TI ORKEST STORY
Though their name says “little”, and they come from the small Caribbean island of Dominica, there is nothing “Petit” about this group of individuals, who came together to share their passion for music, art and self expression. It’s not just about music for this band. It’s about patriotism, sharing the culture of their island, getting creative in fusing and creating new sounds and possibly genres, and showing all that through their dressing, language, dancing and stage performances.
They have touched every major stage on their Island of Dominica from the year 2013 to present, especially the festivals and village events, including the World Creole Music Festival, The Jazz N Creole, The Creole Board La Mer, The Carnival Street Parades, The Carib Beer Festival, and the President’s Annual Party.
They have released a number of singles including those that were prepared specially for the Candence-Lypso competition, and their two popular soca numbers “ Handle it” and “Undercover Wine”.
Having been nominated for a National and an International Music Award, and having been featured in the local newspaper, and on entertainment magazines in the UK and in Canada, Ti Orkest is definitely a band to look out for, as they spread their wings and share their music throughout the Caribbean and the world.
They are multifaceted group of individuals, each very talented and with their own unique style and identity. The band was established in December of 2010, and by 2014.
The faces of the band today, were not always there, as with many other groups, the band had to deal with migration, circumstances surrounding day-jobs, family life, and sometimes simply loss of interest of its members. Remarkably, time shaped the band into this wonderful group of individuals that they currently present, and the band boasts a close-knit relationship among members. Several members of the band are actually related, or come from the same villages. Ti Orkest, which is in the French-Creole Language, translates to "Little Orchestra" in English. The name was left in the native Creole language as it resonates with their French and English audiences and with the genres of music that they play, inclusive of original compositions.
In their early years, the band was very occupied with the slew of live performances that came in, and so had put production on the back burner. However, they took breaks in and out to focus on bringing out original material, thus producing: “Handle it”, “ Free Me Up”, “Cockma” “wespe Ime”, “Ou Pas Konnet”, “Jamais”, “Come Over” and “Undercover Wine”
They can be described as a band for Creole/ Island/ Caribbean Music lovers. Mostly known for Cadence Lypso which is native to the island (usually in the Creole language, but with evolution, can now be heard in English). The band won the Cadence-Lypso competition in Dominica for two consecutive years; 2015 and 2016. Their performances were described as powerful and captivating, including a switch of gender roles to bring across a message for one of their songs “ Ou Pas Konnet” meaning “You Don’t Know”. The song talks about the uncertainty of knowing who people really are these days, as society forces us to wear many masks. Though the emphasis is placed on their native music, they also dabble in Zouk, Compas, and Kizomba, (seeing that they are situated in between two French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe,) Afrobeat, Soca, Reggae, Dance-hall, Jazz, Hip-hop, and House.
Creig Henry who is the band manager and live performance sound engineer, is also a drummer and has worked as a musician with Carnival Cruise Lines.
Dexter Ulysses is the bass guitarist and band leader. Dexter also plays keys in his community Church. He has been involved in music for almost 25 years, having been part of one other band before Ti Orkest. He is also actively involved in Spanish Dancing. Dexter is one of the main composers and producers of Ti Orkest's Music.
Carlos Williams is male vocalist and one of our songwriters. He has worked with Dexter in the previous band as well. Bi-lingual, he writes and sings in English and French Creole. He is also now starting to cater to a career as a solo artist.
Bernett Serrant, and Gerrant Guiste are our Keyboardists. Of very different playing styles, they complement each other perfectly during our studio recordings and live performances. They are both behind the composition and production of the band's music. Bernett is particularly very good with the recording programs and computers. Gerrant started in church as well and has worked most of his life in music, and though still actively a member of the band, he is currently employed on cruise ships.
Melinda Ulysses and Shalina Samuel, our female vocalists are both quite accomplished. They are solo artists (besides being in the band), models, partook in the National Queen Beauty Pageant in 2013 and 2014 respectively and have worked with other bands, both in Dominica and overseas. Shalina still performs and records with the "Red Hot Flames" on the island of Antigua and sometimes in the US and has recorded a featuring with French artist Luc Leandry. Melinda has worked as a singer on Cruise ships, and has her own backing band for live performances (of which Dexter is the bassist and Carlos, a secondary and back-up vocalist) in the French territories where her solo career is exploding. Mel has travelled to Martinique, Guadeloupe, St.Martin, France, Réunion Island, and French Guyana to perform her hit single "Touch Me Remix", now more than 10 million YouTube views.
Each individual member, is influenced by different people and bands. In the words of the band leader Dexter “We have very different personal styles, however as a band, we are strongly influenced by many groups from our island who helped establish and promote our native music and when combined, magic happens.”
Facebook page is Ti Orkest.
Instagram, and Twitter: @Tiorkest
Here is the link to our music video for our latest release"Undercover Wine"
And two of our previously produced songs.
"Ou pas konnet"