St. Philip and friends celebrated two noted sons of the parish last night.
Night of the Griots, presented by the St. Philip Parish Independence Committee and hosted by The Crane Resort and Residences, honoured the achievements of Chief of Protocol Philip St. Hill and entertainer John King.
It was a night of fond and funny memories, with performances by the honourees themselves, Mya Daniel, PJ, Adrian Clarke, Cherish Maynard and Clish Gittens. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the glimpses into the lives of St. Hill and King, who themselves sometimes broke into laughter at the reminiscences.
Chairman of the St. Philip Parish Independence Committee Carl Alff Padmore introduced the evening’s proceedings, part of the committee’s theme Builders of Our Fate – Because You Were I Am, before introducing MC Andr? Wharton, who kept things moving smoothly.
St. Hill is well known in the gospel world and it was no surprise that his section of the evening began with a performance by Mya Daniel, who gave a beautifully controlled rendition of I Can’t Live a Day Without You. It was a lesson in voice control, as her voice filled the room without her ever seeming to sing loudly.
Spoken word artiste Clish Gittens showed talent in his performance of one of St. Hill’s works, Leh We Fight, and was followed by young calypsonian Cherish Maynard who showcased a strong voice and soldiered on despite problems with her backing track. The audience encouraged her by keeping time and she handled herself well.
Padmore’s alter ego Alff took over with a great rendition of St Hill’s Telephone Conversation with Auntie, leaving the audience in stitches.
St. Hill’s daughter Cathy and friend David Bulbulia spoke on his behalf, with Cathy giving some humorous insights into the private man and Bulbulia relating shared work experiences.
Conquerors comedians Shepherd and Aamoss surprised the man of the moment with a guest appearance, during which they took the audience back to the early days of Conquerors Calypso Tent, of which they were all members.
St. Hill finished that section of the show with a performance of his Up To Date, after which he saluted family members in his uniquely humorous way.
After a brief break it was time to hail John King and tributes were paid to him by Terencia TC Coward, Addinton Forde and Adonijah, all of whom related aspects of their friendship with the two-time calypso monarch. Forde also read one of his published short stories.
Adrian Clarke also spoke of his close friendship with King and had the audience cracking up when he reminisced of watching him and other “Lodge School men” walking on the road past Codrington High School, where girls were boarders. Then Clarke took the mike for a version of Nice Time, written by King, and another composition.
PJ, accompanying himself on guitar, performed a song written to the black Diaspora and two crowd favourites, Bajan Love Song and Rice Gone Up. The room echoed with the voices of the audience, who sang along to every word of the choruses.
Then King himself took the stage and spoke to the audience, giving them a look into the man that is John King. He echoed the earlier words of Adonijah, who had described him as “a misunderstood man” and became tearful in recounting an inspirational encounter with a member of an audience overseas.
A stirring version of How Many More, with full vocal support from the audience, concluded the performances on stage, following which Padmore brought events to an official close.
Before this, however, he informed the crowd that the northern zone of St Philip was being named after Addinton Forde.
The proceedings were held under the patronage of national coordinator of the Community Independence Secretariat, Curtis Gibbons, and Parish Ambassadors Omar Weekes and Dionne Applewhite.