WILT ‘TALLPREE’ CAMBRIDGE
The world was introduced to the authentic sound of ‘Jab Music’, in 1991 when Moss International first recorded a song that incorporated the sound of a live conch shell.
Eight years later, the Vendome native makes the sound of Jab his own, with the monstrous hit ‘Ole Woman Alone’. The infectiousness of the conch shell, the traditional Jab chant and the overall energy of a Grenadian Jouvert morning experience was wholly captured in this larger-than –life hit tune. The personification of the experience is superbly transferred once Tallpree takes the stage in any of the over 25 countries he has had the privilege of performing.
The onstage antics even led to his own dance, ‘the Tallpree Dance’, and another accompanying hit song.
Maintaining the title as the ‘King of Jab’ requires a plethora of hits following on the heels of the success of Ole Woman. And for the fans who craved the encapsulation of a Jab Jab and Jouvert experience in song, Tallpree has been able to deliver carnival season after carnival season.
Over the years he has not limited himself to just the sub-genre of Jab Music, but has experimented with variants of the artform such as calypso (making it to the semi-finals of the National competition in Grenada) and Groovy Soca (making it to the finals of the International Groovy Monarch in Trinidad in 2014). Additionally, Tallpree has been a 7-time finalist in the International Power Soca Monarch finals – the most finals appearances by a non-Trinidadian artiste. He is also the only non-Trinidadian Artiste to twice place in the top four of the finals (3rd with Ole Woman and 4th with Wicked Jab).
In Grenada Tallpree, a proud graduate of the Boca Secondary School, has won the coveted Soca Monarch title and back to back road march titles in 2000 and 2001, in addition to being named a Cultural Ambassador, affording him the privilege of carrying an Official Passport.
Tallpree’s start as an entertainer came through the desire to emulate his idols, the Dancehall Artistes who influenced a myriad of young and talented Grenadians. Tallpree who carried the additional moniker, Mr. Evilous was well known for his exploits on stage shows featuring the likes of Supercat and Merciless.
In 1997 Tallpree stretched his musical talents making the trek over to Soca utilizing another traditional component of Grenada’s Carnival and Culture – Wild Indian. Two years later he hitched his musical wagon to the Jab trailer and it has been one energetic, pulsating and fun-filled ride since.
Tallpree stands out, not only because of his propensity to do Jab music and his consistent success, but also because of is his distinct, deep voice that immediately commands attention whether in a regular conversation or backed by some thumping instrumentals.
Another unique feature of the ‘King of Jab is his spiked hair-do. Perhaps the best compliment to the hair style is the fact that while many others have attempted same only Tallpree seems capable of maintaining such a fashionable and attention-grabbing look.
Fans of Tallpree, in Grenada, throughout the Region and in the wider world always anticipate the fervor he brings to the stage. Any announcement of an eminent performance by Tallpree is usually met with branches (in reaction to one of his hits named Trees), the sound of conch shells or just people running around in uncontrollable glee.
In recent times Tallpree has added the title of entrepreneur to his list of accomplishments. His has now established an annual Carnival event known as PreeDay, that features his Friends in music both regionally and locally. There is also Tallpree Sundays which is a weekly event taking place in Vendome that serves as a buildup to carnival.
Unique, passionate, gifted, driven, humble and most of all a person devoted to pleasing his fans, who recognizes his blessings and accepts the responsibility of role model.
Next time you meet this Humble Servant (actually the title of one of his Calypsos) admire the hairstyle, marvel at the voice, revel in the energy of his stage performance, but also ensure to experience his enthusiasm for life and his love for people.
Credit: Dexter Mitchell