By Oscar Walloo
Calypsonian Dick Lochan, popularly known onstage as D’Juiceman, died on Thursday night at the Princess Margaret hospital in Toronto after a lengthy battle with leukemia. He was
The news of Lochan’s death shocked the local calypso fraternity as most were not aware that he had been seriously ill.
Lochan who came to Canada in 1966 from his native Trinidad and Tobago, attended high school in Toronto and went on to York University where he obtained his B.A. in English.
Although he was better known as a stage performer, Lochan had a long career in the public service. He started working with Canada Customs in 1975 and retired in 2008 as Regional Director of the Canada Border Services Agency.
Calypso aficionados in Toronto recalled that Lochan had a great passion for the art form and was one of its most active promoters in the city. He recently resigned as president of the Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes.
Lennox Borel, a retired educator who has judged many calypso competition in Toronto, said “the passing of Dick Lochan is a monumental loss to the calypso fraternity, and the wider community in Toronto. For years he regaled us with his witty lyrics replete with double entendre, and his engaging and charismatic presentations as an MC at many cultural events. Dick was indeed a consummate artiste. Requiescat in pace, my friend.”
Clevil James, another long-serving judge of calypso competitions, said “ Lochan was a calypso apostle and ambassador here in Canada. Even more importantly, he was the friendliest and most courteous person one could meet, always welcoming others with a hearty smile and encouraging words. Behind his comedy stood a serious and progressive mind.”
Lochan copped the Best Presentation Award in the Canadian calypso competition in 1996 and the first prize in Toronto’s first Parang Soca competition in 2003. He placed second in the Couva (Central Trinidad) Calypso Monarch Competition, and in 2010 became the first Canadian-based calypsonian to reach the finals in Trinidad’s National Humorous Calypso competition in 2014.
In the calypso off-season in Toronto, Dick gave his time to the Pass the Torch School of Calypso Music. teaching young children soca and calypso songwriting, rhyming and performing. He wrote three books on Trinidadian dialect and was a member of Songwriters of Canada, Advisory Board of the Urban Music Association of Canada (UMAC).
He leaves his wife, Frances, daughters Michelle and Jenny, and grandchildren Mahayah, Maykah, Jahsai, Masahda, Makhai and Makeda.
A ” Celebration of Life” for the late calypsonian is scheduled for Sunday January 29 at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto.
A service will be held at 3 p.m. followed by a tribute featuring several local artistes.