“I wish he was here to see how much people loved him,” said Sharlan Bailey, as he delivered the eulogy for his father Dr Winston “Mighty Shadow” Bailey, in front of a mass of white-clad well-wishers at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
“I don’t think he ever understand how much people loved him,” he added.
But while the love for the Bassman was evident following his death last week, former President Anthony Carmona bemoaned the lack of appreciation for Shadow’s music in his own country.
“Why cannot we be honest about ourselves, why can’t we say Shadow you were wronged by the judges, wronged by those who never appreciated the artiste in you or the inspirational content in your music? Wronged by those who gave you a Hummingbird Silver when you are worthy of an ORTT,” said Carmona, who called for the two-time Road March winner to be given the country’s highest honour.
He added, “The National Awards Committee and the Honourable Prime Minister (should) correct this anomaly, remembering that with regards to national awards the president here, once President, was at the end of the food chain.”
Bailey was awarded the Hummingbird Medal Silver in 2003. Despite breaking Aldwyn “Lord Kitchener” Roberts and Slinger “Mighty Sparrow” Francisco’s stranglehold on the Road March in 1974 with Bassman, Bailey would wait 26 more years before winning a significant Carnival title, the Calypso Monarch in 2000 singing the aptly named ‘What’s Wrong With Me?’ and ‘Scratch Meh Back.’ He would then become the oldest Road March and Soca Monarch winner a year later with ‘Stranger’.
Last Saturday, just days after his father’s passing, Sharlan received an honourary doctorate from the University of the West Indies for his father’s contribution to culture and the arts—an honour many said was too long in coming.
Yesterday, Carmona said Bailey’s aim was always to transform the country.
“He never shortchanged the nation with half-baked messages. He spoke his mind with songs of lyrical content and substance. The ultimate aim of Shadow was to make each of us a country of transformative change and become panels of peace and love that have no boundaries,” Carmona said.
Earlier, Shadow’s longtime friend Opoku Ware also made a request of the Tobago House of Assembly that it rename the Shaw Park Regional Complex in his honour.
“Do not name a room in it after Winston Bailey. The whole complex must be named after him because nobody in artistry has projected Tobago on the international scene as him,” said Ware, who said Shadow’s basslines indirectly influenced the rise of soca music.
His son, however, reminded the crowd that despite his passing, his father’s focus throughout much of his life lived on.
“That man can’t dead. That man immortalised in alyuh minds dred. Up to today, anything different is a Shadow vibes. Any bassline that bumps a different way is a Shadow vibes,” said Bailey, who described his father as an agent of change.
“If you change the man career, this man would have existed for change. He never fight the work because he was never about the work because I say today he was about the music,” said Bailey.
TUCO president Brother Resistance also heaped praise on the Shadow, stating he never made requests of the organisation but was always willing to give for Calypso’s cause. Bailey was cremated in a private ceremony involving family and close friends hours after yesterday’s service.
- by Perter Christopher. Photo by Abraham Diaz.