How things have changed. When Babe Ruth and the Yankees travelled by train, the newspaper writers knew the score. Babe wasn’t exactly a saint. But the writers protected his image.
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Republic tribute to Shadow
Through the ages, our calypsonians have told the stories of our lives. From colonialism, slavery, emancipation, and indentureship to Independence, we have heard every possible, conceivable topic and song tracing the lines of our heritage to the roots of our very being.
Despite this, says the organisation Friends of the Youth of T&T (FYOTT), it is only when these artistes become ill or pass on that their worth is remembered “with glowing tributes by radio stations that find every song from their repertoires to play. We need not look too far for such examples. Names such as Black Stalin (unable to perform), and deceased bards King Austin, Allan Welch, Brigo, and others come to mind.”
The organisation, therefore, embarked on the Remembering the Legends/Tribute to the Icons initiative in 2016 in order to pay tribute to the veteran calypso contributors, and honoured Black Stalin that year.
In its continuing efforts to assist these pioneers of our nation’s history and culture, its will be staging for 2017 The Man, The Message, The Mood, The Music, recognition concerts for former National Calypso Monarch, Soca Monarch, and Road March champion Shadow (Winston Mc Garland Bailey).
This event takes the form of two concerts – one in Tobago and the other in Trinidad - at which many of the nation’s top artistes, from across various musical genres, would perform for patrons a list of Shadow’s numerous classics, with a performance by the Bassman himself.
The date for the first concert, which would be held at the Shaw Park Complex in Tobago, is Friday, September 22, and the second will take place at the CLR James Auditorium, Cipriani Labour College, Valsayn on Saturday September 23.
Chairman of FYOTT Hugh Grant said: “As we celebrate Republic Day over the course of this long weekend, culture lovers from across the country would have the opportunity to celebrate with, and say ‘Thank You’ to their son of the soil, while enjoying the music that has moved, educated, informed, and inspired us through the years.
“Last year it was decided by this group to begin honouring our icons in an attempt to preserve their music, lives, and legacies. The first project of its kind we embarked on was A Diamond At 75 at which the life, music, and birthday of Dr Leroy Calliste (Black Stalin) was celebrated on September 24 at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA). With most of our veteran entertainers advancing in age, it is imperative that we celebrate and honour them while they are still alive and among us.”
Main feature of the event is to honour Shadow by presenting him with a cheque in the sum of $75,000 for his cultural contribution to the nation, just as was done at Stalin’s tribute concert.
Some of the artistes appearing at the event include, from Tobago, Shurwayne Winchester, Oscar B, Johnny King, Ainsley King, Leslie-Ann Ellis, Tobago Chalkie, Prince Unique, Dillon Thomas, Axe Back, and others. Artistes from Trinidad include Ajala, Gypsy, Chuck Gordon, Kurt Allen, Rikki Jai, Mistah Shak, Brian London, Singing Sonia, Count Robin, Mr Famous, and more.
Mistah Shak, one of south Trinidad’s best loved calypsonians is delighted to be chosen to be on the cast of one of The Man, The Message, The Mood, The Music.
This week he said: “It is a privilege for me to be on the cast of this tribute; to be in a position to homnour Shadow in any way. Shadow has always been one of my biggest inspirations and not from just a musical perspective. But, also because he has always been one of the most endearing artistes we have produced not to mention one who has won the support of the masses. Unfortunately he is one of the most underrated and ill treated artistes by the kaiso authorities.”
Shak added: “Shadow is one of the calypsonians who has always dealt with the dark side of the world, facing it head on and coming out at the other end triumphant. Rightfully he is the person who would be best suited to give me advice on how to deal with these type of challenges. The song I did this year, Twight Zone, was purposely done with that Shadow feel, because of the storyline of me trying to navigate and find a way through the strangeness of the world, and Trinidad. That should tell people of the amount of respect I have for Shadow in the world of calypso and music.”
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