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."