Calypso bard Mr Brigo Passes On

BRIGO

An obituary by Joan Rampersad for Trinidad’s Newsday.

POPULAR calypsonian Samuel “Brigo” Abraham, 77, passed away at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Mt Hope yesterday afternoon, from complications arising out of a stroke he suffered a few days ago. Two years ago, the local rumour mill had announced that Abraham was dead.

In an immediate reaction to the bard’s passing , Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby- Dolly stated: “It is with profound sadness that the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts marks the passing of one of our icons of calypso, Samuel Abraham, widely known as Brigo.” She added: “He encapsulated the vivacity and humour of the calypso genre and was definitely one of its most colourful characters, making calypso fun and memorable. He also stood out as one of the artistes that contributed to making local advertising resonant with and accepted by Trinbagonian society in a time when foreign ads were always looked on as the model, and the best. No one who ever saw Brigo’s ad for insect repellent would forget that, “Det kills them Dead!” He had quite an endearing persona, inclusive of his signature grin and humorous lyrics.” Dr Dolly concluded saying, Brigo’s contribution to the cultural landscape of Trinidad and Tobago will not be forgotten.

Commenting too on Brigo’s passing was Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) president Lutalo Masimba. He said: “Samuel Abraham was a great artiste, a powerful calypsonian blessed with theatrical ability which he would bring to his every performance. Brigo could entertain any audience. Whether in Port of Spain, New York (USA) or London (UK), he was a crowd pleaser.” He added: “In an environment where the emphasis is on competition, Brigo never went to a calypso monarch final. Yet he was able to claim his space in the entertainment world.” Masimba then stated that TUCO is ready to do its part but will respect the wishes of Brigo’s immediate family.

Until the both parties meet he said TUCO cannot speak as to funeral arrangements. Brigo, who was born in Chaguanas in 1940, to Agatha Abraham, enjoyed calypso from early age. So it was no surprise that in the 1960s he began singing calypso. Brigo credited the late Aldwyn “Lord Kitchener” Roberts for his development in the calypso world.

Andrew “Superior” Marcano recalled Brigo’s early days at the Revue tent that was headed by Kitch. He said: “Around 1970- 71 he (Brigo) sang a song called Barnabas, taken from a character on the television show (Dark Shadows called Barnabas Collins).

I gave him the idea to build a coffin and get fangs then I jokingly told him – whenever you die, you would already have your coffin.” “Brigo was a fantastic performer.

He had full command of his facial expressions. He could talk with his face. He mastered phraseology in calypso and he made nice melodies also.” And indeed it was those notorious facial contortions during ‘live’ performances, that Brigo become popular for, if only to emphasize his lyrics and situations.

Among his gems over the years were Mama Popo, Limbo Break, Voodoo Man, Do So Ent Like So, Obey, Walking in the Dark, Dig The Beat, Long Ago, Love in the Party, Love and Comfort and Shake up Your Bum Bum. He performed on numerous stages worldwide, but at Carnival time was a fixture in a calypso tent of his choice. He spent most of his years at the Calypso Revue tent, but also had stints in the Vintage Calypso Tent and Klassic Ruso.

An obituary by Michelle Loubon for Trinidad’s Express.

Trinidad and Tobago has lost Samuel Abraham, fondly known as Brigo, one of its iconic calypsonians, who made calypso fun and memorable with his facial contortions.

Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Gadsby-Dolly shared this sentiment on Brigo who was renowned for his autobiographical Don’t Beat Mama Popo and Voodoo Man. Brigo, who described himself as the best looking among his mother’s five children, passed away yesterday at the Port of Spain General Hospital.

Via a release yesterday, she said: “ It is with sadness the Ministry marks the passing of one of our iconic calypsonians, Samuel Abraham, widely known as Brigo. He encapsulated the vivacity and humour of the calypso genre and was definitely one of its most colourful characters, making calypso fun and memorable.”

She added: “ He also stood out as one of the artistes that contributed to making local advertising resonant with and accepted by Trinbagonian society in a time when foreign ads were always looked on as the model, and the best. No one who ever saw Brigo’s ad for insect repellent would forget that, “Det kills them Dead!” He had quite an endearing persona, inclusive of his signature grin and humorous lyrics. His contribution to the cultural landscape of Trinidad and Tobago will not be forgotten. May he rest in eternal peace.”

 

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