Monday 30 November, 2020

Colin "Observer" Reid remembered for stellar contribution to calypso

Colin "Observer" Reid

Colin "Observer" Reid

Barbadian entertainer Colin “Observer” Reid’s stellar contribution to calypso was highlighted on Thursday as news of his death filtered through the kaiso fraternity.

Members of the local entertainment community were saddened by Reid's passing. The 65-year-old veteran calypsonian passed away at his Grazettes, St Michael home. 

Author Wendell Callender noted in a circulated post that, “Barbados music fraternity has lost another talented soul. RIP Colin ‘Observer’ Reid. His contribution will long be remembered.”

“He was a strict guardian of calypso with a superb turn of phrase, masterful phrasing and acerbic wit,” remarked National Cultural Foundation (NCF) Chief Executive Officer Carol Roberts-Reifer in a statement posted to the NCF’s official Instagram account.

“The kaiso fraternity is so much poorer today,” added Roberts-Reifer. The NCF extended condolences to Reid’s close friends and family.

It was not only the management and staff of the NCF who were “deeply saddened” by the passing of calypsonian but former calypsonian and Government minister, John King.

“Colin was, without doubt, one of the shareholders of the local calypso competition, with a loyal following that respected him for his prolific song-writing ability, his biting lyrics that made it clear to all that he was not afraid to challenge the status quo, and his singing ability that allowed him to challenge the best the artform produced any year,” said Minister John King in a statement.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Responsible for Culture and the National Development Commission extended his condolences on behalf of Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Government and the people of Barbados. 

“Colin – his lyrics, his voice, his opinion – will be missed by us all,” King said. 

The well-known calypsonian’s songs over the years include Cat Attack, Damage, Keep Pushing Suki, Ah Doan Want Dey Crown, and Patriot, among others.

“For certain, his memory will live on in the hearts of Barbadians, including many who are not necessarily aficionados of calypso, through his hit “Cat Attack”, which immortalized the thoughts of many on the need for tough justice to fight crime and deviance in society,” according to King.

The Minister also noted that the veteran calypsonian, “also demonstrated over the years that he owed the artform a duty to speak vigorously and sincerely on the issues that impacted calypso, calypsonians and the fans who through their support kept it alive – even if it upset those who led.”

In his 2017 Crop Over song Patriot, Reid paid tribute to his country of Barbados. The opening lines of the social commentary song, which took him to the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals, notes that he is a “son of this soil, citizen of this country” where he was “born to live and enjoy” and goes on to appeal “to all and sundry, be constructive and never seek to destroy.”

May this “patriot to the cause” for national unity rest in peace. Loop extends deepest condolences to his family, friends and the calypso fraternity.

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