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Roger Gibbs

Roger began his career in Barbados singing with Caribbean dance bands in the 1970’s. He was lead singer of the Sandpebbles, a popular Calypso band that had a string of hits with three albums and toured extensively throughout the Caribbean, Canada and USA. Roger studied music theory through the Associated Boards of the Royal Schools of Music and has pursued a life-long interest in traditional music of the Caribbean. From 1978-83 he worked as a Cultural Affairs Officer (Music), Ministry of Education & Culture (Barbados) and served as Music Secretary (head music programmer) for Carifesta 1981, a pan-Caribbean festival of the arts that featured hundreds of performing artists from over 30 countries.

Moving to Canada in 1986, Roger has worked freelance with a wide variety of artists such as Anne Lederman (Canadian fiddler), Achilla Orru (Ugandan lokembe player), Moka (Latin & Calypso quintet), La Petite Musicale and the Heritage Singers (Caribbean folk choirs), Mo’Banja (a cappella Caribbean quartet), Kobena Aquaa-Harrison (African guitarist), Franc Mosbaugh (pop singer/musician), the Liquidaires (ska/reggae/funk/jazz band) and Abbey North Drummers (World Music drumming ensemble). Since 1993 he has been a performing member of COBA (Collective of Black Artists), one of Canada’s leading Black dance/theatre companies.

Roger recorded two CD’s (‘Spirit of Calypso’ and ‘Calypso Classics on Guitar – vol. 1’) and now has a newly-released third CD titled ‘Hot So’ featuring his band Shak-Shak.

Roger has served on boards and committees in the arts, such as Metro Toronto Folk Art Council, Banja Afro-Caribbean Arts, Toronto Arts Council’s Festival & Urban Arts Committee, CARAS’s Global Music Committee and since 2006, on the Festival Management Committee (FMC). He was Artistic Director of Worlds of Music Toronto (1998–2000), coordinating annual workshops and concerts of traditional music from around the world. In 2001-2002 he returned to Barbados’s National Cultural Foundation to design strategies for music development and establish a music archive. Roger co-produced the first two Barbados On The Water festivals held at Harbourfront Centre.

He has written and produced several musical productions, including ‘Calypso Calabash’ for Luminato’s Carnivalissima and ‘Caribeats’ for the Island Soul Festival at Harbourfront Centre. He served as an Artistic Director for the 2009 Scotiabank Caribana Festival and been an active member of the calypso community and a featured singer in the annual Calypso Tents Music Series. Roger has conducted Caribbean Drumming and Guitar classes at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church since 2009.

Toronto, Ontario

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