07 Mar, 2015
The music of Dominica embraces a variety of common world genres including calypso, reggae, soca, konpa, zouk and rock and roll. Dominica’s own popular music industry has created a form called bouyon, which combines elements from several styles, and has achieved a wide fanbase within the island. Much like bouyon, one of the country’s most notable artistes, Michele Henderson, has an equally extensive fan base.
Michele (pronounced Mi-Kel) comes by her musical talent naturally. She hails from the southern village of Grand Bay, the self-proclaimed ‘cultural capital’ of Dominica, and it is there that her roots are steeply immersed in music. “I grew up in a very musical family, my mother sang, my father played guitar, and even my grandfather was the organist at the Catholic Church next door. So I was constantly surrounded by music.” There was no escaping from musical acts in her village as the vintage cadanse band called the Midnight Groovers used to rehearse right beside her house. In fact, one of her cousins, Gordon Henderson, went on to create the jazzy cadanselypso style of Creole music, which greatly appeals to both Europeans and West Indians. “My father and my cousins are musicians and I enjoyed doing it so much, that I decided to pursue my music professionally.”
Michele started her singing career at the age of 15. Her form includes live performances with her 12-member band, and she writes and composes music for other artistes, clients and occasions as necessary. The Dominica Goodwill Ambassador has
also made endorsements for products and companies locally and regionally; these include Digicel, Courts, and LIME.
With her musical family and upbringing, as well as a firm foundation in the classical genre, the jazz fusion singer caught the attention of many people when she won the DOMFESTA Song Contest in Dominica in 1995. Since then, her career has firmly established itself and is always expanding locally, regionally and internationally.