Tony McKay

Photo of Tony McKay by Nicolas Popov

Musician, Artist, Bahamian Folk Legend

Macfarlane Gregory Anthony Mackey was a Bahamian musician, author, playwright, and artist. 

Known professionally as Tony McKay and Exuma, Mr. Mackey was loved for his distinct musical blend of folk, carnival, junkanoo, calypso, reggae, and African music. 

Born in Tea By, Cat Island, Mr. Mackey grew up in a small house on Canaan Lane and caught and sold fish in order to purchase movie tickets to watch American blues legends like Sam Cooke and Fats Domino. 

In 1959, he moved to New York City to study architecture. However, feeling homesick, Mr. Mackey began practising old Bahamian calypsos on a borrowed guitar. He would subsequently perform at venues in New York’s Greenwich Village alongside well-known musicians and comedians such as Bob Dylan, Richard Pryor, and Jimi Hendrix. 

Mr. Mackey launched the group Exuma in 1969 with his then-partner and lifelong friend Sally O’Brien. The group either played or toured with notable acts like Patti LaBelle, Curtis Mayfield, Sly & the Family Stone, and Steppenwolf, amongst others. 

Mr. Mackey was married to Inita Watkins and fathered many children, including Shaw, Gavin, Kenyatta Alisha, and Acklins. 

He is popularly referred to as “The Obeah Man”