Veteran musicians worry over TT

Dr Roy Cape now walking without a walking stick.  -
Dr Roy Cape now walking without a walking stick. -

His feelings towards his fellow men during this covid19 pandemic and national lockdown show why Emrold Phillip (Brother Valentino) is known as the people's calypsonian.

In a telephone interview with Newsday on April 22 Valentino said he and his wife, Peggy, were doing all right and members of his family, though scattered throughout TT, were all doing fine.

In most of his songs Valentino focuses on the human condition and tries to educate with his messages.

Asked about his feelings on the virus and the effect it is having on people, Valentino said, “This is a global war against an unseen enemy. We have to prepare ourselves as much as possible and do what is necessary. Listen to the authorities and try your best to stay at home.

“If you don’t have the virus home in your house don’t go out or you will just be looking to find it.”

Valentino said he was hurting for the thousands of people in TT  who are without food to feed their families. “Somehow we have not been looking at the man who leaves his home at six in the morning and goes out to find work to feed his family.

“When he returns home in the evening he comes bearing basic essentials to feed his family for the evening. Right now these people come like the virus, they too are unseen by those in charge.

“I think about the thousands of workers who run their micro business for a daily bread. I think abut the thousands who were employed in the fast food industry. It is not easy. I am hoping we can do something to get food to each and every hungry citizen of this country.”

Brother Valentino worries for his people. - Gary Cardinez

Valentino says he is hoping and praying that things will get better sooner than later just for the people’s sake.

Roy Cape is another veteran musician who is caught in limbo, he told Newsday he is going through two different sets of emotions at once.

Cape celebrated his 88th birthday on April 19 and is thanking God as he is now able to walk without his walking stick after going through hip surgery recently. Cape fell and fractured his hip several months ago while he was at an event along with fellow calypsonians Chalkdust, Pink Panther and Walter Barker in Sangre Grande.

In contrast to his happy feelings, Cape is now worried about the future of the work of his foundation, which included music classes for at-risk youth of the area. Cape says he is out of money to pay the tutors.

“It cost me about $60,000 per semester, and I am not seeing that coming in very soon. Right now I have all the instruments just packed up. I am also very sorry for the situation the people have found themselves in because of the coronavirus. I truly hope we could keep the faith and ride out this together.”

Cape also mentioned his best friend Leroy "Black Stalin" Calliste, with whom he spoke on Cape's birthday. He said Stalin is coming along but “the blackman feels it is taking too long for him to recover and gets frustrated sometimes but he is holding on.”

Cape also reflected on another one of his friends who is in the hospital, Dennis Tash Ash, a boyhood friend from Laventille and one of the longest-enlisted Panorama players with Desperadoes.

Ash is at the San Fernando General Hospital, where he has been warded since before Carnival, when he fell ill while in rehearsals with Desperadoes. Cape spoke highly of Ash, saying, “It was he who gave me the nickname Chief White Eagle while we were in primary school. He is also a very gifted pan player.”

Cape feels that TT will come out of this pandemic a better place, as right now, “everyone has an opportunity to reflect on their lives.”


"Veteran musicians worry over TT"

More in this section