WRONG_WOEID WRONG_WOEID

Phenomenal Musician and Father Shares Great Depths

Rawdon EdwardsAntigua St. John’s - Gently pulling at his sand-coloured beard and sometimes looking skywards, prolific musician Rawdon Edwards shared great pieces of information with Caribarena.com as we took him way back to when his musical journey began.

Edwards who is celebrating his 40th year in the music industry recalled the love he has for music from a very young age, although his father never wanted him to pursue that career path.

“I started playing the bass pan in academy school in the 1960s.  Shortly afterwards, my old man (my father) got a back pay a bought a second hand piano and I fell in love with the instrument. I was what we Antiguans would say “soup” to play the piano; I was soup…very neat…every moment I got I went on the piano.”

Edwards said he played with quite a number of bands from that era such as Brute Force, Harmonites, Astronauts and Neptune which was basically a show band.



He said he played with Neptune for about two years and all this while he was still going to school.

Shortly after completing high school, Edwards said he went to St. Thomas and played with a band called Soul Clan.

“Actually a tell you something my father wanted to make a doctor or lawyer out of me; that is what he wanted me to be but I wasn’t having it. I loved music and I was progressing and getting better at it at quick. At one point, my father actually regretted he bought the piano. I told him to mortgage the house and send me to music school but angrily, he didn’t approve.”

Edwards said he tried to persuade his dad that one day he was going to show him a whole lot of money that he made from music and when he finally did, he said he was shocked.

“My father said, you Bwoy (boy)…a whey you get all them money dey?” and I said to him, “I told you I was going to show you a lot of money from my music some day.”

He said his father showed stifled approval as he kept on insisting that he should be a doctor or lawyer.

As a matter of fact, Edwards said he personally thinks these lines of career in Antigua  is “bloated” and encouraged persons in pursuit of less popular ones to do so with perseverance and vigour and they will reap the benefits.

Young Rawdon Edwards

Edwards said he went to live in Grenada with his father for a while as he (father) was principal of a school there. He then came back home and joined the Laviscount Brass, then later joined the Mason Brothers in N.Y doing gigs before returning home. He finally played with Targets for a year before he went on his own and recorded with Calypso Joe at the Express Band Studio in St .Croix in 1994, and continued to record every year after that.

“The Rawdon Trio is what we were called and when we added a vocalist it was called the Rawdon Edwards Band. We used a number of female vocalists over the years such as Faye Edwards, Pat Raguette, Patrice Martin, and Lady Falcon. Also Mean Dean, P. Edwards and Toby. D were also part of the lineup.”



Now Edwards plays in the major hotels across the island and at the V.C International Airport Arrivals Lounge.

“I thank God everyday for my unique talent, they tell me all the time that I have two brains I play bass with my left hand  and my right hand is something totally different. It’s an amazing gift I have.”

He said although his 40th year as a professional musician is a stellar achievement he is not yet completely satisfied as one of his greatest wishes is to revive a steady music festival in Antigua & Barbuda.

“I intend to have a major concert with most of the musicians I came into contact with during my musical journey. I want it to be an outstanding event that we can produce on an annual basis. If I am not confident that the concert will be of a remarkable and classy standard, I will not go through with it. I am in the process of sending out letters to seek sponsorship and I am looking at about the third week in October to have this grand event.”

Edwards continued, “You know what someone told me in town the other day? They said, ‘Rawdon, we had the ball where music festivals were concerned but we dropped it’.”

Edwards is confident that Antigua & Barbuda can return to great heights in this area as their counterparts in the Caribbean especially if it is not handled by American corporations.

He added, “I mean, I have no problems with American involvement at some stage, eventually, but I would like to see us start with our own people…Caribbean and African artistes. I mean we have excellent musicians and artistes all around the Caribbean in places like Cuba, Martinique and Guadeloupe that we fail to highlight and opt for American artistes where huge amount of monies have to be dished out.

“We have to start on a manageable level, start small and grow. You bring one headliner the second year, if it works then you bring two to entertain the crowd the following year, along with our own Caribbean people, and I think that’s a good method for having a music festival on your calendar every year,”  Edwards remarked.

His 2012 40th Anniversary Album is entitled, “40 years and still pushing on.” It features 15 tracks and nine originals of soca, calypso, and Latinlypso with a little jazz.
According to Edwards, “I want everybody to feel the love from the fingers.”

Caribarena .com used the opportunity to ask Edwards his thoughts on music and Carnival today.

“I think today’s music is too sexual…today’s music is like having sex outside the bedroom. They have to change the lyrics so it can have a different impact, tone the language down a bit and show more respect for women. Also there are violent instigations in some of the songs these. It’s not everybody love that sort a thing, but they still would like to go out and have good, clean fun.

“Look! Let me tell you something. Some years ago when they had J’ourvert on Old Parham Road, I am sure you remember, I came out of my house and looked on and the conduct of some of the revellers  was so vulgar, I turned on my heel and went right back inside,” Edwards said.

He said he believes Carnival is a time to showcase Antigua & Barbuda’s talent and culture and this aspect of it is waning tremendously year after year.

He also feels that it’s time that more professional musicians should be used on the stage to perform during Carnival.

“I believe so…especially at the shows that don’t require much of a pumped up rhythm urging the crowd to jump and wave…you can relax and listen to some great music while you wait for the results.”

