Lord Tokyo

Lord Tokyo
Birth name Hayden Desiree
Born (1934-06-20)20 June 1934

Loubiere, Dominica
Died 12 April 2015(2015-04-12) (aged 80)

New York, United States
Genres Calypso
Occupation(s) Calypsonian
Years active 1960s–2015

Hayden Desiree (20 June 1934 – 12 April 2015), better known as Lord Tokyo (and sometimes as Doctor Tokes),[1] was one of the most prominent Dominiquais calypsonians. He was the first solo artist to release a Dominiquais-produced record, won the island's Calypso King title, and wrote a winner of the Road March contest.

Career [ edit ]

Born in Loubiere in 1934, Tokyo worked as a taxi driver before finding success as a calypsonian.[2] He married Clemencia Desabaye on 26 May 1962.[2]

Tokyo won Grandbay South Monarch crowns in 1965 and 1966, and in 1966 won the national Calypso Monarch title with "To Hell with the Judges" and "Dr. Tokes".[1] He made history in 1967 when, shortly after the debut release by the Swingin' Stars Orchestra, he became the first solo artist on the island to release a locally-made record with the single "De Man Doing de Pumpin'".[3]

In 1969 he won the Calypso King of Dominica title, and the following year his composition "Tennis Shoe Scandal" won the Road March.[1][2][3] In the early 1970s he began a collaboration with Trinidadian Lord Shorty and lyricist Chris Seraphine, combining calypso, cadence, and Creole patois to give the music a new flavour.[3] Their partnership produced the hit "Ou Dee Moin Ou Petit Shorty", and their innovation led to the development of soca.[1][3][4]

Tokyo spent much of his career in the US (where he also worked as a security guard), Canada, and the UK, recording his debut album in the latter in 1978.[3] He became good friends with Mighty Sparrow and went on to work with Sparrow's band in the 1997, recording a new version of his Road March winner "Tennis Shoe Scandal", following it with the album Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to All in 1998.[3] De Pumping Man followed in 2000, featuring a guest appearance from Sparrow on the title track.[3]

He died in New York on 12 April 2015, aged 80, after suffering a heart attack.[1] He was survived by 11 children, 28 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.[2]

Discography [ edit ]

  • Lord Tokyo Sings To The Nightengale: Calypso Harmonies (1978), Caribana
  • Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to All (1998)
  • De Pumping Man (2000)

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Lord Tokyo Dies", The Sun (Dominica), 13 April 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2016
  2. ^ a b c d "OBITUARY: Hayden “Lord Tokyo” Desiree",, 22 April 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2016
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Thompson, Dave (2002) Reggae & Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, p. 155
  4. ^ Henry, Steinberg (2011) An Unassuming Love: Black Memory, A Traveloguer, and Cricket, ISBN 978-1462883967, p. 20
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