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Lack of support for ailing De Fosto Himself

...but, calypsonians are keen to turn it around
Published: 
Thursday, June 28, 2018
Queen Victoria performs My Way. PICTURES ANTHONY HOWELL

Considered one of this country’s most prolific calypso composers and entertainers, The Original De Fosto Himself (Winston Scarborough) is now in dire need of assistance to offset medical expenses.

To put it mildly, De Fosto has had a most challenging life from birth. According to his bio, having being abandoned as a baby with no name, he was found somewhere in Belmont by a woman from Tobago by the name of Beatrice Clark. She took him to the Tacarigua Orphanage and given the surname “Scarborough,” borrowed from the capital of Tobago.

From a youth, De Fosto’s musical ability was recognised very early in his life and it was nurtured by the orphanage where, eventually, he would learn to read and score music.

Those of you who might be old enough to remember, might recall that outstanding trombonist performing at the now defunct Brassorama competition at the Queen’s Park Savannah, the cone of his instrument painted in fluorescent orange? Well, that was young Winston Scarborough.

De Fosto made his professional singing début in 1976 with Chicks Come Out to Play. For the most part, his calypsoes were written for easy adaptation by steelbands. With his music-writing skill, he went on to score hundreds of songs for other singers as well.

De Fosto’s Four Lara Four, co-written with the late Merchant, was played by the 1995 National Panorama winner, Amoco Renegades, giving the Charlotte Street steelband its seventh lien on the coveted title.

Blessed with the ability to create melodies that attracted pan arrangers, De Fosto’s Firestorm and Pan Lamentation will the National Panorama titles once more, this time for Trinidad All Stars, in 2002 and 2007, respectively.

Pride of St Augustine, Exodus Steel Orchestra also played its way to the top in Panorama in 2003 and 2004, playing De Fosto’s Pandora and War 2004, respectively.

But, De Fosto, a complete calypsonian, was also making waves in the calypso arena. He placed second in the National Calypso Monarch competition twice. In 2000, he secured that runner-up spot performing Pan Forevermore and One More Kitchener, and in 2007 with Police Money. De Fosto placed third in 2010 singing In A Palace State of Mind, and again made it to the Dimanche Gras final in 2015.

Fund-raising effort by calypsonians

In an attempt to assist De Fosto, members of Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO), mobilised and motivated by popular female calypsonian Lady Gypsy (Lynette Steele) successfully produced a fund-raising concert at the Southern Academy for Performing Arts (Sapa) on Sunday June 24.

Several of De Fosto’s fellow calypsonians performed for free as they gave their support to their comrade who is an icon in the calypso arena and has sang many hits over the years. Supporting the effort were TUCO president Lutalo Masimba (Bro Resistance), former Culture Minister Joan Yuille-Williams and Pan Trinbago PRO Michael Joseph.

Although the show was poorly attended, the performers put on a great show performing a range of songs, including ballads, rhythm and blues and calypsoes.

First on stage was Kurt Allen performing Believe, followed by Mistah Shak with Blueprint, Queen Victoria performing My Way, and Lady Adanna doing Calypso Music.

Also performing were former Extempore Monarch Lingo with Nobody Cares, past National Calypso Monarch Singing Sandra with Voices from the Ghetto, All Rounder, Trinidad Rio, and Baron singing two of his much-loved hits.

The concert culminated with a performance by Crazy who is lobbying on social media for the show to be repeated at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa) in Port-of-Spain as it was of a very high standard.

Several patrons who attended the show expressed disappointment by the low turnout and the lack of support for De Fosto, a musician who has done so much to enrich the tapestry that is T&T music and culture.

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