‘Axeback’ laid to rest in Tobago

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Mourners pay tribute to cultural icon and former Speyside High teacher Rawle Titus at his funeral on Tuesday. – David Reid

THE funeral for Rawle “Axeback” Titus on Tuesday was a celebration of his decades-long career in education and culture in Tobago.

Titus’ far-reaching influence was evident in the large gathering of mourners who filled a part of the Shaw Park Cultural Complex to pay tribute to his work and legacy.

Titus, 80, died on January 2 at the Scarborough General Hospital. He would have turned 81 on January 24.

Among those attending the four-hour service were Chief Secretary Farley Augustine and other members of the THA executive, Minority Leader Kelvon Morris, councillor Petal Daniel-Benoit and PNM senator Laurence Hislop.

TUCO president Ainsley King, Tobago Festivals Commission CEO John Arnold and members of several cultural groups which Titus had formed over the years were also present.

The Rev Sonia Whitlock, pastor of the Mt Pleasant-based Sanctuary Praise and Worship Tabernacle, began the service with a rendition of What A Friend We Have In Jesus. She later sang Hear My Cry, Goodbye World, I Stay No Longer With You and When Jesus Say Yes, Nobody Can’t Say No, among others.

Young Speyside arranger Joshua Jerry and another pannist, of the band Steel Sensation, delighted the audience with one of Titus’ compositions, Keeping The Dream Alive.

Titus’ friend Alvin Pierre performed How Great Thou Art and a Donnie Mc Clurkin classic, Stand.

Calypsonian Giselle Fraser-Washington, who also paid tribute to Titus, told mourners he was a significant part of her life during the past 16 years.

Wheelchair-bound Joy Titus, the sister of the late Rawle Titus, says her last goodbye at his funeral, at Shaw Park Cultural Complex on Tuesday. – David Reid

She sang a stirring version of gospel tune He’ll Do It Again before bursting into tears with her second selection, Plenty, Plenty Ole Talk, which she could not complete

Titus wrote Plenty, Plenty Ole Talk for Fraser-Washington for TUCO’s Tobago Carnival monarch competition last October. She had placed third in the competition.

The Mt Paran Spiritual Baptist Church and Delaford Youth Arm, in separate presentations, performed the Lord’s Prayer.

On Monday night, several cultural groups and friends and family of Titus gathered outside the Shaw Park Cultural Complex for his wake. The Charlotteville Heritage Performers led the singing of hymns and songs. There were also performances by calypsonians and the bamboo dance by the Les Coteaux Folk Performers.