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From St. Croix, Virgin Islands: Toby Dee

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JJ Rocks Articls # 30: From St. Croix, Virgin Islands: Toby Dee
From St. Croix Music Magazine, Issue # 6, March, 2007
Calypso is a popular style of music here in St. Croix, and there are many drummers who play it. But someone who plays it solid as a rock is a little harder to find. But there is one drummer that I know who lays it down tight and crisp along with an energy that jumps right off the stage and pulls you on to the dance floor. That drummer is Toby Dee.

Using an uncomplicated drum setup, Toby delivers a wall of high quality calypso and reggae beats that drive his band with a pulse that keeps a crowd jumping while showing incredible stamina throughout pieces that are much longer that the average pop song. He generates more energy in one song than most drummers do in five. To say the least he is a real powerhouse drummer!

Toby also plays other styles like Reggae, R+B and Jazz, and is in a popular band here on St. Croix called The Xpress Band. He is also a fine singer with great pitch and delivery which makes him an in demand musician here on the island. I asked Toby for a little bio so our readers from around the world can have a little insight on this fine local musician. So here it is.
Toby Dee was born on July 2, 1970, on St. Croix. Toby has always lived around music, with his Haitian-born parents playing lots of records, especially of Les Freres Déjean, a Haitian band comprised of his maternal uncles. Toby first became interested in being a musician in 1980, when a paraprofessional at the Lew Muckle Elementary School chose him to play snare drum in her marching band. However, he was not taught the basics of playing drums until he joined the Elena L. Christian Junior High School Band in 1982, under the direction of Jack Petersen. He also played snare and tenor drums with the St. Croix Majorettes Marching Band, and developed his skills on the drum set as a member of the music ministry of the St. Ann's Catholic Church.

Tobys professional music career started in 1985, when he was asked to join a band named As One, as their drummer. The band played many musical styles, but lasted just about a year and a half, breaking up when most of the members of the band left St. Croix for college. In 1987, at the beginning of his senior year of high school, he was asked to join The Enforcements as their drummer. As a member of The Enforcements, Toby showed that he was also a songwriter and arranger, penning lyrics and arranging music for the band's original tunes. In 1991, Toby left The Enforcements for a college education in computer programming on the mainland. On his summer and winter breaks from school, Toby returned to St. Croix, and sat in with the Xpress Band. Upon leaving school in 1993, he moved back to St. Croix and joined The Violators (later V.I.O. International), as drummer and vocalist. The Violators achieved much regional success, with Toby writing many of the original songs recorded by the group. The highlight of Tobys tenure with the group came in 1999, when he wrote and sang the song "Bend Down," which won the St. Croix Festival Road March title. He also wrote the songs that won the St. Croix Festival Road March title in 1995, 1996, 1997, and 2000, as well as "Jungle," the bands biggest hit.

Toby left V.I.O. International in 2003, and is now a member of the World Famous Xpress Band, as drummer and vocalist, as well as drummer and vocalist with the R&B Connection, a group that plays classic soul tunes. Toby is also called to sit in with local jazz musicians, and has appeared with local jazz greats such as Elvis Pedro, Claudette Adjoa Young-Hinds, Jack Petersen, and the VI Rhythm Section.
So thats a little bio on Toby Dee. But to really appreciate his abilities, just check him out when you visit us here in St. Croix. And its a pleasure to add his name to our list of St. Croixs Musicians of the Month and know that he will be read about in the many countries that visit our international music magazine.

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