Vincentian calypsonians in Brooklyn two Saturdays ago gave their ailing colleague an early Christmas gift by visiting him in the hospital.
Carlos “Rejector” Providence, the newly-elected president and co-founder of the Brooklyn-based Dynamite Calypso Tent, the lone Vincentian-owned calypso tent in New York, told Caribbean Life on Sunday that members of the tent paid a surprise visit to Vincent “Groovy D” Kennedy, who is hospitalized at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Providence said Kennedy, also a co-founder of the Dynamite Calypso Tent, recently suffered a stroke “and is now doing physical rehabilitation.”
“The visit started with a prayer by Mr. Randolph Kennedy, brother of Groovy D, then the presentation of a Dynamite-designed get-well-soon card, which was signed by members of the Dynamite Calypso Tent,” Providence said.
“We also brought him some of his favorite Irish moss drink,” he added. “This visit surely brought him some hope, joy and great memories, as we saw him laugh, cry and chat few times, as we spoke of numerous issues.
“Generally, he was in good spirit and was pleasantly surprised by our presence,” Providence continued, stating that Kennedy’s family was grateful for the unexpected visit.
“[It was] much appreciated,” he said. “Words cannot explain how we made their day. They look forward to seeing us for his birthday, which is in January.”
Providence said Kennedy’s first “big year” in the calypso arena was in 1976, when he sang “Frustration,” “which took him to the calypso monarch finals” in the national Calypso Competition in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Soon after, Providence said Kennedy migrated to the US and served in the Armed Forces.
From 2001 to 2006, Providence said he and Kennedy competed in Caribbean calypso shows in Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, MD; and Miami, Fl.
“I remember him placing third twice in Washington, D.C. and once in Baltimore,” Providence said.
“In the year 2001, we both founded the Dynamite Calypso Tent, and he made it to the national (calypso) semi-finals on three occasions,” he added.
Providence, who last month was elected president of the Dynamite Calypso Tent, said his goal is to foster a closer bond with nationals at home and in the Diaspora.
“As president, it is my plan that the tent will be engaged in efforts to foster a closer bond and enhance the general well-being of Vincentians at home and abroad, through community outreach, via radio programs, town halls, get-togethers and personal visits,” he said.
The veteran Vincentian calypsonian said he also plans, among other things, to groom and urge the youths “to get involved in the calypso art form, and have the tent travel and do performances throughout the USA, Canada and the UK (United Kingdom).”
Besides Providence, others elected to the Dynamite Calypso Tent executive for a two-year term were: Atiba Williams (vice president); Garnes Byron (secretary); Dougan (treasurer); Dennis Bowman (public relations officer); and Errol “D man Age” Rose, Jose Juan, Hilford Hurst and Delahanty Isles (committee members).
“The new executive is charged with reinvigorating the tent and ensuring its viability, so it increasingly becomes a force to be reckoned with,” said Bowman, another veteran calypsonian, in a statement.
“The leadership highlighted the need for the Vincentian and wider Caribbean and New York Community to embrace the tent’s effort to keep this rich cultural tradition alive and to promote calypso as an important musical expression that should be embraced by everyone, especially the youth,” he added.