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09/15/2010

Soca singer Alphonsus 'Arrow' Cassell dies at 60

September 15, 2010 |  8:27 pm

Arrow Alphonsus "Arrow" Cassell, a soca musician who won global fame with his 1982 hit "Hot Hot Hot," died Wednesday. He was 60.

He died of complications from brain cancer at his home on the Caribbean island of Montserrat, said his brother, Justin Cassell, a singer-songwriter who often collaborated with him.

The highlight of his career was "Hot Hot Hot," Justin Cassell said, adding that his brother also gained fame because "he took soca to all corners of the world."

"Arrow" Cassell was among the best-known artists of Caribbean-born soca, a music derived from soul and calypso that emphasizes music over lyrics.

"Calypso is political, tropical, slower," the musician said in a 1996 interview. "Soca is dance. ‘Feeling Hot Hot Hot' ... makes you forget that there's a volcano and (remember) there's fun to be had."

At the time of the interview, Cassell was producing music that aimed to reassure Montserrat residents who had been forced to leave their homes when the Soufriere Hills volcano erupted in 1995.

"Arrow" Cassell was born Nov. 16, 1949, into a family that produced two Calypso Kings at Montserrat's annual Christmas carnival. In the 1970s, he was influenced by the Trinidadian musician the Mighty Sparrow, considered by many the international king of calypso. Cassell was crowned Monterrat's calypso king four times before focusing on his international career.

In the 1980s, he performed on tours throughout Africa, Europe, Japan and the United States.

-- Associated Press

Photo: Alphonsus "Arrow" Cassell performs in January.

Credit: Associated Press

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