Ska Funeral Mash Up

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This is the site of Don Drummond’s funeral on May 14, 1969, Madden’s Funeral Home. I visited there in 2011 while doing research and it is still in use today. The site is seemingly quiet here although it wasn’t so on the day of Drummond’s funeral. A few weeks ago I wrote about May Pen Cemetery and the chaos of the grounds, overrun by gangs aligned withe the JLP and PNC, and the reason’s why Drummond’s exact grave site cannot be located (which is discussed further and with great detail in my book), but today I wanted this blog to focus on the funeral and the controversy surrounding that event.

Madden’s Funeral Chapel is located in downtown Kingston on North Street, not far from Jubilee Hospital where Don Drummond was born. He was buried at 9:25 a.m. on May 18, 1969 in the May Pen Cemetery in grave number A346. He is listed in burial records as a Roman Catholic. Entombment was private, for only family. Musicians such as Sonny Bradshaw took up funds to pay for Drummond’s funeral since his mother was unable to afford the cost. Sister Ignatius paid for the burial. The burial included a few attendants other than just family. Present at the cemetery were “a few CID men from Denham Town and Central Station . . . in case of any incident,” according to the Daily Gleaner. This was done in order to keep a sense of decorum for the family in a time when emotions were still raw, and is likely one reason why the exact location of Drummond’s grave is still not known today.

Just four days earlier on May 14th, 1969, pandemonium broke out at Drummond’s funeral when drummer Hugh Malcolm moved past an enormous crowd of those paying their last respects to Drummond. He burst into the packed funeral home just as the officiating priest was about to administer the services. Reports that Malcolm tore up the death certificate are merely rumor or embellishment, unless it was a prop certificate, since the death certificate was not issued until August 22, 1969. But Malcolm did demand the service be stopped and that there should be no burial until the results of the post mortem were known.

Administrators today claim the record has been destroyed. But during the funeral, Malcolm demanded to see the post mortem because “a relative of Drummond said that the protestor declared that he had been informed that Drummond had not died from natural causes but that before his death he was beaten by four men in the institution,” according to an article in the Daily Gleaner. The service was then called off because the family did not want anyone to get hurt or for a riot to break out.

What do you think? Was Don Drummond murdered at Bellevue as Hugh Malcolm claimed? Did he commit suicide? Did he die from natural causes? Or did he die as a result of the rudimentary treatment and terrible conditions of Bellevue? I give my thoughts in my book, Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World’s Greatest Trombonist, but the answer is not certain and I would love to hear your thoughts.

Bellevue Mental Hospital

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It is the week of Halloween and I see advertisements everywhere for haunted houses, many of them “insane asylums” with silly images of fake butchered patients at the hands of saw-wielding zombies as Marilyn Manson plays in the background. I can’t help but think of the real life insane asylum that is part of ska history, Bellevue Mental Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica, home to trombonist Don Drummond during the last years of his life and periods throughout his life. While Bellevue was never a site of such horrific butchering as will likely be portrayed in haunted houses, it is still haunted with inhumane treatment and horrifying scenes, as I witnessed when I visited the interior of this hospital last February. The photo above is a patient’s artwork on a boarded up, abandoned building located on Bellevue grounds.

First, let me share a little about Bellevue’s history, which you can also read about in more detail, including information on Don’s treatment and death in my book, Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World’s Greatest Trombonist, available by clicking the books link above.

In the mid-1800s, Kingston had only a single public hospital located on North Street and West Street. This hospital served the city’s 30,000 people and contained the Jamaica Lunatic Asylum, as it was called at the time. Accommodations were so awful that one former senior medical officer claimed they were “little better than stables for animals.” Treatment for patients during these early years was primitive at best and included such procedures as “tanking,” or submerging patients into a shallow tank of water many times to reduce their aggressiveness, or rather forcing compliance, not unlike today’s torturous water boarding. Private medical practitioner Dr. Lewis Bowerbank changed these conditions when he appealed to the Colonial Office in London to make investigations into the mistreatment of patients. As a result, Bellevue Mental Hospital was built in 1861, delayed initially by an outbreak of cholera in 1850. But the hospital wasn’t known as the Bellevue Mental Hospital in those days. It was called the Jamaica Lunatic Asylum, then in 1938 the name changed to the Jamaica Mental Hospital and later it was called Bellevue Mental Hospital.  

