"The Parkays" was the name of the group that Obie Pindling and other childhood friends started at the age of twelve while he was a student at The Government High School. And yes, the name Pindling does indicate that he is the son of one of the greatest Bahamians of all time, the first Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling.
The Pindling family had made their home at the time in the Regency Park / Soldier Road area. With a passion for music, he continued to pursue his interest in that area. The next musical stepping stone was the band "Misty Blue" which was formed around 1973. They participated in inter-school music festivals and won for the three years that Obie played in the band before graduating.
In 1975, Obie went on to continue his studies in Canada after which he moved on to England to pursue a degree in Law. Obie completed his law studies in 1981 but could not stay away from music. It was then that he formed the band Visage in August of that year.
In the early seventies, Obie recalls Ray Munnings and his brothers of the group "The Beginning Of The End" coming to see the Prime Minister after completing their song "Funky Nassau". "He called me, he said, son, what you think about this?" (Pindling, 2004). Obie thought it was a smash Bahamian hit, but was pleasantly surprised that "Funky Nassau" would become an international hit.
Indeed, Obie attributes his love of music to his father. The late Sir L.O. Pindling came from a very musical family and would play the piano at many recitals in Savannah Sound on the island of Eleuthera as a child. "My father had an uncle, Uncle Luther. We called him the Acklins Joseph Spence, he was masterful on the guitar." (Pindling, 2004) Obie also discovered that T. Coakley's mother and his grandmother were two sisters. Maybe this love for music has something to do with genetics, he quipped.
"The first time I ever went to junkanoo, he took me on his shoulders. The first time I went to carnival in Trinidad, he took me. My dad loved music, he basically introduced me to the world of good music" (Pindling, 2004).
Click play to hear Obie talk about his dad, Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling,
first Prime Minister of The Bahamas -
Obie grew up in the seventies, an era when artists like Earth, Wind, & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles were dynamic acts. The local groups of that era were also extremely talented. The band that stood out according to Obie was "Biosis Now", which included the Richardson brothers. They were like the Earth, Wind, & Fire of the Bahamas, and just simply awesome, Obie exclaims. Another influential artist was Gary Davis of Bimini who at the time was signed to the same label as "The Beginning Of The End" and recorded "Going Down To Raysha" and "Funk Machine".
T-Connection, Leon Taylor & The Roosters, Ronnie Butler, Ezra & The Polkadots, Sweet Exorcist, and one that this author is hearing about for the first time; Lorne Smith & The Jet Streamers were all part of the extensive collection of Bahamian records that could be found in the Pindlings’ home. As Prime Minister of the country, his father was presented with the records of many Bahamian artists, and Obie benefited from these many gifts of music.
Obie has set a course for Visage that is very focused. His love for the music of this region has pointed him to promoting Visage within the region. When most bands are going to the United States and European market, Obie is of the opinion that success for our music lies right here in the region. Actively participating in Trinidad carnival, Obie sees this as a way in for the band. The exposure gained from their performance at Carnival in 2004 has been the band's greatest achievement thus far. Visage truly made a great impression at this festival.
Click play to hear Obie talk about participation in Trinidad Carnival -
Locally, Visage has developed a great reputation as being the premier party band, providing boundless energy and music at private parties, in concerts, at varied private venues at the luxurious Atlantis resort, and regularly at Club 601 on Bay Street. Visage can boast of being one of the few bands with a brass section as opposed to synthesized brass sounds. Although they've adopted soca music as their style, their strategy has been to fuse it with some of our local rhythms, and they have produced quite a number of catchy original recordings doing just that.
Click play to hear Obie talk about fusion of junkanoo and soca rhythms -
Obie continues to practice law in the Bahamas, but his love for music and his band shines through in Visage’s steady development over the years.
The members of Visage are – Obie Pindling (keyboards, vocals), Drexel Munroe (keyboards), Shawn Ferguson (vocals, keyboards), Colyn McDonald (vocals, keyboards), Ian Young (bass), Erica Symonette (vocals), Sonovia Pierre (lead vocals), Ricardo Jolly (guitar, vocals), Carlos Dean (drums), Jason Ferguson (trumpet), and David Bain (Trombone).