Born on St. Croix in 1929, James Brewster, aka “Jamesie" is known throughout the Caribbean as the undisputed King of Scratch Band Music. He is known for his humorous, provocative and playful ompositions and for his lively performances. He has performed throughout the Caribbean and in Europe and has recorded a number of albums over the past fifty years.

Surprisingly, when Jamesie was younger, his father only allowed him to play percussion and not guitar. Jamesie was determined to prove to his father that he was capable of
playing guitarand so made his own out of a sardine can and a piece of white pine lumber.

With a hand-carved keyboard and key-head and strings made out of twine from an old sack of flour, this guitar has become his signature instrument. In the six decades that have followed, Jamesie has continued to use this type of guitar when performing and recording music, although not exclusively.

Jamesie is a Crucian from the instant he wakes up in the morning. One can see this in the way he eats, dresses, sits, smokes, talks. He makes kitchen implements out of mahogany, makes musical instruments out of food tins, makes melee out of news. Jamesie takes everyday incidents and turns them into songs. In this way he provides a rich oral history of the Crucian culture. To watch Jamesie make conch or johnny cake or strum his banjo on the porch is to understand the Crucian customs, the Crucian way.

Over the years Jamesie has developed a unique style of playing and performing for which he has become widely known. One way he developed his style was by taking part in the festivities around Christmas time on St. Croix . Scratch bands would stop at house “yards” one by one on their way around town, serenading as they went. This type of performance provided the musicians an opportunity to show off their musical, oral and theatrical gifts.

Jamesie created his own version of an old traditional song after an incident occurred while the band was performing in one such yard:

He say, Mr. Moore, your jackass in me yard
(I going home)
And I want you take him out
Mr. Moore, your jackass in me yard,
And I want you get him out
And when I went to chase your jackass
He left foot stick me in me a,-a,-ass

In 1995 Jamesie met members of the Danish Polcalypso Orchestra. They had been invited to perform in the Virgin Islands during Carnival. The Orchestra's music was a unique blending of Danish polka and Caribbean calypso. Eighty years after the Danes left the Virgin Islands, and two years after they met, Jamesie was invited to perform with the Polcalypso Orchestra in Denmark . Two CDs resulted from this collaboration: “Polcalypso Live featuring Jamesie” (1997) and "Polcalypso & Jamesie Live in Denmark ” (2000). Jamesie has become a beloved visitor to Denmark and to this day.

In 2002 Jamesie was honored at a Summit of Tradition Bearers for his lifetime contributions to the Virgin Island 's musical heritage.

Other members of the band include:

1

Camille "King Derby" Macedon: BANJO
Camille Macedon was born in Frederiksted. He started playing the banjo at age 8 in his home with his stepfather. At the age of 9 1/2 he played "gigs" with the locally renowned "Simmons Brothers" (who had a Saturday night live radio broadcast that had all of St. Croix dancing in the living room). In 1948 he played for a visit from President Truman.

In the late 50's he played with Phanza Marshall "Knockout". In the mid 60's his interest turned to Calypso due to the influence of his teacher, the late great John L. Nichols - aka John L. In '61, '63, '64, '65 and again from 1970 to 1978 he was crowned Calypso King of St. Croix. Since 1978 he has run Calypso, Inc., a non profit organization dedicated to teaching the youth to sing, play, write and perform calypso. "King Derby" is a first cousin to Jamesie Brewster and has played professionally with him for 5 years.

Lawrence "Trashy" Mason: SQUASH

Lawrence Mason was born on the Bethlehem Sugar Factory Plantation. His family raised pigs and it was his job as a boy to feed them. One night he couldn't find any feed so he took the "trash" from the sugar process and fed it to the pigs. When his sisters saw what he had done they nicknamed him "Trashy". He picked up the squash to play with Helen Joseph in the early 50's. It came naturally. Since then he has played with Zeke Tubb, Bully and the Kafooners and with Stanley and the 10 Sleepless Nights. He has played at the Smithsonian Institute and in New York City. "Trashy" makes his own instruments and also crafts beautiful kites.

2

Paul Hosford: BASS
Paul Hosford was born in Christiansted. He started playing ukelele at age 9 with his father who had his own family band. After that he went to the guitar, then the bass. He started playing with the family band at age 18. Paul has played with just about every quelbe band on St. Croix including

Blinky and the Roadmasters, Stanley and the 10 Sleepless Nights, Jamesie and the Happy Seven, Bully and the Kafooners and most recently Jamesie and the All Stars.

Wilfred E. Allick, Jr. "Junie Bomba": CONGAS
Wilfred Allick was born in Frederiksted. He started playing wind instruments in Catholic School then went to percussion. He used to sneak up the hill behind the school to listen to rehearsals of The Vibratones and remembers getting his ears pulled for that by the nuns. He first played on St. Croix with Rico and the All Stars. At age 19 he went to New York and jammed with the drummers in Central Park where he picked up some Latin licks. Junie Bomba has played with Native Rhythms, Blinky and the Roadmasters, Bully and the Kafooners and also plays with several jazz groups on the island. Junie Bomba teaches sailing to children and makes conch shell instruments and kites.

Sylvester Ivan McIntosh "Blinky": SAXOPHONE
Sylvester McIntosh was born in Frederiksted to a rich musical heritage. He started playing guitar at age 12. His father played saxophone and had a band called "The Merrymakers" that played old style crucian music with tuba, guitar, banjo, drums, saxophone, triangle and squash. In the 50's he got a saxophone and started listening to merengue from Santo Domingo. In the mid 50's he played with the Pan Bush Hotshots. After that he played with Archie Thomas, Joe Parris and the Hotshots, Luis Richards Big Band and sang calypso in various hotels around the island. In 1979 he formed his own band. The band didn't have a name until that December when they were named Roadmarch Champions for Carnival. From then on they were known as Blinky and the Roadmasters. They have played at the Smithsonian and Wolftrapp in New York and were featured in the movie Captain Ron with Kurt Russell. Blinky still plays occasionally with his band and has been playing with his first cousin Jamesie Brewster for 4 years. Blinky's mother, Ethel McIntosh was revered as one of the finest cayiso singers in the Caribbean.

Dimitri “Pikey” Copemann: SAXOPHONE
Pikey began playing Quelbe music in the early 1970’s with Joe Parris and the Hotshots. His interest in the melodies and lyrics of Quelbe led him to begin collecting oral histories, old photos and the songs themselves from the musicians and elders that were around him in Frederiksted. In the mid 90’s he began playing sax with Jamesie and started his own Quelbe band called the Native Rhythms. Because Pikey is one of the younger musicians playing Quelbe, his contribution to this project ensures an alternative perspective. He received a degree in Fine Arts from Morgan State University.

“Hoofa” Richards: Triangle
Hoofa has been playing with Jamesie for several years.
He is a native of St. Croix.


 

 



   Andrea E. Leland Productions, LLC. - Design by: Donald Turnbull