Irving Burgie

Irving Burgie has sold over one hundred (100) million records throughout the Caribbean and has had a long-standing recognition as being one of the greatest composers of Caribbean music.


Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1917 to a Barbadian mother and an American father, Mr. Burgie is  the man responsible for writing the lyrics to the National Anthem of Barbados. His interest in music developed while he served in the US Army as a soldier in an all black battalion in the China-Burma India theater. His formal studies were at the Juilliard School of Music, University of Arizona, and University of Southern California. He used the stage name "Lord Burgess" while he was a folksinger and performed the circuit between New York and Chicago, making his New York nightclub debut at the Village Vanguard in 1954.


Eight (8) of the eleven (11) songs on Harry  Belafonte's 1956 Calypso album were written by Mr. Burgie himself. Incidentally, Calypso was the very first album in the United States of America to sell well over a million copies.  Amongst his other writings are songs for the Kingston Trio ("The Seine," "El Matador," and "The Wanderer") and for other groups." "We Are The World" video has been privileged to see Day-O" as a part of its feature. 1997 also saw "Day-O" as the wake-up call for the astronauts on the Space Shuttle Atlantis in outer space.


Mr. Burgie, a frequent visitor to the island of Barbados, created the Irving Burgie Literary Award for Excellence in Literary and Creative Arts for secondary school children of Barbados. The acolade of the Silver Crown of Merit was bestowed upon him in 1987 from the Barbados Government and in 1989, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from the University of the West Indies.


The "Caribbean Song Book" is a great source for many of Mr. Burgie's  songs. This book comprises of fifty-nine (59) songs and the National anthems of nine Caribbean countries.


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