The Mighty Composer (Fred Mitchell) was given an intimate traditional African funeral attended by close family, friends and a few former politicians on Monday.
Dressed in African garbs and referred to by his African name — Awise Olu Sino Amono Ifayomi — the late calypsonian was remembered as a man of wisdom who desperately wanted to uplift his Afro-Trinidadian brothers and sisters by getting them out of the social conditioning of slavery.
During his eulogy, his adopted daughter Fayola Layne said Mitchell, whom she fondly called Baba, prepared her for a life of a good character. Recalling his last words, Layne said Mitchell was a pivotal figure in the Orisha family and was a founder of the Orisha Council of T&T.
"He always said, 'We African people were born to win but we have been programmed to lose. We must identify this programming and deal with it accordingly,' " Layne recalled.
She said Mitchell was a father to many and nine years before his death, he pioneered a vigil before Emancipation because he firmly believed that people were not sleeping the night before slavery finally ended on August 1, 1838.
Layne also said Mitchell saw himself as a work in progress and in the years before his death he became a more humble human being who always wore white, lived a simple life and encouraged people to live a life with good character.
Layne said her Baba adopted her when she was seven-months-old and always told her she was different. She said Mitchell schooled her in African studies saying the mainstream education system lacked important aspects of T&T's history.
"He told me wise people speak when they have something to say and foolish people speak just to say something. He taught me to always expect the unexpected," she recalled.
Former Culture Minister Winston "Gypsy" Peters also paid tribute to Mitchell saying he was the one who encouraged him to enter the calypso fraternity.
"If I was an organisation, I would say the Mighty Composer created me," Peters said to loud applause. He said he was still reeling from the death of Lord Superior when he got news that another of his mentor Composer had died. Peters said Mitchell always called him 'Little Gypsy' noting that he taught him everything he knew about calypso.
"He has done a lot for a lot of people. We are eulogising a man who did so much for others. I am extremely happy that I had the Composer in my life. I have no regrets," Peters said. He added that Mitchell uplifted the African community.
"You caused black people to look into themselves and see that black people are people. I am proud of ourselves and the person who caused that today is Composer. We share the same ideology, religious beliefs, calypso background and I am very proud of you," Peters said.
Another calypsonian James 'Durango' Samuel said he enjoyed having conversations with Mitchell in patois.
Akinde Rudder, another friend said she recorded conversations with Mitchell before his death. She added that Mitchell had an undying love for his family but always lamented the lack of respect shown to older calypsonians. She said a foundation will be opened in Composer's name next year so that his legacy of uplifting the African brotherhood will live on.
Reporter: Radhica De Silva