Poonka

Poonka
Member Society: COSCAP
Country: Barbados
Genre: Calypso/Soca, Jazz

Biography

Poonka began singing in the St. Ambrose Church choir with his parents and went on to be a part of the Barbados Festival Choir in which he acted and sang. He would also sing at the Barbados Redifusion’s Children’s party where he won prizes on a regular basis. He was involved with folk music as well, in the now defunct Wesahh folk singers where he not only sang but penned several songs. At school he played the trumpet in the school’s Cadet band and orchestra as well as in the Barbados Symphonia...

Poonka began singing in the St. Ambrose Church choir with his parents and went on to be a part of the Barbados Festival Choir in which he acted and sang. He would also sing at the Barbados Redifusion’s Children’s party where he won prizes on a regular basis. He was involved with folk music as well, in the now defunct Wesahh folk singers where he not only sang but penned several songs. At school he played the trumpet in the school’s Cadet band and orchestra as well as in the Barbados Symphonia with Janice Millington. His debut into the calypso arena came in 1983 with the introduction of Tuk Band music as an integral part of his offerings in calypso, which was never done previously. In his twelve year stint in this arena he went to the semi-finals 9 times and to the finals 4 times almost winning the crown in 1983.

Poonka was the resident drummer at the Barbados Dance Theatre for many years, playing for classes, before and after joining up with the Yoruba Dance Foundation in 1979, when he visited Cuba with both organizations for The Caribbean Festival of Arts (Carifesta).
In the meantime, Poonka has been an accomplished musician in many categories, performing in the studio as well as live mainly as a percussionist and proponent of the dying heritage of Tuk Band music in Barbados. And plays all instruments native to the style of music; bass kettle, flute and triangle.

He has been able to have this music in the ‘Tuk’ genre recorded and produced on CD, which is a first in Barbados as well. He has been the resident percussionist in the Festival Band since inception, excepting only those years when he performed as a calypsonian. He has played commercial drums with the Paragon Dance Orchestra as a teenager, where he was privileged to play with his own father, Sydney Willock, of “Percy Greene” fame. A teacher by profession, he entered students to The National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) as a 33 piece percussion ensemble winning one gold and three silver medals in two years during his time at The Alleyne Secondary School.

He has conducted workshops in conga drumming and tuk band for the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), the Rontana Dance Movement, and even in Tortola, Manchester and St. Vincent. He also studied Tassa and African drumming in the neighboring islands of Trinidad and Tobago. He has been an active ambassador for Barbados over the years representing his country in various Caribbean islands, Germany, England, and in USA’s Radio City Music Hall, in South Carolina, New Orleans, Miami, New York. He has also performed at Carifestas and expos from 1996 and 2000 with his group, ‘Ruk-A-Tuk International’ and the Omele Percussion Ensemble which has been featured at Barbados’s Pan Under the Trees on two occasions.

He was featured at the Barbados Jazz Festival in 2006 where he played bongos, keyboard, congas, flute, kettle, timbales, trap set and sang. This is after having performed with previously featured stars like Janelle Headley, Adrian ‘Boo’ Husbands and Ziggy the pan player. He has also performed with other famous Barbadian artists such as Nicholas Branker, Arturo Tappin, Roger Gittens, James Lovell and many others including international artistes; Shadow, Sparrow and Baron. In addition, he played an integral role in both the Barbados Song Contest and the Caribbean Song Contest bands as a percussionist.

He has been endorsed as a Barbados Music Awards ‘Cornerstone’ Awardee 2009. National Cultural Foundation ‘Stalwart’ Award 2009 and featured in the Friends magazine October 2009. In 2013 he was percussionist with Atta Boafo at Gospelfest.

His intention going forward is to produce a CD of conscious gospel type music and several of those songs have already been written, produced and self-recorded at his home studio where he produces jingles and demos. Poonka lives by many philosophies, one of which is “Give God The Glory” regardless of however it may look.

Gig Calendar

No upcoming gigs.

Press Releases

No press releases added yet.

Videos

No videos added yet.

Songs

Engine Room Jam Mas

Contact Form