Trinidad loses another calypso giant

Win­ston Scar­bor­ough

(Trinidad Guardian) Just three days af­ter the ca­lyp­so fra­ter­ni­ty said farewell to the Mighty Shad­ow, De Orig­i­nal De Fos­to Him­self (Win­ston Scar­bor­ough) died of a sus­pect­ed heart at­tack on Thursday morn­ing.

De Fos­to, who suf­fered from heart prob­lems, was dis­cov­ered at his Mor­vant res­i­dence by his son Gabriel, who al­so re­sides with him.

Yes­ter­day, in shock and too dis­traught to say much, Gabriel said: “I was dad­dy’s boy. I lived with him in Mor­vant and this thing is a re­al shock as dad­dy hasn’t been sick. Last night (Thurs­day), he com­plained of not feel­ing well and this morn­ing I al­ready had on my work clothes when he died. I still have on my clothes for work.

“Dad­dy and I were very close, like how a fa­ther and son are sup­posed to be. He used to ask me my opin­ion on the ca­lyp­soes he would com­pose. This Fri­day re­al­ly isn’t go­ing good for me.”

De Fos­to, 64, al­so had an old­er son, Mar­vin, who re­sides in New York.

Na­tion­al Car­ni­val Com­mis­sion (NCC) Win­ston “Gyp­sy” Pe­ters was one of the first cul­tur­al of­fi­cials to ex­press sad­ness at De Fos­to’s pass­ing.

“I am in shock; ut­ter shock. I haven’t even got­ten over Shad­ow as yet, and now Win­ston gone too,” Pe­ters said.

“I spoke to Win­ston up to last night (Thurs­day), for more than an hour. He told me that he was feel­ing good. I asked him to write some mu­sic for me. He told me he would do so next week as he was go­ing by Ibo Joseph this morn­ing (yes­ter­day). So you could imag­ine the shock that I was in this morn­ing when they told me they found De Fos­to dead in bed.”

He added: “De Fos­to and I had a very close re­la­tion­ship and we have been friends for years, al­though he sang a cou­ple songs mak­ing pi­cong of me. But that is how ca­lyp­so is sup­posed to be. In fact, I was the one who gave him mon­ey for some of his med­ical bills.

“The fra­ter­ni­ty is that much poor­er again. We used to joke about the name Win­ston be­ing the most pop­u­lar name in the fra­ter­ni­ty and we have now lost two in quick suc­ces­sion. I am think­ing of chang­ing my name to James.”

De Fos­to has been one of the head­line acts at Tu­co’s Kaiso Kar­a­van ca­lyp­so tent at La Joya, St Joseph, for the past sev­er­al years. The tent’s of­fice ad­min­is­tra­tor, Cur­tis “Dirty Cur­ty” Conyette, who is al­so the Trin­ba­go Uni­fied Ca­lyp­so­ni­ans’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s East Zone trea­sur­er, said: “De Fos­to was one of the stal­warts in our tent, hav­ing joined us many years ago, with peo­ple like Singing Francine and John­ny King.

“De Fos­to was one of a kind and maybe be­cause he was a prod­uct of the or­phan­age, was a kind hu­man be­ing. He was will­ing to help any ca­lyp­son­ian and I have seen him com­pose a ca­lyp­so for an­oth­er ca­lyp­son­ian who even­tu­al­ly beat him in a com­pe­ti­tion.

“De Fos­to epit­o­mised the nin­ja war­rior that he was and re­al­ly loved ca­lyp­so and all ca­lyp­so­ni­ans. When I first met him in 1993, be­cause of his dance moves and spins, I used to call him ‘the Whirling Der­vich.’”

An­oth­er Kaiso Kar­a­van vet­er­an, John­ny King, said: “De Fos­to was one of the most pro­lif­ic ca­lyp­so writ­ers there was. He was ex­treme­ly pa­tri­ot­ic in his com­po­si­tions.

“He shared the view of Shad­ow that peo­ple didn’t treat ca­lyp­so­ni­ans and the art form with re­spect or fair­ly. In the tent, De Fos­to was al­ways an ami­able, laid-back and re­spectable artiste. Of late, I found that he was in­ter­nal­is­ing the treat­ment he has re­ceived over the years by the pub­lic, the me­dia and cor­po­rate Trinidad. He re­al­ly took that to heart.”

He added, “When I got the news this morn­ing of his pass­ing it re­al­ly rocked me hard. On Tues­day at Shad­ow’s fu­ner­al he was look­ing very good, so I fig­ured he was on a rise from the things that had been wor­ry­ing him for a long time.”

Gabriel said the fam­i­ly is still com­ing to terms with De Fos­to’s sud­den pass­ing and fu­ner­al arrange­ments will be made and pub­li­cised short­ly.

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