Multinational Force Band is back
Work of calypso, soca artiste Arrow to be honoured

Concerned that Arrow's music is in danger of being lost to a new generation of fans, the soca legend's former musical director has reunited his band for a mini tour.

Drummer Ricardo Anthony will lead the Multinational Force Band on shows in the Caribbean, United Kingdom and North America this summer. The first date on their Legacy Tour is scheduled for August 6 in Antigua at De Breakfast Fete.

"I have recently re-instituted the Multinational Force Band to preserve Arrow's legacy and to share the great experiences of our journey taking soca and the Caribbean culture to audiences around the world.

"The band comprises 80 per cent of its members from the original construct in 1987 and we have been in preparation for our Legacy Tour for several months now," said Anthony in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.

He continued: "Arrow can never be replaced in this music, not by any stretch of the imagination, but his beat must play on."

Known for party jams like Hot, Hot, Hot and Long Time, Arrow (given name Alphonsus Celestine Edmund Cassell) died 2010 at age 60 in his native Montserrat.

Trinidadian singer Kevon Carter is lead singer for the new-look Multinational Force Band. Fellow Trinidadian Glenda Ifill and keyboardist Roland Richards are also survivors of the classic Arrow era which covered the late 1980s to early 1990s.

Argentinian saxophonist Cecelia Tenconi, who has worked with Herbie Mann and Bette Midler, is also a member of the seven-piece band.

Ifill introduced Anthony to Arrow in 1986 and he joined the Multinational Force Band that year as a drummer/percussionist. He became a full-time member in 1987 and left in 2000.

Anthony, who lived in Jamaica for several years, played on a number of Arrow's albums (as Ricardo Mason) including Classics Plus, which contained remixes of the artiste's biggest hits.

By incorporating crossover elements like rock guitar in his music, Arrow found an audience outside of soca. His Hot, Hot, Hot was covered by American singer Buster Poindexter and remains a standard at soca shows as as well as American events like spring break.

"Arrow is not just your typical calypso and soca artiste. He is a man with a long and powerful music history, most of which existed with other great musicians long before my time. There have been many versions of bands backing Arrow over his long and illustrious music career," said Anthony.

"He has broken many barriers socially and culturally to enable this version of the Multinational Force which was assembled in 1987 to exist today and we are forever grateful."

The Multinational Force Band's Legacy Tour will also play London, Orlando, New York, and St Maarten.

By Howard Campbell Observer senior writer

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