Chantuelle Vibz celebrates Andre Tanker’s legacy

Allison “Empress Aje
Allison “Empress Aje" Bernard wants to celebrate the musical legacies of some of TT’s icons. Her Chanteulle Vibz:: A musical tribute to Andre Tanker takes place on September 24.

Allison “Empress Aje," formerly "Warrior Empress,” Bernard wants to celebrate the musical legacies of some of Trinidad and Tobago’s icons. She wants to achieve this through events under the brand Chantuelle Vibz.

On September 24 she starts with Chantuelle Vibz: A musical tribute to Andre Tanker at the Central Bank Auditorium from 7.30 pm. The show features 3canal, Ataklan, Stacey Sobers, Mavis John, Natasha Joseph and Empress Aje, performing Tanker’s music.

Tanker was the creator of many memorable songs, including Morena Osha, Sayamanda, Hosanna, and 3canal featuring Tanker with Ben Lion.

He died of a heart attack at 61 in 2003.

Andre Tanker, creator of many memorable songs, including Morena Osha, Sayamanda and Hosanna, died of a heart attack at 61 in 2003.

Empress Aje said Tanker’s style is noticeable in a lot of TT’s musicians today.

“Whether they are doing soca, kaiso jazz, whatever, the foundation is rooted within the African rhythms, Indian sounds, his music was based upon these.

“He even also used Latin rhythms.”

Empress Aje, who began singing calypso in 2007, was drawn to Tanker’s songs in her own musical upbringing, “Sayamanda being my absolute favourite.

"The only time I got to express that on a stage was when I started doing my own events in 2019.”

She would sing a Tanker song at her shows.

During her annual Mother’s Day event, Iba, she spoke to percussionist Tamba Gwindi, who played with Tanker for 17 years, and is part of the band for the musical tribute, and told him of her plans.

“I said, ‘Hear nah, I want to do another show for the year and I am getting this strong inspiration to do a show in honour of Andre Tanker. You know how I love his music. The spirit just talking to me to do something for Andre Tanker.’”

Empress Aje said Gwindi then told her he had a dream in which Tanker was asking him for something. Gwindi said he interpreted the dream as taking one of his songs, refashioning it and doing something in his honour.


He did not immediately share that with Aje, so when she shared her idea with him, it was “confirmation,” she said, of needing to do something to honour the late musician.

Empress Aje said she felt it was a good month to host the event as Tanker was born in September.

She said she first contacted Tanker’s widow Christine and then his daughter, Zo-Mari Tanker, the manager of his estate and was granted their blessing to host the event.

Asked if there is youthful interest in the musical legacy of Tanker, Empress Aje said no.

“Because the elders, those who would have been exposed to Tanker, what did they do to introduce the youth to the music, of not just Tanker but people of that era who would have transitioned or are still with us?

“I have experienced speaking with younger artistes, and when you question them about Kitchener, Mighty Shadow or these artistes, they don’t know anything. I wouldn’t say it is because they are not interested – but you cannot be interested in that which you do not know about.

Mavis John will perform at Chanteulle Vibz: A musical tribute to Andre Tanker on September 24.

“If the interest was never aroused or the information put forward, they may not be interested unless they were introduced to the music or brought up in a home that exposed them to the music.”

She added that there were some younger people who were exposed because of who their parents were and are.

Empress Aje understands that the show will be composed of an older audience and a few youth, but said TT must find a way to package and make the music attractive to younger people.

“We cannot deny that we are not living 40 years ago,” she said.

She said this does not mean the country should get rid of this type of content, but should find a way to make it interesting to new generations.

As the brand grows and develops, she plans to pay tribute to other musical icons like Ella Andall.

“It cannot be that these great icons and musicians contribute so much, they transition and they gone their way and that is it.”


Empress Aje said this was her way of preserving these works.

She hopes the show will be one of “healing.”

Zo-Mari Tanker said the estate gave its blessing for the show as it felt it was important to continue to celebrate the contribution of Tanker to the world.

“He called his music Caribbean world music, because it was music for everyone. His music resonates so much with people all over. We thought it important to continue to celebrate his amazing legacy.

“Also we can’t forget. We can’t forget our greats and legends,” she added.

She too felt that hosting the event in Tanker's birth month was “perfect timing” as well.

While his music is available digitally, she said things must be done to continue to celebrate his work. She believes it cannot only be up to the estate; it was also important for other creators to celebrate him.

“It is important that we remind the next generation as well. Sometimes we are in a bit of a bubble and we don’t know the contribution of our own people. That awareness is important and the continued celebration of his legacy.”

The estate also has plans – which she did not immediately disclose – to continue to celebrate Tanker's life and work.


"Chantuelle Vibz celebrates Andre Tanker’s legacy"

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