Not ending the interview without asking Edward his thoughts on fatherhood and if he thinks the role of fatherhood is losing its momentum these days, he quickly said, “The role of parenthood in general is losing its momentum, the way some parents dress, both man and woman, how they talk, behave, leave a lot to be desired. You see a man walking down the road playing the “slackest” music and his pants halfway down his rear end and he has his little boy or nephew with him, even in the cars the most vulgar language peals out loud in songs for all to hear; that’s not good.”

“Another thing, the fathers need to feed them pickney (children). Could you imagine the amount of mothers struggling out there without the support of fathers? That’s not cool, it breaks my heart.

And men, use a condom every time you have sex apart from taking care of unwanted pregnancies, we have to think about the many sexually transmitted diseases out there not to mention HIV.

“And the women need to insist on this because the burden many times is left on you.”



Edwards is the proud father of six daughters, the youngest of whom is 14 years old. He said she told him that she wants to be just like him “a great musician” and he is too happy to help her reach that goal.

He celebrates his 60th birthday in July.

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10 Comments In This Article   

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Visual Artist

#10 Melvin Bridgewater » 2012-07-16 23:39

We need to recognize, respect,& celebrate our cultural icons. If i may just to name a few > The late Stachel Edwards, Neil Willock, Oscar mason, Mr. Dover. These were the musical visionaries who created & set the tone of the music standard, & their legacy should continue in the same vein. If there wasn't any Art... the world would stop spinning. It's about the Comedy, Drama, Music, Dance, Paintings,Sculptures , that evoke the social consciousness of issues in & around us.
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Melvin Bridgewater

Awesome

#9 Activist,L.Robinson » 2012-07-04 08:54

It is truely people like you that stay the course of passion for good,clean music that hope can be found in. You are blessed beyond your imagination and those that hear your music and hear your ideas on music improvement and empowerment should pay attention to sound council for the betterment of Antigua and Barbuda. You are a patriot to your music and your country. Keep pushing forward with your ideas and action; the music festival and support for local artists are fully embraced. One Love, Mr. Rawdon Edwards, One Love indeed. In all thinks give God his due Praise. Lyndon Robinson
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Activist,L.Robinson

Visual Artist

#8 Melvin Bridgewater » 2012-06-24 00:32

Mr Rawdon Edwards. Upon reading that interview it strucked a musical chord in my soul. If i may, i can relive the years when your team entertained fans at Meylock Inn. I was too young for clubbing but at nights i would cock my ears and luckily the wind blew the sound over Murphy's apartments directly into my bedroom window. LOL! I was truly impressed by your sound. You are indeed a Musical Stalwart of the Laviscount B** fraternity and beyond. My brother, you fit the same mold as Jamaica's Monty Alexander and St.Vincent's Frankie Mc Intosh. Moments cherished...memories pleasantly preserved! Blessings abound!
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Melvin Bridgewater

Congratulations Rawdon

#7 Daughter of the Soil » 2012-06-22 09:40

Congratulations Rawdon and Good Luck with your annual festival. I remember you as a little girl, many years ago....what a talented musician you were. Although, I am in the UK, I would definitely love to attend the festival. I agree that there are enough Caribbean and Africian musicians to carry a festival. We need to broarden our minds and not think that only big American artist can headline the festival but also African and Caribbean artists e.g. P-square, Asa. Congratulations, on your 40yrs and still going strong!!
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Daughter of the Soil

a long way

#6 sirier48 » 2012-06-17 15:58

Rawdon, you have come a long way, I remember as the manager of Mason Bros when you played with them, the inspiration you had as a musician, Guys like you and Tyrone have surely kept the magic alive. One thing you guys can do is teach the art of Music to the younger generation. Teach them real true quality music, then sit back and watch you craft grow in new gererations to higher heigths. Great job Rawdon. Richie Allen
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sirier48

Congrats!!!!!!

#5 The Banker » 2012-06-17 13:09

Congratulations Rawdon, its people like you I want to sit and watch on ABS TV. Persons with ideas, and just telling of your experiences over the years.
I have always maintained we have the talent in this country but it seems like somebody don't want us to shine.
Keep up the good work my friend.
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The Banker

RE: Phenomenal Musician and Father Shares Great Depths

#4 fnpsr » 2012-06-17 10:48

Way to go Rawdon! I particularly like the idea, "“We have to start on a manageable level, start small and grow." Well said! This is advice that all can heed!!

"Let's fix the little things before we attempt to fix the big things."
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fnpsr

like it

#3 tenman » 2012-06-17 10:44

Caribarena, a great interview. Always good to hear the perspective of someone of Rawdon Edwards stature. I also like his views on the current mess. Hopefully we can find ways to shine a light on these bad behaviors and through this force people to change.

..
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tenman

Ms

#2 Alicia » 2012-06-17 09:19

Great idea for a music festival not necessarily headlining an American act. There are indeed some excellent African artists. May I suggest aangelique Kidjo and Salif Keita for starters? Would love to see them here!
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Alicia

True talk

#1 VybezStudioBasel » 2012-06-17 04:06

As and Antiguan abroad and a musician I like Mr Edwards idea and thoughts great man great thinking. We need more people who thinks like him. We have so many talents on our little island but know one pays no interest to help them.
I think the music festival will motivate our youths and would low down our crime rate music is life and it can change a lot in a man or woman's life.
I support Mr Edwards 100% we need to up life our country. Educate the youths more about music and let me tell you people out the music is shared work it take a lot of patient love and good heart. Let us sing about love life. Sex the world knows but love the world needs think about it. Bless to all.
VybezStudio Basel Switzerland. Love to my people
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VybezStudioBasel

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