The death of outstanding Trinidadian steel pannist and arranger, Ken Professor Philmore, has not escaped the fraternity in Barbados.
Philmore who was involved in a car accident on September 24, succumbed to his injuries on Sunday. He was driving his Toyota Hilux north along the Solomon Hochoy Highway in Trinidad when he picked up a skid near Claxton Bay. The vehicle flipped several times and Philmore was thrown out of the cabin. He suffered severe internal injuries in the crash which occured Trinidad & Tobago’s Republic Day holiday. He sustained broken ribs and his lungs had collapsed.
The 58-year-old arranger for Fonclaire Steel Orchestra began his love affair with the instrument at a young age. He was responsible for hits such as Pan By Storm, Pan Ecstasy and Pan In the Party.
Philmore amassed international fame, performing on stages such as the Apollo Theatre, Carnegie Hall and The Royal Albert Hall.
Barbadian pannist David ZigE Walcott last stood on stage with the Professor in 2015. The Professor was an iconic character he grew up hearing about from teachers and fellow performers. It was during his interactions with Philmore that Walcott was captured by his generous and kind spirit.
“Professor was a very loving, energetic man. He wasn’t necessarily the type that was calm and just settled. He was very loving, a people’s person and that also translated into his music, the way he was passionate for music,” said Walcott who described the Professor’s death as a very sad loss for the regional fraternity.
Walcott recalled Philmore’s performances with legendary calypsonian Lord Kitchener and his trademark beret that he wore during the early stages of his career.
Cultural officer for Music Ronald Davis relayed his condolences on behalf of the acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation, Wayne Webster.
“We recognized the passions he had for steel pan, not only in Trinidad but throughout the world. He would have made… invaluable contributions towards pan music,” stated Davis.
Philmore was also known for advocating for the fusion of pan with jazz music and due to his ingenuity he would have performed at Pan Fusion at the Prime Minister’s residence in 2012.
Having interacted with Philmore on the numerous occasions he came to Barbados, Davis reminisced about his willingness to impart advice and instruction to local pannists.
“Without even being prompted, he would offer help and assistance by way of advising our youngsters on how to hold the sticks. If he saw that people were playing wrong notes, he would offer to correct them,” said Davis who also described Philmore as caring and selfless. (KK)