President pays tribute to Shadow

Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 07:45

Pres­i­dent Paula-Mae Weekes has paid trib­ute to Win­ston “Mighty Shad­ow” Bai­ley, who died at hos­pi­tal on Tues­day morn­ing.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, Weekes said while the word is of­ten overused and in­cor­rect­ly used, Shad­ow, 77, who died at the Er­ic Williams Med­ical Sci­ences Com­plex af­ter ail­ing for some time, was in­deed wor­thy of the ti­tle icon. She of­fered con­do­lences to Shad­ow’s fam­i­ly and friends on his pass­ing.

Weekes al­so con­grat­u­lat­ed the Trin­ba­go Uni­fied Ca­lyp­son­ian’s Or­gan­i­sa­tion on cel­e­brat­ing its 25th an­niver­sary.

Fol­low­ing is the Pres­i­dent’s en­tire state­ment:

"It would have been dif­fi­cult to con­tem­plate cel­e­brat­ing Ca­lyp­so His­to­ry Month had we known that in Oc­to­ber 2018 we would have lost our beloved Shad­ow. The word icon is over, and of­ten in­cor­rect­ly, used and I would nor­mal­ly es­chew its use, but it is most ap­pro­pri­ate in ref­er­ence to Win­ston Bai­ley, Shad­ow. He was a ca­lyp­son­ian right­ly re­gard­ed as a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the art form, com­pos­ing and ren­der­ing his unique per­spec­tive on Trin­bag­on­ian life and he is wor­thy of our re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion.How­ev­er, Shad­ow was con­sid­er­ate enough to de­lay his pass­ing un­til the last week of cel­e­bra­tion. There­fore let us in­fuse the cel­e­bra­tions with rem­i­nisc­ing even while con­tem­plat­ing the fu­ture of the art form. Kaiso is a cor­ner­stone of Caribbean iden­ti­ty. It is quite fit­ting that Trinidad and To­ba­go, the birth­place of ca­lyp­so, should have a month-long cel­e­bra­tion in its ho­n­our.

From the call and re­sponse of the chantuelles to the present-day com­men­taries our his­to­ry has been re­layed through var­i­ous melodies and lyrics, both sub­tly and sans hu­man­ité with its bru­tal lin­guis­tics. The ca­lyp­son­ian has al­ways been so­ci­ety’s mir­ror.

As a com­pelling medi­um of dis­course and de­bate, no top­ic is off-lim­its. Of­fer­ings have chron­i­cled po­lit­i­cal sagas, so­cial dis­con­tent, amorous es­capades and mat­ters spo­ken about in whis­pers, even while en­ter­tain­ing mil­lions around the world.

Ca­lyp­soes pro­duced in any giv­en year pro­vide a clear pic­ture of the pre­vail­ing mood and so­cio-eco­nom­ic con­cerns of the coun­try. Turn back the hands of time and you can get a snap­shot of what was hap­pen­ing and who was do­ing or say­ing what in the coun­try at the par­tic­u­lar time.

Fun­ny’s Farmer Brown’s Jack­ass, David Rud­der’s This is Not a Fete in Here, This is Mad­ness, Shad­ow’s I Come Out to Play, Stal­in’s No Woman No, Duke’s Freak­ing Streak­ing and Zan­dolee’s Too Much Man Fam­i­ly are among my per­son­al favourites, per­haps giv­ing away my vin­tage, but each evoca­tive word and note is in­deli­bly etched in my mem­o­ry.

I am pleased to con­grat­u­late TU­CO on twen­ty-five years of ex­em­plary ser­vice to our na­tion. It has been in­stru­men­tal in the pro­mo­tion of our in­dige­nous fare and in se­cur­ing the well-be­ing of our ca­lyp­so bards. From its for­ma­tion in 1993 to present, the or­gan­i­sa­tion has been sin­gu­lar in its ef­forts to pre­serve this pil­lar of our cul­ture. The an­nu­al cel­e­bra­tion of Ca­lyp­so His­to­ry Month is just one out­come of TU­CO’s hard work in en­sur­ing that the sig­nif­i­cance of ca­lyp­so to our na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty is re­mem­bered, un­der­stood and ap­pre­ci­at­ed.

Let us there­fore pay trib­ute to our unique her­itage. As we cel­e­brate Ca­lyp­so His­to­ry Month, and as TU­CO marks its 25th an­niver­sary, I salute the voic­es and leg­ends that have de­liv­ered our sto­ries in this most pre­cious art form, and I trust that every cit­i­zen took the op­por­tu­ni­ty to par­tic­i­pate in the var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties that marked this cel­e­bra­to­ry month.

I salute every ca­lyp­son­ian."