Trinidad & Tobago - Condolences to Sophie, the Philmore family, the extended family which includes the global pan community for the loss of one of the most down to earth human beings one could ever meet.
Words cannot express the loss I feel after being an integral part of Ken’s musical energy, spirit and love creating music together for 11 songs for Panorama, since 2008 from Hooked to Calling Meh to Vibes to Sweet 50. Before meeting him I would always hear of this legend called the Professor, who was bigger than life in my mind after hearing Pan by Storm so many times, until we met at a family event on Boxing Day 2005. I had met Brian, Ken’s brother a couple years before, who attended such events, who would say “you guys need to get together” as he was concerned about Ken being disenchanted, but obviously having so much more music to give. That fateful day Brian brought Ken along, this bigger than life character in my mind, who turned out to be so simple, regular, and humble. At such family events I would preview my songs for the family for the upcoming pan season. That day I launched the song “Colours Again” for 2006 sung by Destra the start of a music journey where Destra, Ken and myself would somehow become intertwined. Ken heard it and said “daiz the one ah going with” after only meeting him for the first time. Out of the 11 songs we ended up doing together, Destra would be singing 8 of those songs. So happy she is here to sing for Ken today.
The musical chemistry was instant, with lots of fun, happiness, and positivity, in the panyards and in the studio year after year with most music produced by Junior Ibo Joseph, and Kenny Phillips for the last tune we did. Sometimes I would send music from Angola, or Australia, and we would complete it when I visited Trinidad. We would anxiously await what Destra would write to make it her own. He would take my calls after arranging whole night and describe not only what he did, but how it was done with the immersion of his heart and soul in the picture he was painting. He would say with boundless optimism “we winning this year” but mostly year after year, apart from “Hooked”, he would only go through more disappointments in the results and occasionally voiced a lack of respect and recognition for his work.
Yet the next year after we sketched a melody it would revive him and lift his spirit and the cycle would start again. Ken, thank you for the music you left us, it was you who uplifted me, and it has been an honour and privilege with some of the best memories I will cherish. Ken brought funk, soul, vibes, raw talent, professionalism, passion for his craft and our culture, and individual love for the people he met. Everybody must have another family member, because everyone I meet now saying he was their brother.