It is interesting to note that as improvements were made over the years, namely in the areas of nutrition, uniforms and sleeping conditions, recreation, occupational opportunities, and skilled treatment, there was also a brass band that was organized in 1860 to help provide recreational and therapeutic opportunities for patients. This continued during Don Drummond’s tenure and he periodically played with this band, even tutoring a patient there. A senior medical officer remembers that this student was known as Trommie but his real name was Eleazor Beckford. Music is still used as a form of occupational therapy at the hospital today.

The medical treatment patients received at Bellevue were rudimentary in the early days and during the days of Don Drummond’s stay. In the 1800s, the main medication for patients in the asylum was alcohol—brandy, wine, rum, and gin were given to patients. This was greatly reduced and replaced by drugs and castor oil. Overcrowding was always an issue so knocking out patients helped the limited staff, who was not skilled in the early days, deal with clients. During my visit to the hospital, no staff at all was visible in multiple buildings as patients roamed their fenced-in areas, barefoot, bandages unraveling from their heads.

In the 1960s, when Don Drummond lived at Bellevue, one form of treatment was prevalent, having just emerged into the medical industry in Jamaica. In addition to drugs that would have rendered Drummond a zombie, he also was treated with electro-shock therapy. Don’s fellow musicians confirm that he received this treatment at Bellevue, as does the senior medical officer’s (SMO) family who was there, living on the estate, at the time. “EST was definitely the thing, electroshock. The medication would have been basically heavy sedatives. There were basically things to kind of conk you out. Drummond was pretty zonked out from early on,” says the SMO’s daughter. The drugs that Don was given by the unskilled staff were drugs that have since been banned since they are fatal. One administrator told me, “We used strait jackets to restrain different patients. We also had chemical restraints, sodium barbital. The patient would be tranquilized to the extent that they would sleep for a few days and given glucose. They would come out and be in a different state. We also used chlorpromazine, or CPs for short.” Sodium barbital is the same class of drug that killed Jimi Hendrix and Marilyn Monroe.

Was Don Drummond killed in this house of horrors? You can read my thorough research into this and my conclusion in my book. What do you think?

Don Drummond Royalties

Royalties from Coxsone to Yap

This is a document showing royalties that Coxsone paid to Justin Yap for use of the Top Deck songs Justin recorded that Coxsone then used on the Studio One album, The Best of Don Drummond. These songs were “Confucius,” “The Reburial,” and “Ringo” which appeared on this album, also Yap also recorded others with Drummond like “Chinatown,” “Smiling,” and “Marcus Junior” but Coxsone didn’t place these on this album. So this statement is for three of the songs that Top Deck recorded, a measly $157 for seven months of sales. It is surprising the royalties were paid at all, frankly. But Drummond was dead by this time, having just died that May 1969, so he certainly didn’t see a dime and even if he were alive, he still wouldn’t have seen a dime. Other songs on the album that were not recorded by Studio One and were instead recorded by Duke Reid for Treasure Isle, according to the album notes, are “Eastern Standard Time,” “Occupation,” “Don D Lion,” “Cool Smoke,” “Aliphang” (should be Alipang), “Corner Stone,” and “Burning Torch.” Wonder if royalties were paid to Reid?!

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This album also credits the artist who performed with Don Drummond on these tunes, or certainly some of them: Roland Alphonso, Johnny Moore, Tommy McCook, Bobby Gaynair, Lester Sterling, Lloyd Knibb, Lloyd Brevett, Brother Jerry (Jah Jerry Haynes), Jackie Mittoo, Gladstone Anderson, and Charlie Organaire. If you are near Chicago and attend any of the Jamaica Oldies events hosted by Chuck Wren you will see Charlie Organaire take the stage with his harmonica for a few tunes, and let me tell you, he is amazing. Charlie lives in Chicago. Lester still performs frequently with the Skatalites, but unfortunately, all other musicians listed here have returned to the universe to commune.

