(Music) Fire in the Hole!

Macfarlane Gregory Anthony Mackey, who recorded as Exuma (1942 –1997), was a Bahamian musician, known for his almost unclassifiable music: a strong mixture of carnival, junkanoo, calypso and ballad. In his early days in New York’s Greenwich Village, Tony McKay (his self-given name) performed in small clubs and bars. Later, along with his then-partner and lifelong friend, Sally O’Brien, and several musician friends, he launched EXUMA – a seven-person group that toured and recorded albums, starting with Exuma: The Obeah Man in 1970 and ending with Rude Boy in 1986. His songs invoke influences from calypso, junkanoo, reggae, African music and folk music with his lyrics dealing heavily with Obeah. His backing band known only as the Junk Band.

Over the years Exuma played and/or toured with Patti LaBelle, Curtis Mayfield, Rita Marley, Peter Tosh, Toots & the Maytals, Sly and the Family Stone, Steppenwolf, Black Flag and the Neville Brothers. Exuma was even recognised by Queen Elizabeth II in 1978 when she awarded him the British Empire Medal for his contributions to Bahamian culture.

In the late 1980s, Exuma suffered a mild heart attack, and thus devoted much more of his time to painting, his other great talent. His paintings have been exhibited several times and collected by many art lovers. Never abandoning his music however, he still wrote and performed his original music. He continued to perform at the New Orleans Jazz Festival until 1991. The last years of his life saw him splitting his time between Miami, Florida and Nassau, in a house that his mother had left him. He died in his sleep in 1997. [Wikipedia]