LENNOX “Bobby” Sylvanus Mohamed was panman extraordinaire, national hero, musical pioneer and classical genius, icon,
But in her eulogy, his daughter Michelle Mohamed-De Freitas spoke of the gentle giant who fathered her and her sister Drishad as someone with the most humble and peaceful of spirits who aspired to achieve greatness and conquer hearts all over the world.
“Not only with his music, but with his love, his smile, his passion and his compassion. For every minute, of every hour, of every day, with every breath he breathed, my dad lived to share his gift of music, and to those of us who had had the good fortune to encounter him in person, even if only for a brief moment – we experienced his gift of love and are touched by it forever”.
Both San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello who chaired the service, and Pan Trinbago representative Whitfield Weekes spoke of Mohamed’s generosity, sharing his musical gift with others and for nothing in return.
Michelle attested to the fact that: “My dad never cared for wealth or even the fame or fortune. Peace of mind was what he needed and doing what he was passionate about, with all of his heart.”
Before a small group of mourners at JE Guide’s Funeral Home, Coffee Street, San Fernando on Tuesday afternoon, Michelle the elder of the two girls, said, “To everyone, he was someone who was revered for his talent and his accomplishments.
“To my sister and I, Bobby Mohamed, as referenced by David Rudder in Engine Room, the man with the cow bell in his hand, was our mysterious hero and perhaps fallen angel and he was simply our father
“To know Bobby, my dad, was to love him. He was as mighty as he was meek, as timid as he was tall, as sweet as he was stoic, as fearless as he was fearful and was as childlike as he was commander-in-chief.
“To see the sparkle in his kind eyes, to hear the music in his laughter, to taste the truth of his words and to feel the warmth of his tender embrace was to experience a kind of pureness that cannot ever be described.”
She recalled the laughter and giggles he elicited every time he saw her, when he would sing the Little Duck nursery rhyme complete with quacking.
“To him, I was his little duck. The last time we shared this was just prior to the covid lockdown in March 2020. That giggle, his unique laughter, and his smile, I believe was his trademark to all.”
She recalled how this happy man sank into depression, but through it all his light never dimmed.
“My dad was an extraordinary man, and while his life may not have been the typical fairytale, it is as close to one as (life) comes.
“Why? Because he was a handsome prince, who, despite his being locked away at times in the dungeon of his mind, burned a trail for us to follow by following his passion.
“He left a legacy, not just for his country, his immediate family, his children and his grandchildren but he touched people world-wide with his contribution to music.
“Most importantly, he touched us all with his magnanimous love and his pure, humble heart.”
She told the story of how this child prodigy, who never wrote or read a single musical note, besieged his aunt to persuade his parents Zainool and Enid, both schoolteachers, for him to leave Presentation College, San Fernando, at 15 to play the pan professionally.
When he went to thank his aunt Farida, a music teacher who recognised his gift, for getting his parents to agree, Michelle said she simply told him, "Don’t thank me, just go and win Panorama.”
Mohamed’s brother Selwyn recalled Bobby sitting at the piano and playing music requested by his friends when he noticed that the back of Bobby’s shirt was torn.
“I went up to him and quietly whispered to him, ‘So you know that your shirt is torn in the back?’ to which he replied, ‘No, but if you hum it I could play it.”
Mohamed, who held the record of being the youngest steelband arranger to win a Panorama title, was later cremated. He leaves to mourn his daughters, brothers and partner Jenny Ragoonanan.