Celebrated Barbadian singer Lew “Jiggs” Kirton died in January this year. To honour his memory, Bajan Diaspora Online & Friends, chaired by Mary Yearwood, recently produced a concert entitled A Tribute to Llewellyn “Jiggs” Kirton in New York, held under the patronage of Consul General of Barbados to New York, Mackie Holder.
The concert also served to launch a scholarship fund in Kirton’s name Kirton’s widow, Maureen, and two of his children, Contessa and Omar, attended in person. The audience also included Treva Holder, Mayor Adrian Mapp of Plainfield, New Jersey, and First Lady Amelia, and Reverend Sylvester Taylor,
who said prayers.
A very late start and a slightly too long programme, which was billed to run from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. but went on until 11 p.m., did not dampen the love that reverberated for the late Kirton.
A parade of top stars in New York and Barbados were all generous in their praise of Kirton as a wonderful person, talented drummer and dynamic singer. The tributes were led off by Kirton’s sister Miranda Sealy, virtually.
Those also paying tribute included Cultural Ambassadors Dr The Most Honourable Anthony ‘Gabby’ Carter, who sent a poem, and Dr The Most Honourable Stedson ‘RPB’ Wiltshire; Edwin Yearwood, Nicholas Brancker, Richard Stoute, Desmond Weekes, Susan Grogan, Mike Thompson and
When it was all said and done, one was reminded of, and could not help remarking on, the immense talent that has come out of Barbados. Archie Miller brought the full house at American Legion Hall, Brooklyn, to its feet in a flag waving and congoline session as he debuted his new selection, Crop Over We Coming.
Even so, it was Lew “Zorro” Drayton of the famed Draytons Two who stunned the audience with a performance of Second Chance and a medley of spouge hits.The two standing ovations given the legend said all about his appearance that belied his 70-plus years.
Drayton, who formed a band with “Jiggs” Kirton, his first, and Desmond “Fowl” Weekes, and Miller, who performed in New York with Kirton after both emigrated, were just two of a stellar group of entertainers, in person and online, who paid tribute to the late, celebrated Kirton.
But it was the live performances that mesmerised. From the poem by Ricky Durant, the parade of performers kept the audience singing and dancing along, when it was not stunned into silence by a soaring rendition.
Phil Brathwaite, who sang Talk to Me was outstanding. Mike Remie, Love of a Lifetime and Eternally, Michael Tudor, You Raise Me Up, also captivated the crowd.
Other performers included Orlando Hinds with a new song – Slow Down, Lee Grant – A Woman Like You, Larry “Patches” Small – Tossed from Society, Peter Clarke – My Way and Darley Brown.
The affair was held together excellently by Technic – Andy Hewitt and crew – who synched the online presentations, played the backing tracks for the live performers and then had the audience dancing nonstop.
In his remarks, Consul General Holder noted that Jiggs Kirton was one of the first Barbadians to taste international success and was part of a late 1960s and early 1970s group of talented individuals that gave Barbados its first spurt in entertainment circles outside the country and touching international success.
He said that the talent was obvious and all that was missing was just that little bit of luck, and urged Barbadians to continue supporting the wealth of talent emanating from the island.
Kirton enjoyed some international success as the drummer in the Sam and Dave Band, lead singer of the Invitations, and recording contracts at MCA and TK records and chart hits including, Do What You Want, Be What You Are, Talk to Me, Love of a Lifetime and Heaven in the Afternoon. He released two albums, Forever in 2005 and So Into You in 2010.
Holder also hailed Lew Drayton and said it was one of his proudest moments to be able to present him with the Legend Award in 2019 at the Barbados Independence Gala.
Other members of the organizing committee for the concert were Mike Remie, Ricardo Durant, Marcia Durant, Peter Clarke and Michael Tudor. (MH)