Global - Two years ago, Reggae Music, a genre created in the sixties, was officially added by UNESCO to its “list of international cultural treasures worthy of protection”. “One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right” is a line extracted from track 8 of the album Exodus by the late Bob Marley, Jamaica’s internationally-acclaimed composer and performer. Now considered mainstream, Reggae did not become a category in the Recording Academy Grammys until 1985. This success reflects the extent of love and pride with which Jamaicans venerate their culture.
It begs two questions of Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean’s most culturally-diverse society. “Is Calypso a dying art form and why has the Steelpan, created there by master craftsmen in the 20th century, not been officially proclaimed in Parliament to be the national musical instrument of the world’s foremost twin island republic”? Perhaps we need to reflect on the impact of Cultural Industries on the global economy.
Farewell Jomo as you begin your journey across the River Styx today playing ‘Fire Down Below’ composed by Len “Boogsie” Sharpe on one of your inventions, the elliptical pan called the ‘Jomoline’ using your latest creation - a pair of sticks fondly named ‘Thumps’. We all pray that the US utility patent granted to you in May 2020 will be used by your company JW Industries Ltd to supply “blanks” to STGTT members Andy A. Neils, Jimi Phillip and Anthony Duncan among others to enable Trinidad and Tobago to remain at the pinnacle of what has become a fiercely competitive world of steelpan manufacturing.
Man; know thyself. You have lived a life of service over ambition coupled with integrity above expedience and we do not plan to disappoint you.