Caribbean Heritage Awards Recognizes Dominican-Born Trailblazer Gordon Henderson

Legendary Dominica-born trailblazer in music and Founder of Exile One, Gordon Henderson, will be presented the TrailBlazer Award at the 22nd Annual Caribbean American Heritage (CARAH) Awards Gala. The event will be held on Friday, November 20th 2015, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The Gala will be taped and aired on CaribVision TV through a partnership with Caribbean Media Corporation in the Caribbean as well as on Cable TV in US markets served by CaribVision. Mr. Henderson’s selection had the strong support of Rebuild Dominica, which has had the support of The Institute of Caribbean Studies, Inc. in its fundraising efforts.


According to a recent article by Cable Broadcasting Network 4 (CBN4), Henderson hosted the Dominica Renaissance Concert on the neighboring island of Guadeloupe. “While final revenues from the concert have not yet been tallied, Henderson tells CBN4 that the concert was a major success with an estimated output of 12,000 € … More concerts will be held in Martinique, Paris and Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean at dates to be announced.” The theme song for the concert series is “Lévé Dominique” (Stand Up Dominica). The tribute is performed by Henderson in support of his native island: The Commonwealth of Dominica. With efforts to rebuild Dominica still in  process, this song serves to encourage citizens after the damage caused by Tropical Storm Erika.

Over the past forty years, Gordon Henderson, has impacted the music industry on a global scale. He has performed at festivals across Europe, the Indian Ocean, Asia and Africa. When describing his definition of Créole music today, Henderson stated simply, “My Créoleness reflects all my influences. It is that synthesis which defines my musical identity. I am reggae, kompa, soca, soul and a mixture of all of the above.”

A true pioneer, Gordon Henderson was the first Créole musician signed to a major French label, Barclay, which is today a part of Universal. He is known as the God-Father of cadence-lypso: a fusion of cadence and calypso. Henderson has received numerous awards to include The AFRICAR MUSIC AWARDS (Ivory Coast), The Golden Drum, The National Meritorious Award, Lime Lifetime Achievement, The DFC Lifetime Achievement, and The CIAO Award Washington.

Henderson is also the author of Zoukland, which is a book about the making and developing of modern Caribbean créole music. His publications references include The Pop Music of a Continent (African All Stars) by Chris Stapleton and Chris May, Zouk: World Music in the West Indies by Jocelyne Guilbault (University Chicago Press), and World Music/The Rough Guide by The Penguin Group.

Former winners of CARAH Awards include Jimmy Cliff, Reggae Icon, Marcia Griffiths, the Hon. Rita Marley O.D., Freddie McGregor, Jazz Star on the Rise Etienne Charles, Pan Master Robbie Greenidge, Calypso Legend, and Dr. Francisco Slinger (“The Mighty Sparrow”).

Former CARAH attendees and honorees have included Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell of Grenada, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia, Prime Minister Owen Arthur of Barbados, Congresswoman Barbara Lee D-CA, Founder of Black Enterprise Earl Graves, US Attorney-General Eric Holder (of Barbadian heritage), the legendary Cicely Tyson (of Kittitian heritage), Founder of the top black-owned accounting firm Mitchell & Titus, Bert Mitchell, NASA Scientist of Aruban heritage Sir Edward Chin, and Author of Trinidadian heritage Professor Elizabeth Nunez.

Photo Credit: SBJAM
Photo Credit: SBJAM

About Exile One

The group EXILE ONE is the first Creole Music group to sign a recording contract with a major record company. The band became famous through its own brand of music, which it called Cadence-Lypso; a precursor of Zouk, Soca and Bouyon. The group has changed its format around lead singer, songwriter and composer Gordon Henderson and has performed in many countries and continents around the world.


About The CARAH Awards Gala

The Caribbean American Heritage (CARAH) Awards were instituted in 1994 by the Institute of Caribbean Studies in order to demonstrate the contributions that Caribbean immigrants make to the USA. Also honored from time to time are Friends of the Caribbean whose work contribute to the well-being and welfare of the Caribbean peoples. ICS’ Founder and President, Dr. Claire Nelson cites the CARAH Awards as part of the organization’s campaign to ensure that the conversation on the future of America and immigration includes a recognition of the indivisible historical linkages between the US and the Caribbean.

About The Institute of Caribbean Studies

The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) is a non-partisan, non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization established in 1993 dedicated to education, advocacy and action on issues that impact on Caribbean Americans. The purpose of the Institute is to provide a forum for the public and private sector, the non-government organization community, scholars and others interested in promoting a dialogue and to assist in the execution of actions that result from that dialogue.

ICS has become leading community think-do tank in the Caribbean diaspora in the US. ICS is the architect and campaign chair of National Caribbean American Heritage Month, executive producer of the National Caribbean American Heritage Awards since 1994, Conveyor of the Invest Caribbean Business Leaders Dialogue since 1999, and the Caribbean Futures Initiative established in 2007.


This write-up was prepared by the Media Relations Team at Rebuild Dominica. For more information regarding this post, contact LaDàna Drigo at 202.670.6489 or