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Ronnie Butler Dies


UnknownLegendary Bahamian artist Ronnie Butler, the man who many believe had the biggest impact not only on Bahamian music, but culture in the country’s history, passed away Sunday morning at the age of 80. The famed entertainer died at his home on Saint Albans Drive in Nassau, surrounded by family and friends


Butler commonly referred to as “The Godfather of Bahamian Music,” had a career spanning over six decades and some fifteen albums entertaining millions all over the world in audiences such as France, Germany, Austria and Belgium.


Ronnie Butler was born August 17th 1937 in Nassau, Bahamas. He attended the Eastern Senior School, which he left in the 6th grade when he was only 13 years old to work and help his family with expenses.


He first got into music at 17, after he was inspired by his neighbour who played the Hawaiian guitar and was drawn to the sounds. This ultimately led to him forming a musical group with his neighbour and another friend.


After three months, the group began performing at the Buena Vista which was known host the rich and famous, which gave Butler his first taste of performing.


In 1958, Butler went to work with Eric Gibson of “King Eric and His Knights” and further developed his musical talents working clubs such as “The Skylark Club”, “Captain Kidd” and “The Bar Mar”.


In 1962, he formed Ronnie and the Ramblers consisting of Charlie Dean on drums, Sidney Darling on bass and Carl “Flash” Rodgers on the guitar. The group eventually becoming a household name.


In 1971 Butler began a stint at the “Out Island Bar” in the Nassau Beach Hotel. It is during this period when Butler recorded some of his greatest Bahamian hits including “Burma Road”, “Bahama Rock”, and “Crow Calypso”.


In 1973 Butler started a decade long run at “Ronnie’s Rebel Room” at the then Anchorage Hotel. Following his time there, “Ronnie and The Ramblers” disbanded.


He then formed “Ronnie Butler and The Fire”. This group performed at the “Tradewinds Lounge” on Paradise Island for eight years.


Butler continued to re-invent himself over the years, making music with the new generation of Bahamians songs such as, “Look What You Do” with Sweet Emily and “Age Ain’t Nothing but A Number” with the late Count Bernadino.


Even more recently in 2016, Butler featured on the song “ Teef” with Bahamian Trae and Faddah Fred which blended Butler’s classic calypso style with a new age sound.


Butler has been given many awards for his contribution to the growth and development of the Bahamas. They include being made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (M.B.E) in 2003, the Cacique Award, and the Bahamian Icon’s Lifetime Achievement Award.


He was also inducted into the Caribbean Hall of Fame in 2014, only the fourth Bahamian to do so; joining Sir Lynden Pindling, Sir Sidney Poitier and Eddie Minnis.


Butler’s health had noticeably taken a turn over the past several years in a battle with prostate cancer.


Butler was survived by his five children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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