His first instrument was a steelpan which he received from legendary pannist Ellie Mannette at the age of 7. When he was 12 (or 13) he began to play the guitar and cuatro. In his teens he formed a number of small ensenbles with Ray Holman which played local parties. This evolved into André Tanker and the Flamingos which played at the Trinidad Hilton.
He added jazz and was influenced by the Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaria. In the 1960s and 1970s Tanker developed a link with Caribbean music and wrote songs of black consciousness and liberation. He developed an interest in Orisha music and African drumming working with Andrew Beddoe of the Little Carib Theatre who was an Orisha priest. Exposure to Indian music drew him to Indian classical music. He was influenced by Ravi Shankar and later worked extensively with Indo-Trinidadian sitarist Mungal Patasar.
Patasar and Tanker scored the soundtrack of the movie Bim in 1973, the second locally produced movies in Trinidad and Tobago. He also wrote the music for the musical version of Derek Walcott's Ti Jean and His Brothers which was produced for the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1972. He followed this with music for Earl Lovelace's The Dragon Can't Dance and a production of Mustapha Matura's Playboy of the West Indies at the Lincoln Centre. Tanker's classic works include Sayamanda, Basement Party, Morena Osha, Hosanna Higher, and Forward Home. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
show me more