Last Wednesday, January 13, the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus had a virtual ceremony to honour Vincentian musical genius Franklyn ‘Frankie’ McIntosh for his outstanding contribution to regional and international development He was among a number of outstanding regional cultural icons to be so honoured and received an honorary doctorate, the Doctor of Letters (DLitt).
It is a recognition of his outstanding talent and brilliance, which shone from his native St Vincent and the Grenadines to illuminate the entire Caribbean and a substantial part of the world as well. He is a product of perhaps the most outstanding musical family from our country, spanning generations of musical McIntoshes who have individually and collectively made their mark as well.
Frankie’s contribution to music in SVG, starting with dance music, but expanding to cover the entire spectrum is legendary. He formed his own band when still a schoolboy, but this never deterred him from his studies. Frankie’s band was a fixture at fetes, dances and the traditional Nine Mornings fetes of the time. He is one of the foundation pillars of the local entertainment scene.
After migration to New York to pursue musical studies, graduating with a Masters Degree, he put his musical talents at the disposal of the rich vein of Caribbean calypso talents, but also did not stay in that corner, also entering the field of jazz. The changeover of Carnival in our country in 1977 from the traditional pre-Lenten period to June/July, provided scope for an explosion of Frankie’s talents, and his musical arrangements helped to propel our best calypso and soca talents on the regional and international stages.
Teaming up with famed Vincentian record producer Granville Straker, Frankie’s arrangements of the compositions of the hits of Becket, Soso, Scorcher and a host of other Vincentian stars put SVG firmly on the regional and international calypso and soca maps. In turn, a succession of some of the most outstanding calypsonians form Trinidad and Tobago came to him to benefit from his exceptional arrangements and musical talents. Sparrow, Kitchener, Chalkdust, Shadow, Duke and Calypso Rose were all able to broaden their appeal and to win honours such as the Calypso March and Road March titles.
If ever a person deserved such an honour from a regional institution, it is this humble son of our soil. As more and more father Time takes toll of some of our outstanding cultural figures, it is all the more reason why we should uphold the accomplishments of this supremely talented Vincentian.
SEARCHLIGHT is proud of our Frankie McIntosh and holds him up as not just an ambassador but also as one in whose footsteps our young people can tread boldly.