Today, we highlight two prolific icons in Barbadian gospel music, Joseph Niles – a legend in his lifetime – and Sister Magrita Marshall, affectionately called Barbados’ “Queen of Gospel”.
Their melodious music has significantly influenced many lives around the globe, transcending not just generations, but genres as well.
The late Joseph Niles invited Sister Marshall to perform with him at a concert, beginning a decade-long relationship with his group, Joseph Niles and The Consolers. The group created two successful albums until the group dissolved in the late 1970s. Joseph Niles, a veteran of over twenty-three recorded gospel albums and over three hundred recorded gospel songs, almost single-handedly pioneered the use of indigenous rhythms in local Barbadian gospel music.
Since 1970, the name Joseph Niles has become synonymous with Barbados and Caribbean Gospel music. He was the first Caribbean Gospel music minister to become a household name on the local, regional and international stages, known for his golden lyrics in an anointed mix of spouge and calypso Gospel music.
Having ministered for over four decades, he experienced a resurgence in support, especially among younger audiences, in the latter stages of his singing career.
Joseph Niles was inducted into the International Gospel Music Hall of Fame in Detroit, Michigan, in 2004. He passed away in 2015.
SISTER MAGRITA MARSHALL
Sister Magrita Marshall affectionately called Barbados’ ‘Queen of Gospel’ started in gospel music in 1959. From that time on, she could always be found singing, whether in the church; in the Fairchild Street Bus Terminal in Bridgetown, which she frequented; or during the many open-air church services she attended with her now-deceased husband, Frederick Marshall.
It was in 1972, after one of her many performances, that she met fellow gospel artist, the late Joseph Niles. He invited her to perform with him at a concert, beginning a decade-long relationship with him and his group, The Consolers.
After the group disbanded in the late 1970s, Sister Marshall started her own band, Sister Marshall and the Victory Voices. They travel extensively throughout the Caribbean, the United States, Canada, and other countries.
She firmly believes in following God’s path and doing what she feels is right. “Whatever God calls you to do, you must do, so I will continue to sing as long as I can and as long as God wants me to.”