The Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) has expressed sadness to learn of the passing of prolific song writer and giant in the cultural artform Dr. Winsford Devine known in the fraternity as ‘Joker’.
Winsford was born on the 15th August 1943. Originally from Morne Diablo South Trinidad, Devine was exposed to steelband music at a very young age when he played in the village steelband. The leader of the steelband was a cousin of his and he introduced him to reading and writing music.
As he grew older, Devine developed into a self-taught musician. He went on to compose more than 500 calypsoes during a career that spanned over 30 years, beginning in the 1970s. Nicknamed the “Joker,” he was the songwriter most sought after by the popular calypsonians.
Although confined to a wheelchair after suffering a stroke in 1998, Devine continued to write the lyrics and music for many calypsoes.
The following is a listing by calypsonian of the more popular songs that were penned by Devine:
Mighty Sparrow – Rope; Capitalism Gone Mad; Phillip My Dear; Saltfish;
Marajhin; Survival; Queen of the Bands; Miss Mary; We Pass That Stage; I Diggin’ Horrors; Wine Back; Sailing; London Bridge
Crazy – Paul (Yuh Mudder Come); Take A Man; Crazy for Prime Minister; Leaders; We Badder Than Dem; Limbo; Crazy’s Cock Can’t Stand Up
Baron – Feeling It; Jammer; Love and Cherish the Woman
Singing Francine – It’s a Shame; St. Peter’s Day
Mighty Trini – West Indian Cricket; National Pride
King Austin- Progress
Some of the other calypsonians for whom Devine wrote songs were: Poser; Lord Blakie; Sugar Aloes; Lord Shorty; Machel Montano including many young calypsonians. He also wrote a test piece, “Fire and Steel,” for one of the Steelband Music Festivals.
In 1988 Dr. Devine was awarded the Trinidad & Tobago Humming Bird Medal Silver (for Music and the Arts)
In 2017 he an Honorary Graduate, receiving his Doctor of Letters from the University of the West Indies.
Dr. Winsford Devine, we salute you. Thank you for your contribution to the artform and may the ancestors welcome you.