FOND FAREWELL FOR FROGGY: FEMALE CALYPSONIAN OF BARBADOS PASSES IN HER 90’s
They came in their numbers to the chapel at Westbury Cemetery to celebrate the life of the late Phylis ‘Froggy’ Collymore-Alleyne and to pay their last respects to the 81 year old artiste best known for songs such as “Ada Sow Pig”, “Mama had two Dumplins in de Pot” and “Doin’ it Bad, Bad, Bad till the Mornin’” all of which she wrote herself and performed as far back as the 1950’s.
In the distinguished presence of Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett, MP Cynthia Forde and NCF CEO Dr. Donna Hunte-Cox, tributes flowed aplenty. In addressing a congregation which included luminaries from the world of local entertainment such as Richard Stoute, Mark Lord, Grynner, Natalie Burke, Terrencia ‘TC’ Coward, Mark Williams and Al Gilkes, Minster Lashley lauded the efforts of the self-styled “Friends of Froggy” who had come together to organise a send off befitting a pioneering female calypsonian.
Minister Lashley also spoke of the importance of preserving Barbados’ culture, not least as it relates to the art form of Calypso and was pleased to hear that the Barbados Museum had offered to accept and display Froggy’s beloved guitar together with an award for her contribution to the calypso art form which was presented to her during Crop Over 2011 by Celebration Time Tent after she gave her last public performance on stage at the Gymnasium. The Minister also encouraged the “Friends of Froggy” to continue their campaign and promised Government’s support to help establish the discovery and display of artefacts and memorabilia belonging to other artistes to ensure that Barbados’ musical culture would be preserved for generations to come.
Also of note were the many contributions to the ceremony by local artistes such as Terry Arthur, whose Steel Pan welcomed the congregation to the chapel; Mike Sealey, whose guitar accompanied some of the hymns, and veteran Lord Radio who stepped up to the microphone and gave an impromptu and heartfelt rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’.
Other tributes came from BATMAN President, St. Clair Gittens who reflected on Froggy’s legendary performances at Club Morgan and subsequently at tents including House of Soca and Alien Forces; Peter Boyce who delivered the Eulogy and shared fond memories of his encounters with Froggy, as well as reminding all assembled that the history and development of calypso is something of which we as Barbadians should be proud, and nurse and friend, Marcia Pearce who recalled how Froggy continued to play and sing at every opportunity at the Gordon Cummins Hospital where she spent her final years, taking great care to rehearse and prepare for every performance, however small. With performances of some of Froggy’s favourite hymns by the Gordon Cummins Hospital Choir and the St. Thomas Community Chorale, the service was conducted with great style by Reverend Davidson Bowen, who spoke of the importance of the love that resides in all of us and the need to share it with each other every single day.
Thanks to the “Friends of Froggy”, and all those who attended today’s ceremony, Phylis Collymore-Alleyne’s artistic contribution to the cultural heritage of Barbados will be remembered and preserved.