N Touch
Monday 19 November 2018
follow us
Editorial

A mighty shadow

Winston Bailey, the Mighty Shadow
Winston Bailey, the Mighty Shadow

HE PAID no heed to trends and fads and in the process forged his own distinctive sound. With his death, the Mighty Shadow leaves a tremendous void not only within soca music but within the local artistic landscape.

His was a sound that embraced big brass and intimate off-kilter melodies. His moniker belied an interest in the darker side of life, yet this was always tempered by lyrics that were as jejune as they were sardonic. Whatever our literary interpretation of his many imperatives, few would disagree with the assessment that he has left behind music that compellingly invites all to sit at the table of democracy.

“Old lady, young lady, everybody could dingolay,” Shadow declared. He was a force that understood how “music fills the world with happiness” and that even “in the dark a blind man can find a melody.” Yet it was not all jump and wave.

Before the genre of “social commentary” came to dominate Dimanche Gras, Shadow informed us that “poverty is hell.” At a time when it was not yet fashionable to do so, he used his pen to address pressing issues of the day, such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He was able to pull off the rare feat of being able to address weighty social issues in a medium that calls for lightness and exuberance.

In the year 1974, Shadow made history by winning the Road March with Bassman. His other song I Come Out To Play also placed second that year, making him one of the few Road March winners to have beaten himself to the title. He then won the title again in 2001 with Stranger, which also won him the International Soca Monarch title.

“Music have me in a trance,” declares the visiting reveller in that song. She is advised to “do your thing.” In 2000 Shadow also won the Calypso Monarch competition with What's Wrong With Me and Scratch Meh Back.

While Shadow received the Hummingbird Bird Medal (silver) in 2003, he deserved far better. His death comes just as his rightful due in terms of acclaim and recognition was beginning to accrue to his name. He was due to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies this weekend.

Maybe Shadow’s greatest reward, though, will be his indelible impact on our collective consciousness. Few can forget his unique and understated style of delivery. His movements on stage drew attention to his lyrics and their message that all bodies could be a part of the dance.

No doubt in the coming days many, including the current crop of young soca stars, will pay tribute to Shadow. He leaves behind a body of work that is of immense cultural and social significance and which, in many ways, anticipated the dizzying heights of our music today.

Today's Most Popular
Comments

Reply to "A mighty shadow"

Editorial

TSTT's big cut

On Thursday evening, TSTT announced that it would be retrenching 503 workers, including Clyde Elder,…

Dressed to impress

THE CARIBBEAN Court of Justice (CCJ)’s ruling in favour of four transgender women is the…

Worrying figures

THERE ARE about three reports of crime against children per day, according to fresh statistics…

The real horrifying thing

IMAGINE the scene along the Beetham Highway during ordinary rush-hour traffic on a busy Tuesday…

Detecting lies

THE REPORT that several police officers have blanked a lie detector test mandated by Police…

Road risks

THE SLIPSTREAM Cycling Club did all that was humanly possible to minimise risk on the…