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Ice Records

[March 2003]

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Caribbean, today and henceforth, there will be many words spoken in recall of the man fondly known as the Grandmaster of Calypso. It has been for me an education in dealing with one so brilliant, one so unassuming, correct and yet so non-judgmental as this man who our region should mourn in perpetuity. His greatness as a musician par excellence is well known by those of us who love Classic Calypso Music the world over, and in particular the music of the Steelband, for which it seems that his writing skills were particularly well geared.

I know from our many conversations that he was a very deep thinker on most matters but actually spoke very little of those things publicly, choosing to let others who were more flambouyant take centre stage for their various pronouncements and posturing. Aldwyn Roberts the Lord Kitchener, was, outside of his stage appearances and his songwriting, a rather private person. I can remember one day I needed to speak to him quite urgently on some matter and I suddenly realised that I wasn’t in possession of his home phone number and had to phone Mr. Lennox Straker one of his inner circle to contact the Grandmaster asking him to call me, which he did, and upon realising how restraining the practice was, I’m sure, decided to grant me the privilege of possessing this prized phone number.

I shall never forget his loyalty to me when the ownership of my companies was being wrongfully challenged by foreign interests and the two profound words his mouth issued, when I telephoned him to tell him that the matter was at an end in my favour; the words were "THANK GOD BOY".

The last time we met was at the Ringbang Celebration in Tobago on Year’s Eve 1999, where after years of me dancing to his many great Road Marches and other great songs the Grandmaster bestowed upon me the greatest possible endorsement….he got up from his seat and danced to ‘Hello Africa’.

God bless you Grandmaster you have distinguished yourself among men and among the greatest creators of music the world has ever produced. I can only imagine the pain being felt by your loved ones and to them I pass on the sincerest condolences of my family and myself. I cannot liken you Grandmaster to any other, as you have come to represent a musical instrument the likes of which seems not to have existed before you started to write exclusively for it.

Grandmaster, the Steelband will miss you, Classic Calypso Music will miss you, I will miss you, the Caribbean will miss you and the world will never see the likes of you again.

Bye Bye Grandmaster!

Eddy Grant
President
Ice Records Ltd./Ice Music Ltd


 

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