Soca icon Arrow dead at 56
LEGENDARY Soca singer Arrow who lost his battle with brain cancer yesterday at his home in Montserrat is being remembered as a perfectionist and a central force to our own Byron Lee and the Dragonaires Band.
Neville Hinds, leader of the Dragonaires, recalled how Arrow, in preparation for his appearance at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium during the Opening Ceremony for the 2007 Cricket World Cup held in Jamaica — one of his last appearances with the band -- was on the phone non-stop even before he arrived in the island.
"That was how he approached his work. He always strived for the best," Hinds told the Observer, adding, "He did one song, Hot Hot Hot, and it was an amazing performance."
The noted keyboardist and musical director of the Dragonaires went on to state that Arrow, who is also his son's godfather, has been a central force with the band with which he has been associated since the 1970s.
"He (Arrow) has been a central force with the band and a great friend of Byron Lee. The high-point of that association is the song, Tiney Winey, which was written by Arrow and recorded by his brother Justin Cassell," Hinds said.
He also recalled a series of shows put on by Byron Lee and the Dragonaires in the late 1980s dubbed "Heat In The Place".
"The first one was Arrow vs Sugar Minott and the second one was Arrow vs King Yellowman," Hinds reminisced.
Born Alphonsus Celestine Edmund Cassell on November 16, 1954, Arrow began singing at school before eventually copping the crown of Calypso Monarch of Montserrat.
He went on to record hits such as Instant Knockout and Double Trouble. But it was Hot Hot Hot, recorded in 1983, that would catapult him to the attention of music-lovers worldwide.
According to Internet reports, Arrow was airlifted a week ago into Antigua for treatment at Mount St John's Medical Centre but returned home early Monday morning.