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A Tribute To The Late ‘Jaunty’

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by Former Manager, Ian D. Sanchez

Yesterday, 24th October, ironically the same day that our Calypso Queen Jany died nineteen years ago, our Road march King Martin Pierre Regis, better known as “Jaunty” moved on from this life.

He has been described as one of Saint Lucia’s most prolific recording artistes, known primarily for his spicy Soca rhythms.

“Jaunty” hails from the community of La Clery, Castries in Saint Lucia.

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From his early childhood days, Jaunty had a love for music, creating sounds with anything he could lay his hands on.

It was only natural for him that his early musical influence would be Calypso, being raised on an island that so widely appreciated the genre.

In 1978, Jaunty left Saint lucia for the Mecca of Calypso, Trinidad and Tobago, where he met with and was heavily influenced by Lord Shorty, now known as Ras Shorty I.

In Trinidad, Jaunty sang his composition ” Smiling Hypocrites” for Shorty, who encouraged him to take part in Calypso tents in Saint Lucia.

With this backing, the singer returned to Saint lucia. However, because he failed to have a second song, he was not able to compete in 1978.

In 1979, Jaunty was on the road again, this time to New York, his base for over a decade.

That year, he cut his first single, a melodious ditty called ” Irie Soca” which showcased the profound impact that Lord Shorty had on the singer.

The song was well received in New York as well as in homeland Saint Lucia.

The eighties were beginning to show a heightened increase in musical bands in Saint lucia. One such band was Sounds Together, which played extensively on the hotel circuit.

Jaunty returned to Saint Lucia in 1984 and was immediately chosen to sing lead with the band. That same year, he entered the National Calypso competition with the songs “Helen” and ” Sime-ing Gwen”. His selections were also included on Sounds Together’s first studio album.” Sime-ing Gwen ( loosely translated spreading seeds) would prove the basis for Jaunty’s play with words using his country’s second language, French Creole.

Frustrated with the local Calypso scene, he returned to New York.

The nineties would begin to bear fruit for the efforts of Jaunty. In 1993 he recorded his first album, “Homeless,” which included the social commentary “Mothers feel the pain”.

Maybe the honesty and creativity of this song connected Jaunty to a new fan base, which fell for his soca rhythms, ” Ou La Lay” which won him the 1993 Road March King title in Saint Lucia.

It was the first time that the island had a Road March song that was well documented on vinyl.

On stage, Jaunty revealed a renewed confidence. The following year, he recorded “Jump” which came close to winning the road March title but not quite.

But he would erase his disappointment the following year, 1995, with ” We Shall Hop,” which did the trick.

In 1996, it was Jaunty’s turn to feel the pain. The Saint Lucia Calypso Association decided to boycott Carnival due to differences in the change of date of Carnival between themselves and the Minister of Culture.

Jaunty, who was in New York at the time, accepted an invitation from the Carnival Committee to perform during Carnival and was subsequently banned by the association. Ironically this was his greatest year yet.

His song “Borbalist took the international Soca Market by storm. This song led him to get bookings in Canada, London, Suriname, Martinique and the USA, among others.

Need we say that this Borbalist song was the unofficial Road March of that year? The song has been since recorded in Papiamento, Spanish, and French by various artistes .

In 1996, Borbalist was voted the most popular humourous Calypso at the Sunshine Awards show out of New York.

Jaunty was now in heavy demand in the French islands. In 1997, he formed the group Soca Zouk Express along with an experienced team of French musicians.

With the group, Jaunty recorded a CD, “Wheelbarrow.” The title track, “Wheelbarrow,” was another hit, as well as the single “Go ah court.”

That year, Jaunty also released his own solo project, The Best of Jaunty, with two new tracks. One was “Military Jam.” Jaunty was able to capture the National Road March title once again in 1998 as revelers marched in contentment to his sweet brand of Soca.

Jaunty developed into a powerhouse performer despite his diminutive figure .

Finally, he has lived up to his name, which the dictionary defines as ” airily self-satisfied; sprightly”. He developed into a songwriter-producer and arranger who simply created his own style.

There is no one way to classify his music….Zouk, Soca, Ring bang, and Soukous… it’s all in there.

I pay tribute to this cultural ICON, Martin Pierre Regis.

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Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. All of that and I still do not know how and when he died. Looking at his picture he seems to be a young man. Please, next time give more information. Answer all the five W’s. {what, when, where, who and why}.

