Tonight! Marguerita and Don Drummond

june15 1955 don and margarita

There has been much speculation about how and when Anita Mahfood, stage name Margarita or as it is spelled here, Marguerita, and Don Drummond met each other. Some say it was in the Wareika Hills, but there is evidence they met long before that. Here in this June 15, 1955 advertisement in the Daily Gleaner, we see that Don Drummond and Margarita appeared together on the same bill and it is the earliest proof of their performing together. They performed in the same evening of entertainment which was the order of the day–entertainment after movies, between movies, on the outdoor or indoor stages, featured a variety of acts–dancing, comedy, pantomime, and yes, music.

In 1955, those musicians on the bill weren’t playing ska. Performances like these in the early and mid 1950s, even the late 1950s, were largely jazz or American R&B, or calypso. Janet Enright performs here with Don Drummond and the two were good friends from the get-go. Janet was a female jazz guitarist and Don Drummond took good care of her, like a little sister. And we also see Roland Alphonso on the bill too, another skilled jazz instrumentalist who would go on to perform in the studio and stage with Don for the next decade and in the Skatalites.

This advertisement and the placement of Don and Anita in the same place does not suggest at all that the two started a relationship as early as 1955–not at all. Anita would have been only 16 at this point, in fact she had just turned 16 the day before this ad appears. Four years later she would marry boxer Rudolph Bent and have her first child, although not in that order. Still she would continue to perform on bills like this, on the stages of the movie theaters, in virtually every club in Kingston, commiserating with her fellow performers, like Don Drummond and years later, when they grew close in the Wareika Hills, a relationship was kindled–to a devastating end.

Read the details of their lives and relationship in my book, Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World’s Greatest Trombonist, skabook.com.

9 comments

  1. I AM VERY INTERESTED IN YOUR STORY…
    I know a fair bit myself having chatted to members of Alpha and Studio One vocalists and musicians.
    I was former photographer for Clement Dodd at S.1. for seven years.
    Would like to get the book if published..
    Ron Vester. see my S.1. photos on urbanimag.tv. Blessings.

    • Thanks, Ron! I would love to hear your stories and I bet you have a lot of good ones! I have seen urbanimag.tv and they are fantastic! To buy my book all you have to do is click the skabooks link on the top of my blog–it will take you to my page to buy my book. Thanks so much! I appreciate it.

  2. Hi Heather. I don’t know if Janet Enright is still alive (and if you found her, if she was), but she was still with us in 1999 when I was working on a museum exhibit dealing with Jamaican music. At that time, Sister Ignatius of the Alpha Boys’ School actually introduced us to Ms. Enright, inviting her down to Alpha where we chatted with her for a few hours. Hurricane Gilbert destroyed a bunch of her personal papers, which included love letters that Drummond had written to her. To hear her tell it, she rebuffed his amorous intentions but they remained cordial and friendly. Her own story is quite an interesting one as well. I’ll have to see if I can find my notes from then.

    • Thanks so much, Mark. Janet is still alive and doing well. I talked to her about two months ago for the book I’m writing now called Songbirds: Women in Ska and she was very generous with her story, although didn’t mention these love notes! I will ask her about them and thank you for letting me know! Fascinating.

      • actually, I remembered slightly incorrectly. Those letters weren’t lost in the Hurricane (though other things were), but rather she trashed them herself, to protect him, she said. I’m happily surprised to hear that she’s still alive.

  3. There’s earlier proof of Marguerita and Don on the same bill. Note that being on the same bill doesn’t mean they performed together.

    Also, while I’ve not interviewed her, am pretty sure Janet’s surname is spelled Enwright.

    • So wonderful to hear from you, Brian Keyo. I have not seen any earlier proof of Margarita and Don together on the same bill and would welcome viewing one–that would be a wonderful find! And of course it doesn’t mean they performed together, as I discuss at length in my book, it just means they were together at the same show which could have any number of kinds of performers.

      As for Janet, I am 100 percent positive, could not be more positive, that the spelling of her name is Enright, as she told me herself and made sure it did not get spelled incorrectly with a “w.” Right is right!

      Thanks again, always so nice to hear from you.

  4. The first sentence in your post reads a bit schizo –
    [There has been much speculation about how and when Anita Mahfood, stage name Margarita or as it is spelled here, Marguerita, met each other.]
    I think you left out “and Drummond” in the sentence – no?

    Not trying to be difficult – just attempting to make a great thing even better.

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