San Fernando shows love for Stalin

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

LOVE: Patsy Calliste, centre, among the crowd who turned up on Tuesday night at a concert on Harris Promenade, San Fernando in honour of her late husband, calypso icon Leroy “Black Stalin” Calliste. Photo by Lincoln Holder

HEEDING his advice to, “stop all house work yuh doin,” San Fernandians rich and poor, humble and mighty, came out in their numbers to pay tribute to their beloved son Leroy “Black Stalin” Calliste in a concert held in his honour on Tuesday night.

Fellow artistes came to sing and dance as they celebrated the life and rich legacy of the griot who died on December 28, after never recovering from a stroke he suffered eight years ago.

Super Blue, the group Three Canal, Cro Cro, Derryck Seales, KV Charles, Lil Bits, Iwer Geroge, Valentino, Luta, Sheldon Blackman, Lady Adana, Ras Kommanda, Ronnie Mc Intosh, Mistah Shak, Duanne O’Connor and son, Tyziah, DJ Bravo (cricketer Dwayne Bravo), renowned pannist Earl Brooks and Joshua Regrello, were just a few who gave of their time and musical talent to sing their love for Stalin before an appreciative crowd.

Emrold “Bro Valentino” Anthony Phillip performed at the concert in honour of his friend and fellow calypsonian Black Stalin.

Among those in the audience were polititicians, businessmen, the common folk and Calliste’s wife Patsy and the rest of her family.

An emotional Super Blue who recalled never coming to San Fernando for Calypso Fiesta or any show without first visiting Stalin and his wife, was close to tears as he told the audience, “a King has gone.”

He did a special salute while singing along with the audience the words, “You don’t know what it’s like, to love somebody, the way I love you.”

Bringing greetings on behalf of the Prime Minister, was Housing and Urban Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis who told San Fernandians, “We are here to grieve with you at the loss of one of our greatest calypsonians, one of our greatest bards, one of our greatest griots.”

Robinson-Regis said Stalin was not just a calypsonian, “but in fact, a philosopher.

“We are here because we feel he raised the consciousness of the black person, not only in TT, but in the Caribbean and even further afield.

“We celebrate this man who was told in his youth that the black man has a very strong contribution to make and we must continue in that belief and knowledge.”

Moko Jumbies also came out to pay tribute to the late grand calypsonian.

She said Stalin rose from very humble beginnings to reach calypso fame, receive a national award and even an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies.

“He reached to the point where I am here today representing the Prime Minister, who is unable to be here, because he (Calliste) was a man of that stature.”

Overcome with emotion at the outpouring of love for her husband, Stalin’s wife Patsy had but five words to say to the crowd: “Thank you, I love you.”

Speaking later with Newsday, she said after her husband suffered a stroke, people from far and wide started dropping in at their home to see how he was going. “I can’t say thank you enough for all of the love and support that was shown to him,” she said.

Saying she wouldn’t have missed Tuesday’s concert, which she described as “the official wake,” Patsy said Harris Promenade was the place she met Leroy for the first time as a shy little girl of 13.

Because calypsonians and panmen were considered “outscasts” back in those days, she never took him home to meet her parents when she grew older and their friendship turned into something more.

As they grew up, they went their separate ways, only to meet back up years later and rekindle their relationship.

People jump and prance in Stalin’s honour and memory at the concert on Tuesday at Harris Promenade in San Fernando. Photo by Lincoln Holder

“It has been love, love, love all the time, until death do us part. He was really, really a humble man. I wish I could still have him alive with me,” she said.

Stalin will be buried at Paradise Cemetery on Thursday following a funeral service at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA).