CULTURAL icon and Saint Lucia’s foremost composer, Hon. Charles Cadet passed away on Sunday, January 17, 2021, at 4:00 a.m. at the age of 96.
A pioneer and household name, Cadet was instrumental in defining the island’s artistic and cultural landscape composing some of the classic pieces that we know and love today. One of his songs, “Poinsettia Blossoms”, sung by Chester Hinkson and later sung by Lenny Stone, is a classic, especially during the Christmas season in Saint Lucia.
Cadet’s work for example “Chanson Marianne” was featured at a concert in London’s Albert Hall was performed by 100 schoolchildren. “A Dream of Freedom”, which paid tribute to Jamaica’s 25th anniversary of Independence from Britain, was composed by Cadet and Richard Beckford to words by Norman Rae and “Kyrie” was used to analyze the impact of cultural hybridization in the BBC Open University Programme.
He collaborated with Roderick Walcott, on the music for the play, “Banjo Man”, as well as the musicals, “The Legend of Tom Fool”, “Chanson Marianne”, “The Guitar Man’s Song” and “The Wonderful World of Brother Rabbit”. He has also worked with poet, Mc Donald Dixon, to compose the music for “Tinday” that was performed at CARIFESTA 1992.
Hon. Charles Cadet was the first recipient of the M&C Fine Arts Lifetime Achievement Award and was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1987 and the Saint Lucia Cross (SLC) in 2005 for distinguished and outstanding service to Saint Lucia. In 2010, Cadet was named a Saint Lucian icon following the production of a book, “Iconic Saint Lucians”, which paid tribute to outstanding Saint Lucians.
A more detailed read by past editor Stan Bishop on the legacy of Hon. Charles Cadet can be found here.