Just three days after the calypso fraternity said farewell to the Mighty Shadow, De Original De Fosto Himself (Winston Scarborough) died of a suspected heart attack yesterday morning.
De Fosto, who suffered from heart problems, was discovered at his Morvant residence by his son Gabriel, who also resides with him.
Yesterday, in shock and too distraught to say much, Gabriel said: “I was daddy’s boy. I lived with him in Morvant and this thing is a real shock as daddy hasn’t been sick. Last night (Thursday), he complained of not feeling well and this morning I already had on my work clothes when he died. I still have on my clothes for work.
“Daddy and I were very close, like how a father and son are supposed to be. He used to ask me my opinion on the calypsoes he would compose. This Friday really isn’t going good for me.”
De Fosto, 64, also had an older son, Marvin, who resides in New York.
National Carnival Commission (NCC) Winston “Gypsy” Peters was one of the first cultural officials to express sadness at De Fosto’s passing.
“I am in shock; utter shock. I haven’t even gotten over Shadow as yet, and now Winston gone too,” Peters said.
“I spoke to Winston up to last night (Thursday), for more than an hour. He told me that he was feeling good. I asked him to write some music for me. He told me he would do so next week as he was going by Ibo Joseph this morning (yesterday). So you could imagine the shock that I was in this morning when they told me they found De Fosto dead in bed.”
He added: “De Fosto and I had a very close relationship and we have been friends for years, although he sang a couple songs making picong of me. But that is how calypso is supposed to be. In fact, I was the one who gave him money for some of his medical bills.
“The fraternity is that much poorer again. We used to joke about the name Winston being the most popular name in the fraternity and we have now lost two in quick succession. I am thinking of changing my name to James.”
De Fosto has been one of the headline acts at Tuco’s Kaiso Karavan calypso tent at La Joya, St Joseph, for the past several years. The tent’s office administrator, Curtis “Dirty Curty” Conyette, who is also the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation’s East Zone treasurer, said: “De Fosto was one of the stalwarts in our tent, having joined us many years ago, with people like Singing Francine and Johnny King.
“De Fosto was one of a kind and maybe because he was a product of the orphanage, was a kind human being. He was willing to help any calypsonian and I have seen him compose a calypso for another calypsonian who eventually beat him in a competition.
“De Fosto epitomised the ninja warrior that he was and really loved calypso and all calypsonians. When I first met him in 1993, because of his dance moves and spins, I used to call him ‘the Whirling Dervich.’”
Another Kaiso Karavan veteran, Johnny King, said: “De Fosto was one of the most prolific calypso writers there was. He was extremely patriotic in his compositions.
“He shared the view of Shadow that people didn’t treat calypsonians and the art form with respect or fairly. In the tent, De Fosto was always an amiable, laid-back and respectable artiste. Of late, I found that he was internalising the treatment he has received over the years by the public, the media and corporate Trinidad. He really took that to heart.”
He added, “When I got the news this morning of his passing it really rocked me hard. On Tuesday at Shadow’s funeral he was looking very good, so I figured he was on a rise from the things that had been worrying him for a long time.”
Gabriel said the family is still coming to terms with De Fosto’s sudden passing and funeral arrangements will be made and publicised shortly.