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Calypso Great Lord Pretender Dies

January 24, 2002

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) _ Lord Pretender, considered the last of the great calypso musicians of the 1930s, has died at age 84.

Pretender died Tuesday at his home in Port-of-Spain, friends said Thursday. He had been hospitalized in recent months with ulcers and low blood pressure and suffered throat cancer for years.

In a calypso career spanning 72 years, ``Preddie″ started at age 12 alongside the greats of the era _ Roaring Lion, Beginner, Attila the Hun and Executor. Pulsating calypso was born in Trinidad in the 19th century as carnival music that included social criticism.

``Pretender was one of the legends of calypso,″ said Brother Resistance, vice president of the Calypsonians Association. ``Trinidad has lost a cultural icon.″

Among his hits were ``Never Ever Worry,″ ``God Made Us All.″

Pretender, whose real name was Aldric Farrell _ many calypso musicians use stage names _ placed third in the first calypso king competition of 1939. He won the crown in 1957 with his version of ``Que Sera Sera.″

He was considered the master of the calypso genre of extempore, composing on the spot in oratorical war.

``When you think you have him, he rest a hot piece of extempo on you. He could think fast,″ said fellow calypsonian Mighty Sparrow.

Pretender stressed social commentary in calypso, through the years sticking to the oratorical ballads made famous in the 1930s.

``He had zero tolerance for calypsonians who ignored lyrical content in their song,″ said Brother Resistance.

Pretender never married. Funeral services were being planned.

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