“All night long yeah session irie; All de woman feelin wassi, time fe jump up time fe have some fun. Wine and have some fun down to de ground ground ground ground.”
This is a line from the first triumph amongst numerous triumphs in the life of Dennis “Pumpa” Liburd. Songs of inspiration, Caribbean culture and customs; trials, tribulations, triumphs and everyday life are songs that litter an extensive list of originally written and performed songs of this locally grown and internationally known artist. He first entered soca/calypso scene during the 2003-2004 Crucian Christmas Festival season. He captured the title of “Road March champion” that same year. This was the beginning of a bright and successful musical career.
Born on December 10th 1986, “Pumpa” originally hails from the island of St. Kitts. There, his mother (Ercille Clark) and seven of his siblings instilled in him, inspiration and advice that would form the foundation of his own mantra, that with hard work and determination, anything is possible. He grew up in the country side town of Cayon Village. There he attended Cayon Primary School until the third grade. At the age of nine he relocated to St Croix U.S.V.I where he then finished his elementary education at the “Lew Muckle Elementary School”.
It was while attending Lew Muckle Elementary School that he earned the nick name “Pumpa” due much in part to his athletic ability. By junior high school, “Pumpa” began to balance his affinity for music with his knack for sports. He led his junior high (Elena L. Christian) team to the middle school basketball championships and began making rhythmic beats on the drums and exploring various genres of music.
After graduating from junior high school, “Pumpa” matriculated to the Central High School where he excelled in soccer as well as basketball, capturing two championships and the Sunstroke M.V.P award. During his senior year, he traveled to Argentina to represent the Virgin Islands in the “Basketball Beyond Borders” NBA basketball camp. Although sports claimed a major part of his life at that time, he juggled good grades, playing sports and the early beginnings of his music career.
During his freshman and early sophomore years, he sang dancehall and even opened for the “Energy God, Elephant Man.” Although he enjoyed singing dancehall and was good at it, in an island community that is built on soca and calypso it was quite difficult to thrive in that genre of music. He crossed over to the soca side of things with a local band called “Rockin Vybez.” While playing with “Rockin Vybez” he realized that soca/calypso would be the arena in which he would flourish.
During the spring of 2003 the birth of a band that set the standard for Crucian soca music took the Virgin Islands region by storm. Angel “A.J.” Ventura, Alvin Burke, Ana “Nina Nyce” Nelson, Dennis “Pumpa” Liburd, Roland “Kurt” Horsford and Wanston formed the “Xtaushun Band.” Together, they used their musical genius to set the standard for others as each collaboration was unparalleled by no other! They considered their style “The Evolution of Soca Music.” They were fresh on the scene and they captured gold by winning their first roadmarch championship with “Energy” a song that was written by Dennis “Pumpa” Liburd and performed by the band.
While “Pumpa” used these formative years to usher him into local stardom, he also used them to experiment with new ideas and perfect his raw and natural talent for composing and performing excellent music. It wasn’t before long that he caught the attention of local musician, Alwyn “Daddy Jones” Baptiste Jr. Together they collaborated on a soca album entitled “Daddy Jones Presents” which grabbed the attention of the entire Caribbean. “Moko Jumbie,” a song that talked about Caribbean stilt dancers caught the attention of VP records. “Moko Jumbie” was later released on their “Soca Gold” compilation.
Following the release of the “Daddy Jones Presents”, “Pumpa” found it necessary to embark on a yet another chapter of his life. He graduated from the St. Croix Central High School and then ventured on to the Bryant Stratton College in Syracuse on a full athletic scholarship. He later transferred to Monroe College in New Rochelle, New York and studied Business Administration. While pursing his undergraduate degree, he continued to pursue his musical career and released his first solo album “Boom Bam Bye”.
“Boom Bam Bye” not only illustrated “Pumpa’s” range of musical genres but also shed light on social and political issues facing the Caribbean and communities around the world. He blended modern sounds of rock and roll with contemporary soca/calypso as well as a bit of eighties hip hop. This fusion proved his versatility and his gift for appealing to all sectors of our demographic. His goal was to use his music as a vehicle to inspire and motivate Caribbean youth. The album consisted of six songs; “Boom Bam Bye”, “Wine and go down”,” When Last” featuring Elvis White, “Kiss”, and “I am”. Each of these songs, unique in their own right appealed to a wide audience.
His passion for music and energetic performances has caught the attention of many local and international promoters, enabling him the opportunity to open for great soca/dancehall artists such as Machel Montano; Shurwayne Winchester, Sean Paul and many more. He has graced the stage of the Bayside Hut’s Soca’vivor show, Ram Jam United’s Soca Explosion and many more.
Best Ah Dem,” Pumpa’s second album, is a new take on Virgin Islands music, injecting influences from calypso, reggae, soca, pop, rock, and world beats. Once again, he demonstrated his versatility to redefine the Caribbean region’s music scene with tracks guaranteed to stay among the favorites of ALL music lovers. “Best Ah Dem” offers a beat and tempo for every mood—whether mellow, electric or something in between. It is indisputable that “Pumpa” used his second solo album to deliver once again, offering his fans–new and old–nothing but ENERGY!
As if that wasn’t enough, Pumpa went on to release his third hit solo album commanding you get lost in his lyrical genius. Already known for delivering exciting Soca performances and records, PUMPA did not disappoint his fans with his sensation “Driven By Music”. The album showcased his versatility and love for Caribbean music and offered a new take on Soca music as it is diverse–injecting influences from calypso, reggae, pop, rock, and world beats. The highly sought after soca/calypso artiste continues to redefine the Caribbean region’s music scene with tracks guaranteed to stay among the favorites of music lovers across the Americas, UK, Canada, and by extension—the globe.
With chart topping tracks like “Wifey Material”, “My Soldiers”, and “Drunk”, along with his most recent song for Carnival 2014; “Release The Beast” and other mega hits such as “Honk Yo Horn; which has won him the most prestigious title; USVI’s Soca Monarch King 2013 and “Massage”, PUMPA demonstrates why he is regarded as one of the most consistent Soca artists in the industry today.
Pumpa’s respect for the Soca masters/artists that paved the road for him is immense and is inspiration for his creative stamp on the industry. His determination is fueled by the success of his soca forefathers combined with his own personal motivation. His passion, today and forever will be to continue to make music that takes the entire Caribbean region to another level.