Sadly, on behalf of the Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes (OCPA) we share news of the passing of Canadian calypso icon, John “Jayson” Perez, who died in hospital yesterday. Jayson, as we all called him, was born in Trinidad and Tobago, but made Canada (Hamilton and Toronto) his home many years ago.
He was an accomplished musician, composer, recording artiste and teacher whose passion and love of calypso knew no bounds. And he was equally passionate about promoting Canadian calypsonians whom he saw on par with the best.
Among Jayson’s accomplishments: He was the first, and only calypsonian to win a Juno award; he won the Canadian Calypso Monarch title at least 4 times; his song “Mash It Up” was a huge hit in the Big Yard (Trinidad and Tobago); he hosted “Panalyso The Boiling Pot” on CHRY 105.5 FM at York University; he later created his online radio show “Soul of a Culture”, which he hosted with his daughter, Tanya, ably supported by his wife, Brenda. His work was firmly rooted in the music and culture of Trinidad and Tobago. Together with the late Dick Lochan he also created “Pass The Torch”, an organization dedicated to teaching succeeding generations the art of creating and performing calypso music.
Jayson remained committed to calypso even though he was ailing. During the pandemic shutdown he produced several virtual calypso shows that highlighted Canadian and US singers. We fondly remember him for his joyfully infectious “Drunken Sailor”, the song and the dance.
Jayson is mourned by his wife Brenda and daughter Tanya. To them OCPA extends our deepest condolences. We mourn with them. We all miss the “Drunken Sailor”. May he RIP.
Henry “King Cosmos” Gomez MA; MFA
Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes