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Friday 21 June 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Composer – calypsonian and more

THE EDITOR: My sincere condolences to the family and fans of Baba Agba Olu Sino Amono, calypsonian Composer, who passed away on Wednesday at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex. For the record, he is one TT citizen who considered his birth name, Fred Mitchell, to be his “slave name.”

He has passed away leaving some unfinished work which would have crowned his achievements. He wanted to have a series that applauded the legacy of the older calypsonians. May we get the time and place to fulfil his dream.

He was born on June 8, 1935 and grew up in Icacos, from where he drew his inspiration. He leaves to mourn his wife, Cynthia Charles, children, Juliet Mitchell-Dumas, Kenlis Charles and Ricky Charles, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

His background was in music and together with his siblings Nodnal, Una, Majorie, Peter “Boyie” and Raymond formed the Singing Mitchells. That group sang chorus for Sparrow’s recording company, before Composer began a solo career as a calypsonian at Sparrow’s Original Young Brigade in 1964.

As a calypsonian he was highly respected within the fraternity. He was also a master of ceremonies extraordinaire, comedian, impresario, and tent manager. He was runner-up four times at the Calypso Monarch competition. So much so he was called “the uncrowned calypso king.” He also had the distinction of placing ahead of both Sparrow and Kitchener in the 1964 competition.

Composer’s well-known and loved compositions include True or Lie, Suzanne, Supposing, Worker’s Lament, Child Training, Black Fallacy and Legacy, the latter being the song that took him to second place in the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation’s (TUCO) Humorous Calypso Tent Monarch Competition in 2013.

He was one of the people who pioneered the Calypsonians’ Association, and was a founding member of TUCO, eventually becoming a president.

In 2003 at the 19th Annual Young Kings Competition he and Striker (Percy Oblington) were honoured by the National Action Cultural Committee (NACC). Six years UTT honoured him at the “Saving the Calypso Series.” He was second in the NACC’s Veterans Monarch Competition in 2014.

He was honoured twice this year for his contribution to calypso and the African community. On July 30 the Emancipation Support Committee (ESC) dedicated a concert, “Shikamoo – Ancestral Rhythms” at the Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village, in tribute to Composer. At the national awards he, Funny (Donric Williamson), Ella Andall and Relator (Willard Harris) received the Hummingbird Medal (Silver).

But calypso was only one facet of his national contribution. At Carnival, he kept the tradition of the Red Indian character alive, playing this mas yearly in south Trinidad, and he remained a reservoir of Warao speech. Apart from Warao, not only was he proficient in local parlance and patois, but he was also fairly versed in Yoruba, which he used at every opportunity and was always prepared to teach.

He lent his talents to help raise the consciousness of TT nationals, especially during National Joint Action Committee and ESC rallies celebrating African Liberation Day and Emancipation Day. He was also the founder of the Barataria Ball Players Sports and Cultural Club.

Along with Rudolph Eastman, the late Iyalorisa Molly Ahye and others, he spearheaded the movement towards the incorporation of the Orisa (Sango) Belief System by an act of Parliament, which laid the groundwork for the removal of certain obstacles and discriminatory practices that hindered the progress of the tradition.

He was a founding member and one-time chairman of Traditional African National Association. Together with Iyalorisha Sangowumi (Pat Mc Cleod) he was instrumental in the bringing together of parties that founded the African Association of TT in the 1980s.

In 2009 Baba Olu Sino Amono initiated the annual Aisun Ominira, a vigil that has been held on the night before Emancipation Day. It is a call to prayer to all African shrines.

May Oludumare and all the Orisas welcome him into their realm. He has done well.

AIYEGORO OME, Mt Lambert

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