Clive Zanda is Dead - The King Is Dead

An opinion

by Rubadiri Victor

Provided with the expressed permission of: the Author

Global - CLIVE ZANDA IS DEAD. The King is Dead! Long Live the King!!! This is one of the greatest losses we have experienced to date- and we have experienced ALOT(!!!)- because Clive Zanda was virtually untapped as a resource (even after contributing so much) and still contained so much Music in him. The co-originator of Kaiso-Jazz with Scofield Pilgrim he was a Pioneer of Pioneers. His album 'Clive Zanda Is Here With Dat Kinda Ting (Calypso Jazz Innovations)' is one of the great and essential 20th century Jazz albums for what it uttered into the world. The compositions, the theory made modal flesh, and for the scary drumming of Michael Toby Tobias...

Clive Zanda
Clive Zanda

Clive now joins one of 3 of the great regrets that I have had with T&T Elders. Zanda approached me (after years of me prodding him in the direction) to do a full retrospective of his life and discography, along with assisting him in the recording of new music. This could have been between 15-20 years ago. He was tired of being rejected by local institutions of higher learning who felt they knew better and so he also wanted to compile all his theories of Kaiso Jazz in one place. I collated a lot of his stuff and did up a masterplan of how we could approach the whole project and how it could be worthwhile to him.

Clive Zanda
Clive Zanda

The project involved a box-set collection (with many previously unreleased tracks) which would have included his new album- with a major booklet, separate to that a bio, a book of Kaiso-Jazz theory, and a notated Songbook. The plan included performances here and abroad, music videos, and attempts to get a visiting professorship for him, etc etc... I had plans of how we could raise the money etc. We were moving hot and sweaty when all of sudden he changed direction and said he was putting the plans on hold. He had not been paid by I believe government for some work he had done and it had made his life difficult- he was trying to sort some stuff out. He thought it best to concentrate on those matters I believe. I pleaded with him that we should continue to pursue the project- that it was essential! That I know how momentum works in these matters and we should not stop. I repeated the exhortation over the next 2 decades... He always felt he had time... I know as of late he tried to revive the project using our blueprint, but it was one of many things he was juggling...

I had this similar experience with the great Rapso poet, musician, and performer Cetewayo where I had mobilised resources to record what would have been his only recorded album... And then again I had it with the great Mas Man Aldwyn Chow Lin On with whom I was working on the creation of a Master Guild for the country's Artisans- honing in on King and Queen Carnival Costume Makers... All these Elders aborted their plans. All died without seeing them re-engaged and realised. Their Legacies un-Crowned...

I hope Clive had been able to advance his plans to a point where they could now be realised in his honour.

The lesson I suppose is this: We T&T Artists live in a Cruel Cruel town that does not care for us- not our Leaders and for swathes of times not the People. It is a Brutal Brutal town. We cannot take for granted that our work will be supported in even the most elementary way of having places for it to be exhibited or even experienced. We are a hundred years behind the rest of the world in terms of basic Creative Industry enablers. A hundred... This means we must be self-reliant in a way that is alien to most other people and places. It is a life of eternal struggle for most. WE MUST HONOUR OUR WORK BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE WILL. But the following is a Message moreso to the Elders listening: CURATE YOUR OWN WORK NOW. CREATE YOUR RETROSPECTIVE. TELL YOUR STORY. NOW! In a place that devalues you- VALUE YOU! Curate the work of your career. Tell your story. Do the Retrospective!!! Bring it all together and TELL THE STORY. If they will not do it- YOU must do it. Despite being ignored your work was and is important. Curate it. In whatever way you can. I will encourage the National Museum to have a Massive multi-building Retrospective of T&T Artists. With samples of the work but moreso with the stories of LIVES and the work constructed out of that Life. A RETROSPECTIVE OF CAREERS!. Ask all the Artists above 60 to submit their Stories. Get students to give them online help. Let 2022 be a Year that this is done. From small grassroots Artisans to heralded Internationals- let their be a consecration of these Lives!!!

Clive Zanda was a Giant amongst Giants. We did not Honour him in Life. Let's get some collective self respect and Honour him in death...

Clive Zanda Ogun - Gayap, Trinidad, 1975

Clive Zanda
Cree records: Clive Zanda recording his masterpiece album... Give it a listen here:

Mr. Walker - Clive Zanda 

Clive Zanda Is Here With Dat Kinda Ting
Clive Zanda Is Here With Dat Kinda Ting

Rubadiri Victor - President at Artists' Coalition of Trinidad & Tobago (ACTT) and Director at Passion Fruit Publishing Ltd./ Ringbellion Multi-Mediaworks Ltd./ Nation.

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