The entertainment fraternity has lost a “patriot” with the passing of calypsonian Colin Observer Reid.
The news that the 65-year-old calypsonian was found dead at his Grazettes, St Michael home around 3:55 this evening has left entertainers in mourning, with many saying it is a “huge loss”.
President of the Barbados Association of Calypsonians and Artistes (BACA) Sean Apache Carter told Barbados TODAY the death was a shocking blow and great loss to the fraternity.
“Among the membership of BACA, persons are shocked, stunned and sad. We have lost a true stalwart of the artform,” he said.
“He was an excellent calypsonian, a great writer, a mentor to many, and a mentor to me. He would have given me constructive criticism. He was a true craftsman of our fate and, as he would say, a true patriot for the cause. He was very passionate and outspoken. It is a sad day. It has been a really rough year for the fraternity. We have had several persons who have passed away: Big Davie, Herring, Smokey Burke. It has been a real solemn mood among the calypso fraternity. Colin will be missed.”
House of Soca manager Sharon Carew-White remembered Observer as a mentor for the young and upcoming artistes in the tent.
“He had written for many of them. He was always around to offer his guidance and experience. He was always there to empower the young in the tent. After his long hiatus, he came back and was able to grace the stage and go all the way to the finals with Patriot.
“Even though he was not on stage in 2019, he was there telling us what to do, how to do it and what is best to do. His way, his panache, his style, the way he dressed. He was a tailor and so always had to be immaculately dressed. I can’t say that House of Soca will be the same or the calypso fraternity will be the same. He will be sadly missed.”
Producer Andy Williams, who did the musical arrangements for the majority of Observer’s hit songs, remembered his friend.
“I was saddened by the news…. Some of the songs I worked with him on were the popular Cat Attack, Suki, and my very last arrangement for him was Patriot which was done just a year and a half ago. He was a perfectionist. He knew what he wanted and demanded respect from not only me but those who he would have been writing for. Observer understood what the calypso fraternity was all about and he put his soul, energy and everything he had in it. He will be missed. To his family, many friends in the calypso fraternity I offer condolences,” he said.
Kaiso Kickback was the last major stage Observer would have performed alongside his Cat Attack girl Suzette Goring. Leroy Georgie Straker, the man who produced last year’s Kaiso Kickback, recalled times with his Contenders tent counterpart.
“I knew Observer from the 1980s singing in the Kaiso Palace tent. I looked forward to seeing him and Structure slug it out on stage with some ex-tempo renditions. We were tent mates again in Contenders in Tweedside Road. Observer was very meticulous, very straight-forward in his approach to kaiso. He was a great writer and phraser. I remember Cat Attack was a crowd drawer for the tent. Last year, when staging Kaiso Kickback, he was one of the first calypsonians I contacted. We had a very good time together. He will be missed,” Straker recalled.
Fellow Rastafarian and kaiso artiste Peter Adonijah Alleyne, who affectionately referred to the late artiste as ‘Obby’, said he would miss the veteran calypsonian.
“Obby was one of the old warriors and an uncompromising calypsonian. He is cut from that cloth. He was a man who had a lot to say and was always very passionate about local music. I remember he served at one point on the board of COSCAP [Barbados Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Incorporated].
“He is a man that would talk to you for the whole day and night about local music, especially when it comes to spouge. As a Rastaman, Obby was always firm and strong and always had very clear-cut ideals and passions. I will miss him a lot ’cause there aren’t many calypsonians around who have that same love, feeling and passion for kaiso,” Adonijah said.
Observer leaves to mourn his daughter Zena Worrell, son Corey Douglas, a granddaughter and two grandsons. The majority of his family, including his mother and brothers, reside overseas.
The original article can be found here.