Last Friday, the Barbados music fraternity lost another one of its gems with the death of musician and educator Melanie Cox.
A passionate practitioner of the arts, Melanie was committed to the development of the local cultural industry.
However, while completing her thesis for her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, in 2014, she was diagnosed with one of life’s greatest enemies – cancer.
Despite her illness, Melanie, who had a golden voice and a soothing tone, never lost her spirit or passion for the arts.
A lover of jazz music, she also loved percussion, whether it was playing the cabasa, wood blocks or her favourite, the tambourine. Melanie simply knew how to keep the groove alive.
I had the pleasure of working with her as a part of Operation Triple Threat’s Jazz Vocal Programme produced by Janelle Headley. Melanie, with her rich British accent, was always the humorous person within the group. Throughout those four months, she shared her jokes to ensure everyone was in high spirits and was never hesitant to share her wealth of knowledge.
To generate discussion and to promote the development of the cultural industry, Melanie created the popular Facebook forum De Culture Train. This network allowed for creatives to share their opinions and make suggestions for the betterment of our cultural product.
Her death has therefore come as a major loss to the country.
As respected musician Wayne Poonka Willock said upon hearing news of her death: “It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce that 2018 has indeed begun on a sad note. . . . She lost the battle. Condolences to all her friends and family”.
His post on De Culture Train was followed by an outpouring of love from producer Chris Allman, veteran calypsonian Adonijah, four time calypso monarch Kid Site and singers Biggie Irie and Kellie Cadogan. These were just a few of the many people who shared fond memories and condolences.
Whilst browsing through tributes, I vividly recalled the passing of Melanie’s very good friend, the late Adrian Boo Husbands. In fact, it was in this very same forum that Melanie had paid glowing tribute to him just about a year ago, saying: “Today I lost one of my best friends”. She said this, whilst sharing a picture of them singing at the funeral service of another departed artiste, Tassa.
One thing I have come to understand, just as death is inevitable, the pain that follows after the loss of a loved one is also inescapable.
We can best find comfort in the good memories we had with Melanie, and kind words she often shared.
In one of her Facebook posts she said: “Keep calm and play on…” and as the music continues to play, her voice shall continue to ring in our ears, while she takes up her new role as an angel singing in God’s heavenly choir.