‘Iconography: Roy Cape’ to feature at CTFF

By Stephen Weir

Roy Cape

The long-time Caribana calypso saxophonist from Trinidad, Roy Cape, is making a return to Toronto next month, albeit through film, as part of the annual Caribbean Tales Film Festival (CTFF).

During the late 90s and the early 21st century, the arrival of Roy Francis Cape and his All Stars Band marked the beginning of the Carnival season in Toronto. From calypso shows and parties to mas camp mashups and cruises, as well as performances at the Grande Parade, Cape has consistently been the sought-after music maker. However, a battle with cancer in 2014 and a subsequent hip fracture five years later have prevented the 81-year-old man from gracing a Toronto staged of late.

On September 9th, the CTFF will host the International premiere of the 2022 film “Iconography: Roy Cape” at Harbourfront’s Fleck Theatre, followed by a special performance by the Roy Cape All Stars. As for whether Cape will be in Toronto, a spokeswoman for the film festival has reported, “Roy’s health has improved, and he is in excellent spirits,” but as of press time his participation has not been confirmed in the evening showing.

A young Roy Cape (Centre)

Iconography: Roy Cape is a 40-minute sit-down interview with Cape, made in 2022 by Trinidad and Tobago’s POMEGRANATE STUDIOS. The documentary follows the musical journey of Cape, tracing back to his early days of musical education in a Port-of-Spain orphanage. It captures his progression into becoming a skilled saxophonist, performing in local clubs and street events. He fondly recalls: “I used to skip school to watch the steel bands.”

With nearly 60 years of active engagement as a band musician, Cape’s illustrious career has seen collaborations with legends such as The Mighty Sparrow, Lord Kitchener, The Mighty Chalkdust, Denyse Plummer, Black Stalin, and Toronto’s Elsworth James. His contributions can be heard on hundreds of recordings. Presently, he dedicates a significant portion of his time to nurturing young musicians through his Trinidad based foundation.