‘Power’ laid to rest
By Cecily Asson Friday, August 17 2012
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Mighty Power performing at last year's Veterans' Calypso competition, singing 'Island in the Sun.' ...
Within minutes of the funeral service starting yesterday for veteran calypsonian, Mighty Power (Sonny Francois) the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Gasparillo was transformed into a calypso tent.
Led by Community Development Minister, Winston “Gypsy” Peters, and Mighty Composer, several calypsonians among them Chalkdust, Allrounder, Ellsworth James and Sugar Aloes took over the altar as they delivered their eulogy to their colleague, in song.
To the accompaniment of a drum, the calypso bards had mourners singing along to a medley of Power’s best known calypsos, including his hits like “Culture” “Ah Coming” and “Keep He Dey,” and “Lucy”. Power was a member of the Gasparillo church.
Power, 78, of Caratal, Claxton Bay, died last week Thursday at the San Fernando General Hospital. He had been undergoing tests for cancer, relatives said.
But it was Parish Priest Fr Steve Duncan who stunned the congregation with his wide knowledge of calypso, calypsonians and controversial issues within the fraternity when he delivered his homily.
He told mourners Power was a regular member of his congregation, and among his favourite Power calypsos were “Tun Tun” and “Culture”.
Duncan explained, “That was my era when he composed that tune I would have grown up listening to that tune never quite understanding it.”
It was in his later years, Duncan said, he understood the double entendre and warned that “be careful little mind what you think.”
Duncan said that the calypso fraternity was suffering too much hurt and anger in the calypso and called on them to get rid of all acrimony. He continued, “As a people we must get rid of the acrimony, get rid of the bitterness, the envy and the anger that so characterise our dealing with one another.”
While Power never “said it to me clearly” he was a hurt man, Duncan stated.
“On occasions when he came to check me, he would say father pray for me, it occurred to me that Power might have been struggling with some kind of issue in his life, where perhaps he needed God’s grace to take him.” He continued, “On many occasions, he (Power) would ask me to put my hand on his head and say “father pray for me.”
Duncan said he never did that before, for any calypsonian.
He said calypsonians must be able to forgive one another, and caused quite a stir when he spoke of what he said was “koochoor” and “comess and kang kang” involving Sugar Aloes, and Cro Cro, Lynette Steele, and her brother, Gypsy, the judging system among issues plaguing calypsonians that is often played out in public.
He said as a citizen, he is often forced to listen. “I rate the calypsonian as a mouth piece for the people, “Duncan went on to say.
“The calypsonian, who to my mind forms part of that oral tradition, helps to bring a certain kind of awareness to people in the different genres within the art form, so that when we hear that message communicated differently in the oral tradition, we sit up and take note.”
He further issued a call for peace, and for calypsonians not to “exact vengeance.”