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Arrow
Birth name Alphonsus Celstine Edmund Cassell MBE
Born November 16, 1954 (1954-11-16) (age 55)
Genres Soca
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1964-present
Labels Arrow Records (1973 - present)
Chrysalis Records (1981-1984)
London Records (1984)
Island Records (1988 - 1989)
Mango Records (1989 - 1990)
Website michaelsembello.com

Alphonsus Celestine Edmund Cassell MBE (born 16 November 1954) is a calypso and soca musician who performs under the stage name Arrow, and is regarded as the first superstar of soca.[1]

Contents

Biography

Cassell first performed aged 10 in a concert at the Montserrat Secondary School.[1] He began singing calypso in 1967 and took the Junior Monarch title that year. He took up singing professionally in 1969, and in that year he was runner up in the Montserrat Calypso King competition, going on to win the title the following year (following in the footsteps of his brothers Justin (a.k.a. Hero) and Lorenzo (a.k.a. Young Challenger).[1] He would go on to take the title a total of four times.

He released his first single, "Dance with Me, Woman" in 1972, and set up his own Arrow label in 1973. 1974 saw the release of debut album The Mighty Arrow on Target, followed in 1975 with Arrow Strikes Again. He won the Road March competition at the 1975 St. Kitts festival with "Rummy Song".[1]

Arrow began to fuse calypso with other genres such as R&B and salsa, resulting in some criticism, with accusations that he was destroying Montserrat's calypso traditions. In fact, his updating of the genre brought it to a new audience.[1]

In 1982, Arrow began working with arranger Leston Paul, and, with his Multi National Force band, recorded the album Hot Hot Hot, the title track, "Hot Hot Hot", becoming his first pan-Caribbean hit and the biggest selling soca hit of all time.[1] It was adopted as the theme song of the 1986 Fifa World Cup in Mexico, and was later covered by David Johansen (in his Buster Poindexter alter ego), Menudo, and Babla & Kanchan.[1]

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.[1] He enjoyed further chart success in the UK with a remixed version of "Hot Hot Hot", which reached number 38 (the original had stalled at number 58). By this time, Arrow was also incorporating Latin brass into his music. Subsequent albums also saw the incorporation of merengue (1986's Heavy Energy), and rock (1988's Knock Dem Dead). Heavy Energy was his first album for Island Records' Mango label, with two further albums released on the label.

Arrow also established himself as a businessman in Montserrat, owning the Arrow's Manshop store in Plymouth. When this was destroyed by the Soufriere Hills volcanic eruption, he relocated to Salem. He organized a fundraising calypso festival on the island in 1996, in response to the devastation caused by the volcano.[1]

Arrow co-headlined Bermuda's Soca '96 festival, and continued to regularly release albums. In 1988, he was awarded the Living Legends award by the organizers of the Caribbean Song Festival and the Bahamas Tourist Board.[1]

Arrow continues to be much in demand in the Caribbean, and most recently performed at the Cricket World Cup 2007 opening ceremonies with Shaggy, Byron Lee and Kevin Lyttle.

Discography

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Albums

  • The Mighty Arrow on Target (1971)
  • Arrow Strikes Again (1973)
  • Keep on Jamming (1975)
  • Instant Knockout (1980)
  • Hot Hot Hot (1982)
  • Heat (1983)
  • Soca Savage (1984)
  • Deadly (1985)
  • Heavy Energy (1986)
  • Knock Dem Dead (1987)
  • Massive (1988)
  • O'La Soca (1989)
  • Soca Dance Party (1990)
  • Zombie Soca (1991)
  • Zombie Remixes (1991)
  • Model De Bam Bam (1992)
  • Outrageous (1993)
  • Phat (1995)
  • Ride de Riddem (1996)
  • Turbulence (1998)
  • Beat de Drum (2000)
  • No Rules (2002)

Singles

  • 1973: "Dance with Me, Woman"
  • 1981: "Soca Rhumba"
  • 1983: "Rub Up"
  • 1983: "Hot Hot Hot" #59 UK
  • 1984: "Long Time" #30 UK
  • 1988: "Groove Master" #23 U.S. Dance
  • 1989: "O' La Soca" #38 U.S. Dance
  • 1994: "Hot Hot Hot (World Carnival Mix '94)" #38 UK

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Thompson, Dave (2002) "Reggae & Caribbean Music", Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, p.26-28

Further reading

  • De Ledesma, Charles and Georgia Popplewell. "Put Water in the Brandy?"". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 2: Latin & North America, Caribbean, India, Asia and Pacific, pp 507–526. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0

External links


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