The calypso fraternity in Barbados is mourning the death of certainly one of its own.
Walter Whitney, who went by the sobriquet Bongo and was best known for the favored 1992 calypso “Take it or Lump It”, passed away on Monday.
Cultural Ambassador the Most Honourable Anthony Gabby Carter, was amongst those paying tribute as he descri bed Bongo as certainly one of the artform’s most underrated singers and writers. Bongo was also a member of Carter’s Battleground Calypso Tent through the early 1990’s.
Recounting stories of tent life, Carter also praised the calypsonian for his dynamic performance and magnificence.
“The crowds every night would go crazy mainly for 4 acts, Grynner, Madd, Carew and Bongo. Bongo was excellent at performing the calypso. He had a singular form of delivery and we haven’t seen it since then. He and Carew had the Bajan sort of delivery that was different. It was distinctly Bajan in his accent and every thing.
“Since Like It or Lump It, he never got the identical amount of recognition in his profession, but as a human being, he was probably the most nice people you could possibly communicate with. He was at all times friendly with everybody and will give a joke and likewise take one,” Carter said as he prolonged condolences to Bongo’s family, friends and fans.
Calypsonian and radio announcer, Ronnie De Announcer Clarke also conveyed his sympathies to Bongo’s family, saying he loved and revered Bongo’s passion for kaiso.
Characterising Bongo’s hit Take It or Lump It as a classic Bajan song, Clarke contended that only a few artistes produce a song with such impact as that song had on your complete island when it was released.
“One which has played ceaselessly since 1992. A die-hard member and supporter of the Democratic Labour Party who repped them in song. An actual Bajan form of delivery and well received.
As well as, Clarke vouched that Bongo was a really nice person.
“He was good company and one whose memory is worthy of our continued respect,” Clarke maintained.
Music producer Elmore Roach, of Radar Studios, expressed disbelief at his friend’s passing while he recounted what can be their final recording session together.
“He got here to me five weeks before the climax of the season and he was telling me he wanted to do that song. I used to be telling him ‘man Bongo it is just too late. By the point we finish it, there would only be about 4 weeks left and it could be higher to bring it out for next 12 months’. “He said ‘No! The message that’s on this no person else has brought it out like this.” It’s a song for the kids, with advice to do the best things’.
“He insisted that I do A Song for the Children for this season. I did the song, released it and folks began calling me about it. . . . The song still managed to get on rotation though it got here out late. I’d have felt really bad if I didn’t do this song especially due to message in it. It’s a message that’s going to survive and can live past us,” he stressed. (KC)