Legendary Trinidadian Calypso Queen Denyse Plummer loses cancer battle

Everybody's Magazine Publisher, Herman Hall announcing Denyse Plummer as a recipient of a Trinidad & Tobago National Medal.
Everybody’s Magazine Publisher, Herman Hall announcing Denyse Plummer as a recipient of a Trinidad & Tobago National Medal.
Photo courtesy Everybody’s magazine

Legendary Trinidadian Calypso Queen Denyse Plummer has died after a long battle with cancer. TT Loopnews reported that calypsonian turned gospel singer passed away on Saturday. She was 69.
TT. loopnews reported that Ainsley King, president of The Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organization (TUCO) announced her passing Sunday night.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of legendary calypso and gospel artiste, Denyse Plummer,” he said. “On behalf of the executive and members of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organization (TUCO), and as its president, Ainsley King, we extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and all who were touched by her remarkable talent and spirit,” he added.

“Her journey from singing in the Holy Name Convent choirs to ascending to the pinnacle of the calypso world is an inspiring testament to her dedication and perseverance,” King continued. “She shattered barriers and paved the way for female calypsonians, demonstrating that the power of one’s voice transcends gender and background.

“Plummer’s unique ability to infuse diverse musical genres into her performances, from calypso and soca to gospel and chutney, showcased her artistic versatility,” he said. “Her music resonated not only within our twin-island nation but also resonated globally, gracing stages across the Caribbean, North America, Europe, and beyond.”

Last month, as rumors of her death began circulating, her son Jesse Boocock told the Trinidad Express that Plummer was “resting comfortably at her home and spending time with family as she had decided to no longer undergo chemotherapy for cancer.”

In May, the Express said Plummer celebrated life with her family for Mother’s Day.

On May 15, the paper said Plummer’s Facebook page showed her celebrating with her family.

She posted: “Thanking God for all my countless blessings. I had an amazing night with my sons, daughters-in-law and granddaughter. Love you guys all so much.”

The Express noted that a benefit concert was held in May to celebrate Plummer’s life.

At the time, the Express said a statement released from the team noted Plummer’s distinguished career: “From her early roots at Junior and Senior Music festival competitions while at Holy Name Convent, to talent competitions, 12 and Under, Teen Talent, and Scouting for Talent, just to name a few, her professional career took flight, as she honed her craft singing at bars and hotels throughout Trinidad and Tobago.

“Plummer, 69, showcased her versatility in performing all genres of music, including pop, reggae, and country songs after landing a job at the Chaconia Inn in Maraval,” the statement said.

“With all these achievements under her belt, she understood profoundly where her ‘navel string was buried’ and entered the African male-dominated areas of calypso and soca, along with chutney music,” it added.

The statement said Plummer’s professional debut was in 1986 to a local audience “that was not quite ready to accept a female calypsonian, far less one with a white father and black mother.

“She persevered and captured many titles,” it said.

In 1987, the statement said she placed third in the National Calypso competition.

In 1988, Plummer reached the National Calypso Monarch finals and also won the Calypso Queen crown.

By 2000, the statement said Plummer was one of the main attractions at the Calypso Revue tent.

It said Plummer won the Calypso Crown in 2001 with “Heroes” and “Nah Leaving”.

The statement said “she went even further, winning the critically acclaimed Amateur Night at the Apollo Theatre in New York, USA, in 1989 with Whitney Houston’s ‘Didn’t We Almost Have It All’”.

“She continued to conquer various regional and international calypso competitions and travelled worldwide as an ambassador of the art form,” the statement said.

It said “Woman is Boss” was also one of Plummer’s songs that “created waves and was a hit.”

After devoting her life to Jesus Christ as her Lord and savior, the statement said Plummer “unashamedly began her gospel ministry and proudly spread the message of peace, joy, and love to all.”