by: Sascha Wilson
As a street in San Fernando was officially renamed after pan extraordinaire Lennox ‘Bobby’ Mohamed, a call whas been made for citizens to be honoured for their outstanding contributions while they are alive.
“Our icons let us not wait until they are no longer here to recognise and reward the contributions that they have made,” said San Fernando deputy mayor Vidya Mungal-Bissessar at the ceremony at the bandstand on Harris Promenade.
The one-way street runs to the back behind the bandstand to Library corner. Mungal-Bissessar said the children and future generations needed to know the “the history that has come together to create Trinidad and Tobago that we live in. That is something that we miss.”
She encouraged others to follow in the footsteps of musician Krystal Yacub who did her thesis on Mohamed. “Start recording. There are people who make contributions to our country like Bobby and nobody remembers because no one has recorded it.”
Seventy-six-year-old Mohamed led the San Fernando-based steel band Guinness Cavaliers to victory, capturing two Panorama titles with his San Fernando, in 1965 and 1967.
He also made history as the youngest arranger, at age 22, to win the Panorama title.
Sharing her research on Mohamed, Yacub recalled at the Panorama finals in 1965, “Bobby’s band the Guinness Cavaliers was the last band to perform that night and rumour is the band sounded as if there were 100 base players when in reality there were only four his arranging quickly caught on to other arrangers and Bobby is now credited to have invented the sound which is known as the sound of the south band.
“Bobby has also been credited for introducing the bell in Panorama arrangement and a multitude of other features such as the Panorama base movement that uses pauses and sudden drops.”
Mohamed, Yacub said, received a multitude of awards and acknowledgements, including the Trinidad and Tobago Humming Bird Gold medal and was inducted into the Caribbean Sunshine Award Hall of Fame in New York in 2000. Assuring that a lot of thought and research is done before a street is renamed, San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello said the former name of the Lennox Bobby Mohammed St, was Harris Promenade East.
Responding to an objection to Quenca Street being renamed Dr Rupert Indar Street, he said Mr Quenca was the clerk of Governor Chacon and made no meaningful contribution to the development of San Fernando. “Mr Mohamed and others like him has shaped the landscape of the city of San Fernando and is worthy of this recognition. We at the council will continue to look at those who have made contributions not only in the art form.” Mohamed expressed his heartfelt thanks for the honour. “First of all, I thank God for this privilege, to keep me alive so I could see this.”
Saying that music is a great part of his soul, Mohamed recalled that he grew up hearing his mother play the piano. Kaisokah Moko Jumbies leader Junior Bisnath created a banner in Mohamed honour which was stuck to a pan caravan. Among those attending the ceremony were Mohamed’s band members Terry Lakatoo and Lester Mohammed.