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This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Dick Smith


DICK SMITH (percussionist, drummer, composer) was born and raised in a remote region of Jamaica, where his earliest musical influence was the powerful, sensuous drumming and hypnotic chanting practiced by boyhood friends who were the descendants of Africans who had come to the island centuries before.

Coming to Canada, he originally worked with internationally known artists in the fields of theatre, television, and recording, quickly earning a reputation as an outstanding hand percussionist. In 1967, Canada's Centennial Year, Smith was part of the founding group for "Caribana", North America's first and largest Carnival celebrating Caribbean culture.

He formed his signature “Syncona” Band in 1972, employing Caribbean musicians talented at expressing the rhythms and melodies of the West Indies in little-known calypso-derived music forms such as 'spouge', 'cadence', and 'zouk', as well as reggae and salsa. He has since introduced Syncona's unique blend of world music to colleges, schools, and concert halls where he has played to sold out audiences across Canada.

Smith continues to expand upon a lengthy list of credentials composing and performing for film, radio, and television, including hit shows ‘Sesame Street’, ‘The Muppet Show’, and ‘Beetlejuice’


1987 - inducted into the Black Music Association's Hall of Fame for his contributions to Caribbean culture in Canada