Dick Lochan Remembered as People’s Calypsonian

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BY JELANI GRANT 

The Caribbean community is mourning the loss of Dick Lochan. Lochan passed away on January 12th after his battle with Leukemia according to a post from his Facebook page, written by his daughters.

Lochan’s two daughters announced the passing of their father via Facebook “We know that many of you loved our father as much as we did and he loved you just as much,” they wrote. “We ask you to please keep him in your hearts and our family in your prayers. Thank you.” Lochan is survived by his wife Francis and his two daughters Michelle and Jennifer Lochan.

Following the announcement, best wishes came in abundance to show support to the Lochan Family. Jay Maharaj posted to his Facebook page, “As the PRO for the St Benedict’s Alumni (PSA), it is my sincere wish that all past students of St Benedict’s College residing in Toronto and surrounding communities attend this function. Thank You”. “My sincerest condolences to the Lochan Family. He was always very generous with his time. His humor and storytelling will always be remembered”, said Laura Henry. Noel Pierre wrote, “RIP Mr. Lochan … he supported me when he first heard my calypso / rockso songs … he told me that it was exactly what is needed in the scene … God bless him”.

Dick was a very popular performer in Trinidad, known as an A-list calypso artist and lyricist. While a lot of Trinidadians do enjoy the calypso culture, Lochan dedicated his life to the accented African rhythmic music that is Calypso. He utilized the genuine sound to make two booming albums called Juiceman (2008) and his most recent musical release, Unleashed (2013), which were both well received CDs. Though he was a Toronto-based folklorist and Calypsonian, Lochan was labeled as Caribbean Cultural Ambassador, as he was often in demand as a Master of Ceremonies and Calypsonian within the Caribbean Community at major shows and events.

He is a former television consultant, producer of a radio show and freelance writer with several Canadian publications. He is the author of three books written in Caribbean dialect namely Doh Make Joke! (1987), Fuh True? (1989) and So It Go! (2005), all collections of short stories, poems and skits.

He has conducted programs in the schools and libraries on various aspects of Caribbean Culture. He has worked with teachers of Caribbean Learners and as a tutor in the field of literacy. In fact, he was the tutor and Co-Director of the non-profit, Pass The Torch Cultural Arts Program. The program, designated as the first of its kind, teaches Calypso and Soca to youth, aged five to seventeen, in the Malvern Community in Toronto. Following the lessons, the kids are encouraged to use Calypso and make a sound of their own with a personal message inspired from their life. They have managed to release more than seven CDs, had two songs nominated for the Canadian Music Awards and have even performed their music at the Caribbean Carnival’s junior event.

He is the recipient of numerous awards for his contributions to Caribbean culture such as the Trini Fest Award, community works like the Recipient of Friend of the Toronto Caribbean Children Foundation (TCCF) Award, the Scarborough Board Of Education Award and the overall exposure and development of Calypso in Canada.

A service is scheduled take place on Sunday, January 29 at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, 5183 Sheppard Avenue East, in Scarborough. The service will begin at 3 pm, followed by a tribute to the Calypso icon’s life, featuring local artists and dance companies.

Anyone who would like to continue the support Lochan gave to young Calypso and Soca Artists can send their donations to the Dick Lochan Scholarship Fund.

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