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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mona Baptiste
Born(1928-06-21)21 June 1928
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Died25 June 1993(1993-06-25) (aged 65)
Dublin, Ireland
Years active1949–71

Mona Baptiste (21 June 1928 – 25 June 1993) was a Trinidad and Tobago-born singer and actress in London and Germany.[1] She was largely popular from songs such as "Calypso Blues" and "There's Something in the Air".[2] She also acted in multiple musical films, including Dancing in the Sun (Tanz in der Sonne, 1954).[1]

Life and career

Cover from the Single "Es liegt was in der Luft" (1954), by Bully Buhlan and Mona Baptiste.
Cover from the Single "Es liegt was in der Luft" (1954), by Bully Buhlan and Mona Baptiste.

Born into a well-known family in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on 21 June 1928, one of five sisters,[3] Mona Baptiste was 14 when she began singing on the radio and at dances, later becoming involved with the Little Carib Theatre.[4] She migrated to England in 1948 on the HMT Empire Windrush, which arrived at Tilbury Docks, Essex, on 22 June, the day after her 20th birthday.[5] One of the few women on the ship, she had travelled first class.[4] While she presented herself as a clerk to London immigration, she began working towards her singing career very soon afterwards.[6]

Over the next few years, she appeared in the British music magazine New Musical Express for events such as signing with Cab Kaye to sing with the Cabinettes, appearing on the television show Coloured Follies, and appearing on the British radio variety show Brandbox in 1949.[7][8][9] She also started singing at Quaglino's restaurant and their Allegro to great success in 1950.[10][11] In 1951 she worked Ted Heath's band and other jazz groups, and recorded for Melodisc her version of "Calypso Blues", a song originally performed by Nat King Cole.[12] She also sang "Calypso Blues" with the Brute Force Steel Band on the 1957 Cook Records album Beauty and the Brute Force.[13]

Invited by Yves Montand to Paris, she appeared at top cabaret spot La Nouvelle Eve, and went on to perform in Belgium and Germany, where she was a great success and decided to settle.[4] In Germany, where she had a house in Krefeld,[14] she gained recognition for her popular songs such as "There's Something in the Air" and movie appearances including in the films Tanz in der Sonne and An jedem Finger zehn in 1954,[1][2] as well as starring in Porgy and Bess for East German television.[4]

Baptiste was married to Michael Carle, whom she had met in London; after his death in a car accident in 1958[15] when their son Marcel was aged five, she retired.[4] In 1972 she moved to Ireland, where her second husband was from, and in the 1970s she tried to make a comeback, which was unsuccessful.[2][4]

After suffering a stroke,[4] she died aged 65, on 25 June 1993 in Dublin, Ireland, where she had lived for a number of years with her second husband, Liam Morrison.[14][15][16] (Her place of death was erroneously reported as Krefeld in Der Spiegel.)[2] She was buried in Deans Grange Cemetery.[17]


  • 1953: "Merci Beaucoup" / "Wer Mich Küßt, Ist Gefangen" (Shellac, 10")
  • 1954: "Wo Ist Der Eine?" / "Ja, Das Küssen" (7", Single)
  • 1954: Mona Baptiste, Bully Buhlan, Michael Jary Film-Orchester* – "Es Liegt Was in Der Luft" / "Liebesgeständnis (Aber Bei Nacht)" (Shellac, 10", Single)
  • 1955: "O Jackie-Joe" (7", Single, Mono)
  • 1956: Mona Baptiste Presents (7", EP)
  • 1956: Mona Baptiste, Bully Buhlan – "Eine Frau Muß Man Küssen" (7", Single)
  • 1956: "A Woman's Love Is Never Done" / "You're Wrong, All Wrong" (Shellac, 10")
  • 1956: Mona Baptiste Presents Volume 2 (7", EP)
  • 1956: "Vorbei..." / "No, No, No" (7", Single)
  • 1957: Mona Baptiste, Roberto Del Gado Y Su Conjunto – Tales of the Caribbean (7", EP)
  • 1959: "Die Mädchen Aus Der Mambo-Bar" • "Boy, Komm Und Küß Mich" (7", Single, Mono)
  • 1970: "When Joey Comes Around" / "Baby, This Is Fate" (7")
  • 1971: "Come And Live in My World" (7", Single)


See also


  1. ^ a b c Mona Baptiste biography, IMDb.
  2. ^ a b c d "GESTORBEN: Mona Baptiste". Der Spiegel (in German). Hamburg, Germany. 5 July 1993. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Former model, dancer passes away", Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, 26 January 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Cobbinah, Angela (11 October 2018), "Mona’s musical journey after Windrush", Camden New Journal.
  5. ^ "Mona Baptiste, the Trinidad-born blues singer, entertains fellow passengers onboard the ship", Windrush Foundation, 26 November 2012.
  6. ^ McKay, George (2 November 2005). Circular Breathing: The Cultural Politics of Jazz in Britain. Duke University Press. ISBN 082238728X.
  7. ^ "Cab Kaye Signs Mona Baptiste" (18 March 1949). Musical Express (Archive: 1948–1952).
  8. ^ "Mona Baptiste On Television" (8 July 1949). Musical Express (Archive: 1948–1952).
  9. ^ "MONA BAPTISTE'S FIRST APPEARANCE ON BANDBOX" (30 December 1949). Musical Express (Archive: 1948–1952).
  10. ^ "MONA BAPTISTE FOR QUAG'S" (24 March 1950). Musical Express (Archive: 1948–1952).
  11. ^ "Mona Baptiste" (14 April 1950). Musical Express (Archive: 1948–1952).
  12. ^ Kelley, R.; S. Tuck (22 February 2016). The Other Special Relationship: Race, Rights, and Riots in Britain and the United States. Springer. ISBN 9781137392701.
  13. ^ Eldridge, Michael (25 June 2012), "Mehr deutsche Calypso (oder, Die Mädchen aus der Mambo-Bar)", Working for the Yankee Dollar: Calypso and Calypsonians in North America, 1934–1961.
  14. ^ a b The Stage, 5 August 1993.
  15. ^ a b "Mona Baptiste", The Windrush Generation at Historycal Roots.
  16. ^ "Mona Baptiste". BFI. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Headstones: DUBLIN Deansgrange Cemetery. St.Patrick's Section" No. 42, Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives.

External links

This page was last edited on 12 December 2021, at 18:05
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