Hail Dr. Cyrus! Becket receives honorary doctorate

By Admin. Updated 2:15 p.m., Sunday, October 9, 2022, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

Sir Richard Richardson – former West Indies international cricketer and a former captain of the West Indies cricket team (left) is photographed with Caribbean musical veteran – Mr. Alston BECKET Cyrus. Photo: Agency for Public Information Facebook page.

Veteran Vincentian singer – Mr. Alston BECKET Cyrus received a Doctor of Letters (DLitt) yesterday (October 8) as the University of the West Indies Five Islands Campus in Antigua and Barbuda held its graduation ceremony.

In August 2022, the university announced that Mr. Cyrus would receive the award “for his work as a Soca Artiste/Composer.”

Mr. Cyrus was among “16 outstanding global citizens” to receive an honorary degree from The University of the West Indies – UWI.

Mr. Cyrus who hails from the town of Layou is also the only Vincentian to be honoured the The UWI for 2022. 

In the August 30 press release, the UWI stated:

“This year’s honorary graduands join the ranks of a prestigious list of fewer than 500 persons who have been awarded since 1985.”

The university described Mr. Alston BECKET Cyrus as “an outstanding Caribbean soca/ragga-soca/calypso artiste and composer.”

“He has fostered an illustrious 47-year career with 28 albums; numerous award-winning singles; one movie soundtrack—‘Disco Calypso’, in the motion picture The Deep; five compositions featured in four American TV programmes including “Full House” and “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno”, and eight Road March titles, all to his credit,” the UWI stated.

Here is the rest of the bio on Mr. Cyrus: 

He first came to the spotlight in 1975 when he was crowned St. Vincent’s Calypso Monarch with two songs ‘Carnival History’ and ‘Mass at Victoria’. In his long career, he has performed on stages across North America, Britain, Colombia, Spain and the Caribbean. He is also one of only a few Calypsonians to be signed by a major record label: Casablanca Records in 1977, alongside artistes such as Donna Summer and KISS.

BECKET’s international hits include ‘Coming High’ (1977) on which he worked with Dr. Frankie McIntosh, acclaimed Calypso/Reggae arranger and ‘Teaser’ (1990) which was released from BECKET’s own label Cocoa Records and subsequently recorded in over ten languages. In Germany, ‘Teaser’ was released by Polydor recording label, one of the world’s largest.  In 1994 ‘Ella me Vacilla/Esa Chica’, the Spanish version of ‘Teaser’ was named Salsa/Tropical Song of the Year by Billboard/Univision. 

While he is well known for entertaining songs like ‘Small Pin’, ‘Gal Ah Rush Me’ and ‘Doh Eat And Lie Down’ his music has gone beyond party music. He made regional and international social commentary on a wide array of topics including politics, cricket, black pride and human rights with songs like ‘I am an African’; ‘Grenada Will Rise Again’; ‘Laramania’; ‘President Obama’ and his 1984 song ‘Love is the Answer’ which was remade in 2011 to commemorate 9/11. In commemoration of the Caribbean hosting the 2007 Cricket World Cup, BECKET released ‘Cricket Is We Ting’, an album containing ten original tracks all about cricket.

In 2000, Alston BECKET Cyrus became the first Caribbean artiste to perform at the US Open tennis tournament and was listed as one of the 17 Outstanding Caribbean Personalities of the 20th Century. In 2001 he was named a Goodwill Ambassador for St. Vincent and the Grenadines and in 2010 became the first soca/calypso artiste to perform at the Montreal International Reggae Festival, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

One News St. Vincent

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