One of the oldest arguments in the history of psychology is the nature vs. nurture debate. While the debate continues a solid case can be made for a Calypsonian who have excelled because he benefitted generously from both sides.
Finley ‘Scholar’ Jeffrey was born in the culture-rich village of Chantimelle, St. Patrick. Naturally cultural expression was something that would form part of his formative years. His Father was a Chantuelle, leading the chants of the very popular Shortknee Bands of the Village. With an older brother also well versed in the craft, it meant Scholar was going to be nurtured into that specific line of cultural expression that would form the foundation of what has so far being a stellar Calypso career.
The transition from Chantuelle to Calypsonian was neither smooth nor automatic, in fact, Scholar’s first attempt to join a Calypso Tent (Black Roots) at age sixteen failed, which led to a destruction of his notebook of already penned songs.
The breakthrough finally came in 1993 when Scholar entered and won the Independence Calypso competition. Since then it has been one major accomplishment after the other.
Although not exhaustive the following list gives an outline of some of Scholar achievements since 1993:
- National Calypso Monarch – 1996, 1997, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
- Soca Monarch – 1998
- Groovy Monarch – 2007
- Independence Monarch – 1993
Other accomplishments include:
- An unprecedented 11 times placing in 2nd position in all National competitions.
- 4th place in Carifesta Calypso competition 2006
- Nominated for a Caribbean Music Award in 1997
- Won Calypsonian of the year at the 2013 Caribbean Music Awards
- Was appointed a Cultural Ambassador of Grenada in 2012
Apart from his exploits on stage, Scholar has also done extensive work in the classroom in relation to Calypso writing and development.
He has written for his Son (a one-time Schools Soca Monarch and two-time Junior Calypso Monarch), former Calypso Monarchs Biko, Beast, Akima Paul and Roach and Eagle from Carriacou and Leston Paul’s Band.
Scholar is the only Calypsonian in Grenada to have won all 4 major National Calypso titles. He has hit tunes across all the sub-genres of Calypso having recorded classics such as Voices and Legacy (Calypso), Permission and She Well Hold Him (Groove) and They Have They Belly (Power).
Credit: Dexter Mitchell