Quiet Fire (1967-2021)

Quiet Fire
Quiet Fire

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Quiet Fire, a Reggae, Latin Jazz, R&B ensemble which emerged one of the premier groups in the U.S. Virgin Islands, was founded by teenagers attending Croix Central High and St. Joseph’s Catholic High Schools on St. Croix Island. They began as the Soul Busters in 1967. The original members were composer/ principal trumpeter Claude Louis Richards Jr (January 2, 1950), trumpeter Neal “Panta” Carrington (November 2, 1952), bass guitarist/ lead vocalist Devin Francis Carrington (March 13, 1954), piano/vocalist Daryl Anthony Richards Sr. (December 6, 1955), guitarist/ composer Ronald E. Russell (June 10, 1954), Ray “Haseen” Iles congas (March 19, 1951); Delroy “Deli” Iles, congas (September 4, 1948); Roy Delemos on the Alto Saxophone (November 30, 1950), Renholdt “Rookie” Jackson, Tenor Saxophone (September 13, 1949), Raymond “Hoofa” Richards, composer/ vocalist/ percussionist, trombonist Antoine L. Joseph (November 11, 1952), and percussionist/vocalist Robert Ernest Richards (April 14, 1954). They originally performed R&B and Caribbean covers principally.

In 1978, the Soul Busters changed their name to Quiet Fire and the following year recorded their debut studio album, Tropical Depression. The single with the same name is all that remains of the ensemble’s career. The work, released in San Juan, Puerto Rico by Ochoa Records, was selected as the “St. Croix Festival Road March Song,” and during the carnival season on St. Thomas in 1979.

In 1984 Quiet Fire’s music composition “Frederiksted” was selected from musical competitions at Island Center for the Performing Arts as the Road March song for the annual Three Kings Day celebration, better known as St. Croix’s Crucian Christmas Festival.

The Virgin Islands Government sponsored Quiet Fire to represent the territory at the Cartagena Festival Internacional de Música del Caribe, in Cartagena, Colombia, in 1984 and the following year, 1985.

In 2006, Quiet Fire was still performing and appeared at the 7th Annual Sunset Jazz Festival at Fort Frederick Beach Park hosted by the Frederiksted Economic Development Association Inc. in St. Croix, Virgin Islands.

While Quiet Fire’s history was primarily as a band, its original members singularly and collectively impacted the Virgin Islands’ cultural and political scene. Devin Francis Carrington and Ronald E. Russell are former senators in the V.I. Legislature. Daryl Anthony Richards is a retired school principal in the V.I; Renholdt “Rookie” Jackson is a retired V.I. police officer. Delroy “Deli” Iles retired as an Air Traffic Controller for Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.

Some members have moved to the United States. Antoine E. Joseph Jr. is a Professor of History at Bryant University, Rhode Island. Claude Louis Richards Jr. resides in Orlando, Florida. Roy Delemos lives in Nyack, New York. Neal “Panta” is the only original member of the group who is still entertaining. He performs as a freelance trumpeter in the Virgin Islands.