Mr. Tyrone O’Flaherty better known in the calypso circles as Bahowlah the Meek and more recently as Sack Cloth and Ashes was born in New Castle Village, St. James’ Parish Nevis on November 16th 1952.
From an early age Tyrone developed a passion for drama and poetry and while still a student at the Charlestown Secondary School, wrote a short skit that was dramatized on the school stage. He joined the Nevis Dramatic and Cultural Society (NEDACS) in 1973 and the following year acted in the first Culturama dramatic presentation entitled “The Tout” playing the part of Old Mulley. Tyrone would become a regular actor for NEDACS and one of their leading stage personalities.
He published several poems in the early Culturama booklets, using the African inspired nom de plume Kisumi Chikulu.
Tyrone recalls that when he was about 12 years old he developed a liking for the calypso art form and remembers writing out the lyrics of the more popular songs in an effort to memorize them. He was inspired by the likes of the Mighty Sparrow and the late Lord Melody and made his first appearance on stage as a calypsonian while still in fourth Form. Singing under the name Lord Magnus, Tyrone’s efforts were part of a school concert that sought to raise funds to send a cricket team to St. Kitts.
Tyrone entered the first ever Culturama Calypso Competition as Bahowlah the Meek in 1974 and placed first runner up. He was also first runner up in 1975 and 1977 and was twice crowned Culturama Calypso King in 1976 and 1978. In 1978 he was credited for his invention of the Cadre beat, the only modern indigenous Nevisian beat which pulsated throughout his hit song ‘Culturama Fever’. Some of his other hit tunes include ‘Cultural Extinction’, ‘Cadre Take Over Now’ and ‘Party Ting’. Tyrone composed and performed the Culturama 2002 promotional jingle, which still remains one of the top jingles to have been produced for Culturama. An accomplished guitarist he would first pick up his guitar and create a melody to which he would later fit the lyrics of a calypso. He has penned many calypsos for Nevisian calypsonians and is presently working on a compact disc recording which will have a rich blend of cadre, soca and witty calypsos.
BTM, as he is now fondly known, has been an outstanding MC thrilling audiences with his carefully crafted witty rhymes and riddles at the popular Culturama shows.
Tyrone received his early education at the Combermere Primary School, then the Charlestown Secondary School and later at the Basseterre Senior High School. After leaving school Tyrone took up a career in teaching at the Basseterre Senior High School for a short period before being transferred to the Charlestown Secondary School where he taught French and Spanish until 1972 when he left for Barbados to pursue studies at the Universality of the West Indies where he successfully read for a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Spanish.
He returned to Nevis in 1975 and resumed his post at the Charlestown Secondary School but migrated to Montserrat in 1976 to continue his teaching career at the Montserrat Secondary School.
In 1980 he returned to the Federation and worked at Caribbean Shoe Manufactures St. Kitts and later at Tropical Shipping as Island Manager for St. Kitts and Nevis. In 1997 Tyrone returned to Nevis and was employed as Manager at the Nevis Housing and Land Development Corporation. In 1998 he was transferred to the Ministry of Communications and Works as Permanent Secretary and worked in that position until 2000. From 2000 to 2006, he served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture as well as Chairman of the Nevis Culturama Committee.
Let us salute Mr. Tyrone O’Flaherty, aka Bahowlah the Meek, Sack Cloth and Ashes, Oghorm, Esteemed Patron of Culturama 40!