Trinidad & Tobago - Condolences to Sophie, the Philmore family, the extended family which includes the global pan community for the loss of one of the most down to earth human beings one could ever meet.
Ken “Professor” Philmore
Words cannot express the loss I feel after being an integral part of Ken’s musical energy, spirit and love creating music together for 11 songs for Panorama, since 2008 from Hooked to Calling Meh to Vibes to Sweet 50. Before meeting him I would always hear of this legend called the “Professor”, who was bigger than life in my mind after hearing Pan by Storm so many times, until we met at a family event on Boxing Day 2005. I had met Brian, Ken’s brother a couple years before, who attended such events, who would say “You guys need to get together” as he was concerned about Ken being disenchanted, but obviously having so much more music to give. That fateful day Brian brought Ken along, this bigger than life character in my mind, who turned out to be so simple, regular, and humble. At such family events I would preview my songs for the family for the upcoming pan season. That day I launched the song “Colours Again” for 2006 sung by Destra, the start of a music journey where Destra, Ken and myself would somehow become intertwined. Ken heard it and said “Daiz the one ah going with” after only meeting him for the first time. Out of the 11 songs we ended up doing together, Destra would be singing 8 of those songs. So happy she is here to sing for Ken today.
The musical chemistry was instant, with lots of fun, happiness, and positivity, in the panyards and in the studio year after year with most music produced by Junior “Ibo” Joseph, and Kenny Phillips for the last tune we did. Sometimes I would send music from Angola, or Australia, and we would complete it when I visited Trinidad. We would anxiously await what Destra would write to make it her own. He would take my calls after arranging whole night and describe not only what he did, but how it was done with the immersion of his heart and soul in the picture he was painting. He would say with boundless optimism “We winning this year” but mostly year after year, apart from “Hooked”, he would only go through more disappointments in the results and occasionally voiced a lack of respect and recognition for his work.
Ken Philmore, Destra and Mark Loquan
Yet the next year after we sketched a melody it would revive him and lift his spirit and the cycle would start again. Ken, thank you for the music you left us, it was you who uplifted me, and it has been an honour and privilege with some of the best memories I will cherish. Ken brought funk, soul, vibes, raw talent, professionalism, passion for his craft and our culture, and individual love for the people he met. Everybody must have another family member, because everyone I meet now saying he was their brother.
He would kiss me on the cheek and say “Ah love you man”, and joke “Not that kinda way” and laugh. Rudo Forteau showed me a video of Ken doing him the same thing. That is Ken, to make you feel special, because to him, we were, and each one of us enjoyed a unique relationship. All the hugs he gave you, they were real, genuine, and authentic, he was a true brother to all he met.
Over the years we grew very close in our friendship and I thank Sophie for letting me be there in his final moments with the family and also to say a few words today.
In another role as Founder of the Music Literacy Trust, in 2011 several of his arrangements were scored including Pan by Storm, Carnival is We, Pan Ecstasy, Fire Down Below, Sharing Licks, Colours Again, Hooked, Rewind to name a few. He believed in teaching youths for the future and scores were donated to UWI, UTT, Costatt, etc. in association with the Trust at that time. It is my hope that bands, schools and the universities would bring back some of these wonderful arrangements.
Trinidad and Tobago has lost one of its greatest pan ambassadors, one who would live in our hearts forever. The outpouring from all around the globe tells you how much Ken has touched so many people. My last words to Ken in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) was “Thank you for the music, the world will miss you dearly. May you rest in peace, my brother.” Now take the heavens by storm.
*From Philmore’s Professional biography
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Co-Composer with Ken Philmore (2008-2015) / Founder of Music Literacy Trust
Songs co-composed with Ken “Professor” Philmore
(1)”Hooked” (2008) - Link
(2)”Time to Breakaway” (2008) - Link
(3)”Dangerous” (2009) - Link
(4)”D Trini Way” (2009) - Link
(5)”Surrender” (2010) - Link
(6)”Rewind” (2010) - Link
(7)”Calling Meh” (2011) - Link
(8)”Vibes” (2012) - Link
(9)”De Player” (2012) - Link
(10)”Addicted” (2013) - Link
(11)”Sweet 50” (2015) - Link
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