Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Byron Lee Dies from Cancer at Age of 73

KINGSTON, Jamaica - A bandleader who helped introduce Jamaican music to an international audience and founded one of the island's first ska bands has died. Information Minister Olivia Grange says Byron Lee died of cancer at the University Hospital of the West Indies on Tuesday. He was 73.

The musician founded the band Byron Lee and the Dragonaires band in 1956 at age 20 and recorded several ska and calypso songs, including "Tiny Winey." The band soon signed with the West Indies Recording Limited label owned by future Prime Minister Edward Seaga. Lee bought the label in 1964. His Kingston studio would later attract musicians including The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. Lee is survived by his wife and six children.

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