Channel 4 television.

    He was awarded Cacique Awards in 1990 and 1995 for best composer and best musical director of the year and was the distinguished recipient of the New York Sunshine Award in 1992 for outstanding contributions to Caribbean music.

    But to Andre, his two most self fulfilling accomplishments in his musical career occurred in 1993, when he composed and directed the musical scores for the New York Lincoln Centre Theatre Department's production of "Playboy of the West Indies" and New York Shakespeare Festival production of "Measure for Measure" which was presented in a Caribbean setting.

    Andre Michael Tanker is a true musical talent who has fulfilled his potential and whose music reflects the warmth of Caribbean life and the power of spiritual connection.

  2. #2
    Shitsuren Kyuka RenzePenze's Avatar RenzePenze is offline
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    Jan 2000
    Ft Liquordale
    This was a shock. R.I.P Andre Tanker. Calypso has lost another great.. My condolences to his family.
    The saint and the sinner are just exchanging notes. Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

    The matador wins by avoiding the bull not colliding with him!

  3. #3
    Mrs. Cimo 2 QueenBea's Avatar QueenBea is offline
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    Jan 2000
    I was so sad to hear this news. I was actually watching the soca monarch finals when roy cape was talking about his passing. This man has done so much and given such a contribution to the calypso industry. R.I.P Andre, and my condolences to his family.

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