  2. The picture is misleading. The writer goes back to the 1970’s. That told me he was old man. Certainly he was a young man then but by now is elderly. I did like his song : somebody put me on the bobolist. For those who don’t understand, the man spoke about corruption in st Lucia government.

  3. The zafe moon comments above are sad….oh how he died! The article clearly was to highlight the numerous accomplishments of such a legend!!!! Thank for all those memories Jaunty…may you rest in peace and may your music live on…go ah court….shall hop shall hop hop…kyso!!!

  4. I met Jaunty a couple weeks ago on home turf … and he still LOOKED THE SAME!! To me, he did not look aged, as I recognised him right away, even though he had been away for quite a few years, he looked good!! He does the captioned photo justice.

    R.I.P. my friend! This is such a shock, but you left behind a vibrant, caring and “full of life” legacy. Peace be with you. You will be missed by all those who had faith in your artistry.

  5. … and further, the article on Jaunty is an “homage” to a performer by a friend and/or colleague, and not a “newscast”. There is a difference!!

  6. Yesterday, 24th October, ironically the same day that our Calypso Queen Jany died nineteen years ago, our Road march King Martin Pierre Regis, better known as โ€œJauntyโ€ moved on from this life.
    FOR THE GOR GORS ASKING WHEN HE PASSED…READ FOR CHRIST SAKE๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„ and for d ppl asking how dat eh yoll bizniz

  7. Yesterday, 24th October, ironically the same day that our Calypso Queen Jany died nineteen years ago, our Road march King Martin Pierre Regis, better known as โ€œJauntyโ€ moved on from this life.READ PPL READ.STOP ASKING WHEN DIED.for d ppl asking why,dat eh yoll bizniz

  8. Sad, while i don’t think that, they’ve collected enough information about him in America. Most artists who have passed on the international scene, there’s a process which has to be obtained from what they’ve been going through medically. For example, Freddie McGregor, Rita Marley, and the list goes on. The press or the media has been following up on their health issues. Jaunty, hasn’t gone through the same thing. However, it seems to me that, he left St. Lucia ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡จ because of going through fight down. A typical and disgruntled behaviour among ourselves as coloured people. In Social Studies you’ve heard about the brain drain. Leaving a country for another. Stopped fighting your own people down under Roman Catholic, and voodoo. That’s for another show.

  9. Jaunty sang borbolist on stage by the thieves and died. How sad, they were present when he sang.

  10. Jaunty was an icon on the local Soca scene. While we all must depart this life someday, the news of his death hit me hard. My memories of him besides being a prolific soca artiste and performer was his very approachable and personable demeanor. He was also a dear friend and we were both Diamond Steel Alumni. For those who didn’t know, or forgot, Jaunty was an exceptional football player in his youth. Remember he scored the winning goal in two matches which caused St Lucia to win the coveted Cable & Wireless Caribbean Under 19 Football tournament in 1974. We have lost a local icon. Let us all honor his memory. Rest in peace my friend and my brother.

  11. Thanks for your unselfish and outstanding contributions to the artform of calypso/soca music. Also your similar worthy contributions to Zouk music industry. Through the years you’ve remained faithful to the cause of uplifting and promoting the country of your birth, I’m thankful that I had an opportunity to purchase your CD and to speak with you on one of your many performances in Canada. My condolences to Jaunty’s family and countless number of fans. May he rest peacefully…

  12. Greetings family!

    400 HUNDRED YEARS IN BONDAGE
    AND YET YOU STILL CALLING ME A SAVAGE! King Junty

    He hasn’t left us, he just went upstairs to change. King Jaunty as I used to call him and why so? Because he was a KING from the first time he came to jam “Irie Soca” in the basement home of another artist by the name of D Ivan on Schenectady Ave. Brooklyn.

    I would sincerely like to offer my condolences on behalf of the defuncted Brooklyn-based West Indian American Calypso Association (WIACA) and Retro Zone Events, who was in talk with him to do a series of events in St. Lucia and around the globe.

    I want to thank his former manager Mr. Ian Sanchez for his brilliant contribution in the St. Lucian Times about his crossing over. I know there would be other deliveries from those who knew and I would like to hear all of his songs played especially “ONE LIFE” “OH LA LA” 400 YEARS OF BONDAGE” and “IRIE SOCA”

    Bodell

    Blessings! Ase!

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