Will we lose AC’s voice?
Veteran calypsonian Adrian AC Clarke is in jeopardy of having to leave the Crop Over scene prematurely. But not for lack of talent, or through an unwillingness to compete, or because of controversy.
The artiste is facing a health challenge.
AC told Bajan Vibes that for the last few years he had been suffering constant pain in his lumbar and C4/C5 vertebrae.
“It’s not something I have discussed too often; I don’t really think about it. I find that I get a lot of tingling sensations in my arms, mainly in my right arm. Doubled with that, I have a lumbar issue, and that came to the fore in 2008. But the whole issue now is with my neck and the C4/C5 vertebrae disk removal which I’m supposed to be having.
“The pain used to be off and on and I didn’t use to pay it any mind,” he said.
AC said it was because of the constant pain that he had not been doing many uptempo songs during Crop Over for the last few years.
“It’s not because I’m old or getting old; it’s because I can’t be on stage jumping around comfortably because of the situation right now,” he explained.
AC said it was something he had been putting off for quite sometime, but after being told he could suffer from paralysis, he had now taken it more seriously, weighing the pros and cons.
“In speaking to my neurologists, I discovered that the C4/C5 disc was causing a pinch and bulging; hence the tingling feeling. Sometimes when I raise my hand above my head I become tired, and I can’t lift weight. There was a point where even holding a pen to write was a problem. That went on for a little while . . . .
“One scary part about it was that I was told if I got into an accident or got a bad fall, I could be paralyzed. So that start to play on my mind.
“The other part that started to play on my mind is that the procedure has to be done through my throat, and in that region are my vocal cords. So I am thinking now I will either end up with a husky voice or won’t be able to sing at all.”
On Tuesday, former calypso king checked into the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, awaiting surgery today to repair that pinched nerve in his C4/C5 vertebrae.
Sitting on his hospital room having lunch, AC said he could not wait for the surgery to be over so he could start the recovery process.
“I am thinking yes the surgery will be successful, because I still want to take part in Crop Over. Of course, I’m not thinking about the possibility of it damaging vocal cords because they are going through my throat. I try not to think about that. The benefit of it is that there is less risk of my getting paralyzed . . . . Am I scared? No,” AC answered bravely.
He said, though, that he was not looking forward to any bad sore throat.
“The surgery is something that has to be done, and I can’t wait for it to be over.”
The calypsonian revealed he had already even written songs for this year’s Crop Over Festival.
“I have three songs I can choose from. And there will be a fourth. I’ve recorded two ragga socas already that I did last year. I also have another two or three that I have to record.”
But in the event he is not able to take part in the festival, singing anyway, AC said he would focus on his daughter’s performance.
“I’ve been trying now since my daughter was about ten or 11 to get her to enter Junior Monarch. She’s 20 now, so she can’t enter it now. But she has a heck of a voice.
“She’s now decided she wants to sing. So if I can’t sing, I can put my efforts towards Azizi. It’s just a matter of her learning certain things.”
But AC is remaining upbeat, holding that all will go well with the surgery.
“Once this surgery is over, a different Adrian Clarke hopefully should be seen on the entertainment front,” he is assuring his fans.