From the beginning, the songwriting ability of Dave Martins would set Tradewinds apart from the many of the talented groups in the Caribbean. A naturally gifted writer, able to achieve the difficult task of writing in many forms (calypso, ballad, folk, pop), Dave Martins has caught the flavour of life in the Southern Caribbean in a unique way. “I’ve always been interested in the background story — how something works, why a society behaves in a certain way — and that state of mind is there in many of my songs,” says Dave. “Also, despite our problems, we are fantastic people in the Caribbean, and I’m always looking to reflect that. I think that is one of the less obvious but main reasons for the effect of our songs on Caribbean people–the love and the admiration may not be spelled out, but it’s there; they can sense it”.
Winner of the 1970 CBC-TV “Cross Canada Song Competition” (from over 1,800 entrants) and awarded the prestigious Golden Arrow of Achievement award by Guyana in 1977, Martins feels his migration to North America played an important role in his development as and artist. “It’s true of many Caribbean creators that we have to leave the region to really see it. It was certainly true of me,” he said.

“Moving to Canada gave me an appreciation for Caribbean life that I would not otherwise have had, and as a writer that awareness leaves me able to find song subjects that someone else might overlook. ‘Copycat’, for example, ‘West Indian Suitcase’, ‘Where Are Your Heroes’, ‘It’s Traditional’ — those songs could only come from someone who has lived in both cultures. On the other hand, Creations such as ‘You Can’t Get’, ‘Play De Ting’, ‘Not A Blade of Grass’, ‘Mr.Rooster’, etc., are rooted in the Guyana/Caribbean experience”. As a writer, Martins has to his credit a Caribbean musical, “Raise Up-Is We”, commissioned by Guyana for the 1988 celebration of full emancipation and staged by Ron Robinson in the Caribbean and the U.S.A.

He also writes an annual comedy revue on the Cayman Islands that plays to full houses in that country’s Harquail Theatre. What’s left to do? “There is a fantastic musical in the story of the Caribbean migration to North America from the 1950′s on. I want to write that, if God gives me the time,” said Dave.

Today, with Dave Martins relocated to his native Guyana, but the band members resident in Cayman, the five Tradewinds guys still get together on the road, playing selected engagements during the year in the Caribbean and North America. “It’s now 48 years since we broke out with Honeymooning Couple,” said Dave, “but Caribbean people are all over the map, and they continue calling us to come and play. I guess as long as your people keep calling you, you have to show up, eh?”