Boo Hinkson, jazz guitarist extraordinaire, must be the most famous Saint Lucian alive. He is adored by his fans at home and abroad, respected by other musicians, and is always proud to represent his country.
HAVE GUITAR, WILL TRAVEL
Boo’s rise to becoming a world-recognized performer began when he teamed up with guitar-playing classmates at school. One night they were asked to stand in at Gaiety Theatre in Castries. Boo still remembers the pay: EC$40! They were young and apprehensive but the ‘Tru Tones’ received other bookings and were soon playing regularly at hotels around the island. Their reputation grew and Boo had to juggle his studies and gigs: taking plane trips to other islands to perform, and returning in time for classes at St. Mary’s College. Not your average schoolboy’s commute!
NOT AN ‘8-4’ KIND OF GUY
Boo will always be grateful to his parents. His father, Alfred, who served in the West Indian Regiment and played clarinet, returned from the army with music by the great Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, major influences in style. In spite of Boo finding success at an early age, his mother, Iona, a seamstress who played guitar, insisted that he continue his academic studies and learn work ethic. So, although Boo wanted to become a professional musician when he left school, he took a job at the Income Tax Department. “I spent a lot of time composing and it wasn’t long before I quit,” he admits.
“I knew that if I wrote and recorded my own songs, that’s where success would come from,” says Boo. He did just that in Jamaica and Trinidad, and the Tru Tones had hits such as Burning Eyes and Hungry Bellies throughout the Caribbean. The group was signed to Warner Brothers and found fame in the UK and US.
The 1979 Super Bowl featured a ‘Caribbean’ half-time and Boo was booked! In America he has also played at the Lincoln Center and the Rockefeller Center. In 2013 Boo was invited to the White House to lecture and perform during Caribbean Heritage Month. Wherever he performs, patriotic Boo insists on an announcement that he is from Saint Lucia.
In Saint Lucia Boo met and performed for Nelson Mandela at the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the formation of CARICOM (the Caribbean Community), for which Boo was commissioned to write all the music. He has also performed for Bill Clinton at Sandals Grande here on-island and, of course, at the Jazz Festival with the likes of George Benson, Earl Klug, Norman Brown and Stanley Clarke.
In recognition of his music and works, Boo has been honoured with an OBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), and two national awards: the Saint Lucia Medal of Merit – Gold, and the Piton Medal – Bronze. He is also a member of the Grammy’s Music Academy in Washington.
ON BOO’S CURRENT PLAYLIST:
Lingus (We Like it Here) – Snarky Puppy
Spain – Chick Corea
Moody’s Mood (For Love) – George Benson
Boo Hinkson will perform
at the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival on Sunday 13th May. When he is not on tour, see him, sometimes with Grammy-
nominated vocalist Tracy Hamlin, at:
Sandals La Toc
Alternate Monday evenings
Alternate Monday evenings
Alternate Wednesday evenings
St. James’s Club
Alternate Friday evenings