It is a sad and somber day in Montserrat today. The nation and fans around the world are mourning the death of soca super star Arrow.
The acclaimed international performer passed away quietly at his home in Lime Kiln this morning after a long illness.
Arrow, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2009, returned from Antigua on Monday after being hospitalized in Antigua.
His brother Justin Hero Cassell said he finally succumbed to his illness.
Hero also says the family will be making announcements in the future on funeral arrangements.
In a statement issued a short while ago the family expressed thanks to the medical teams, friends and family who gave their support during the period of his illness.
The statement said that Arrow is responsible for taking to soca genre to the international music scene with his 1982 smash hit Hot, Hot, Hot.
Having won the local calypso competition on four occasions, the talents of the proud son of Montserrat were spotted by former Beatles manager, Sir George Martin, who worked with Arrow to turn his focus to his recording and touring career.
The family said his death is a great loss to the family, his native land of Montserrat and the music world.
A road show has been organized to be held at the Montserrat Cultural Centre this evening at 7 to pay tribute to Arrow.
Persons are being invited to wear a white T-shirt and bring along a candle or a flash light.
The family also said that funeral announcements will be made in due course.
Cassell first performed aged 10 in a concert at the Montserrat Secondary School.
He began singing calypso in 1967 and took the Junior Monarch title that year.
He took up singing professionally in 1969, and released his first single, “Dance with Me, Woman” in 1972.
Arrow set up his own Arrow label in 1973 and began to fuse calypso with other genres such as R&B, Zouk and salsa, which brought soca music to a new audience.
He recorded Hot Hot Hot in 1982, which became the biggest selling soca hit of all time.
It was adopted as the theme song of the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, and was later covered by Buster Poindexter, Menudo, and Babla & Kanchan.
He capitalized on this success with 1983′s Heat album, and the “Rub Up” single, and 1984′s Soca Savage album, from which the international hit “Long Time” was taken, a top 30 hit in the United Kingdom.
He enjoyed further chart success in the UK with a remixed version of “Hot Hot Hot”, which reached number 38.
Arrow also established himself as a businessman in Montserrat, owning the Arrow’s Manshop store.
He was in heavy demand until his illness, and performed for President Barrack Obama in 2009 and before that the Cricket World Cup 2007 opening ceremonies with Shaggy, Byron Lee and Kevin Lyttle.
Current calypso monarch of Antigua and former Calypso King in Montserrat Bear said news of Arrow’s death spolit his 49th birthday today.
Party King turn sprint King Usain Bolt said he plans to retire at the age of 30 after competing at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil if it goes well for him.
In a recent interview Bolt said the 2012 London Olympics will not be his last.
“2016?” he said.
“I don’t think I will be.
“But it’s Brazil, right?
“I think that will be my last Olympics.
“So I think I will retire at 30 if it’s a good season.”
Does this sound like Bolt already touting his retirement… Bold should become a deejay or start a night club after retirement.
Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporter
THE TRIAL of reggae superstar Buju Banton has again been pushed back, leaving the Jamaican to spend more time in an American jail before getting a chance to clear his name.
This has left the legal team of the reggae icon frustrated.
"The trial was pushed back to September 20 despite our objection," David Oscar Markus of Buju's legal team told The Sunday Gleaner.
"We are ready to go and Buju is looking forward to his day in court," Markus added.
United States District Judge James Moody Jr last Thursday granted a one-week delay in the start of the trial based on a request by attorneys representing one of Buju's co-defendants, James Mack.
Mack's lawyers had written to the judge seeking more time to prepare his defence.
"The court grants this continuance to allow defendant Mack additional time to prepare for trial. The court finds the ends of justice served by the continuance to allow the defendant more time to prepare outweighs the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial," the judge said in his ruling handed down last Thursday.
This is the fifth change in the scheduled start of a trial for Buju, who has been languishing in custody in Florida since last December when he was arrested on charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine, and aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.
Buju - whose correct name is Mark Myrie - Mack, and Ian Thomas were held following a sting operation by US law- enforcement officials.
Initially, their trial was set to begin on March 3, but due to conflicting reports, the defence moved to start the trial on April 12. The court granted the motion and set the trial to begin on April 19. This was later shifted to June 21, and then to September 13.
The new trial date is just over one week before the scheduled release of Buju's latest album titled Before The Dawn.
The album will contain 10 tracks that comprise some of the more prophetic songs written by Buju since his entry into the music business more than 20 years ago.
The album's unofficial anthem is Innocent.