Back to the topic of royalties. Musicians during the days of ska never received royalties. They didn’t know about royalties. They knew their instrument, not the business, in many instances. The way it worked in the studio was artists either punched in and out on a time clock, or others were paid by the record side, about two pounds a tune if they were lucky. And today, the royalties are owned by the producers and their estates, so those whose talent and imagination created the song, like Don Drummond and Roland Alphonso and even Bob Marley in his earliest years, either don’t see a dime or receive a small slice of the pie from reworked agreements. For example, on one of Bob Marley’s first songs, a ska song called “Simmer Down,” only Bob Marley’s estate and Coxsone Dodd’s estate, since he recorded the song for Studio One in 1964, receive royalties, and they fought in court in the 1990s for monies from the song. None of the artists who perform the actual music on this song that sold 80,000 copies just in the months following its release, not Roland Alphonso on saxophone, nor Lloyd Knibb on drums, nor Lloyd Brevett on bass, nor Don Drummond on trombone, nor Tommy McCook on saxophone, nor any of the others, not even the Wailers who sing backup, Peter Tosh, Bunny Livingston, Junior Braithwaite, and Beverley Kelso, get one red cent from Simmer Down. Marley’s widow, Rita Marley, said she had never received money from any of Marley’s early work with Coxsone. This is but one song of hundreds, thousands, earning hundreds, thousands for their producers’ estates. Producers defend their exploitation by saying that it was the system of the day, akin to today’s “free culture” of ripping tracks from a torrent or megaupload music site.

 

 

 

Ska at the Glass Bucket

Glass Bucket

This is the Glass Bucket Club, a stage that once bore the greats before ska ever existed. This stage helped to shape the musicians who would go on to create the sound that swept Jamaica and the world. Without this stage, it could be argued that Jamaican music would be altered and unrecognizable.

The Glass Bucket Club opened on December 22, 1934 on Half Way Tree Road in Kingston owned by Bob Webster and later Joe Abner. This area of Kingston was a border between uptown and downtown and the club certainly catered to high-class clientele. On opening night, some 700 patrons packed the club to see “the Rhythm Raiders, a new dance orchestra under the direction of’ Dan Williams. These musicians have been carefully chosen. not only to play for dancing, but to accompany the Vaudeville troupe which will be a regular feature of the Glass Bucket dances. Vaudeville acts are to be brought from the United States, each troupe remaining on the island for six weeks beginning January 5th,” read the Daily Gleaner announcing the opening.

Because the club catered to the upper classes and tourists, the entertainment offered was according to established tastes and was frequently dictated by trends in the U.S., such as Vaudeville. But when tastes changed from Vaudeville to the sounds of big band orchestras, the Glass Bucket adapted. It was here, at the Glass Bucket in 1956, that great American jazz singer Sarah Vaughan came to perform in mid July. Don Drummond played trombone as part of Vaughan’s musical backup and Vaughn was so impressed with his playing that she said he likely ranked in the top five trombonists in the world. Other acts included Xavier Cugat and Abby Lane. In the 40s and 50s the people who went the Glass Bucket wore gowns and tuxedos, or suits at least. There were formal shows on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and galas of all sorts.

It was also here that Margarita, who was advertised in Glass Bucket advertisements as “Jamaica’s No. 1 Torrid Rhumba Dancer,” performed her sultry dance. Another advertisement on July 9, 1955 for her performance at the Glass Bucket stated, “Sparkling Native Flooor Show featuring Desir & Rahma in their sensational dance on broken glass, and Marguerita, ‘exotic dancer.'” Margarita’s father, Jad Eid Mahfood, did not approve of her dancing at the Glass Bucket, or anywhere, but she snuck out to do it anyway. When Anita won a competition at the Glass Bucket, her father was there to see it, unbeknownst to her. Her father’s discovery never stopped her though. The Glass Bucket also served as the live broadcast venue of the Teenage Dance Party (TDP) hosted by Sonny Bradshaw which was broadcast on JBC Radio in its early days. Later, Winston Blake played the venue with Merritone Disco, and his moves made him the first King of the TDP.

Byron Lee & the Dragonaires first performed here in 1960. Lee recounted these days for an article in the Daily Gleaner. “When you go to the Glass Bucket you had to have a reputation.  We used to play as an opening act,” for such entertainers as Perez Prado from Cuba and Sammy Davis Junior. Soon they graduated to holding main spots of their own. Lee said the Glass Bucket’s real party days were Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with lunch being served and activities such as rehearsals being conducted during the week. On party nights, when the music was provided by a band before clubs utilized sound systems, the music started at 9 p.m. and by 1 a.m. things were winding down. “By 8 p.m. people started to come in. They expected that you would start at 9 p.m., or they would clap you,” Lee said. Lee remembers that it was also a very peaceful time. “You used to park your car, don’t roll up your windows when you come back everything was inside. Sometimes even the key was in it,” he said. Lee brought ska to the Glass Bucket from what he had seen at Chocomo Lawn, sent there by Edward Seaga to popularize the sound. “Glass Bucket mash up the night. Glass Bucket was for the rich and famous and then for the people. Ska played that role,” said Lee.

Today, the site of the Glass Bucket, which changed names to VIP during the later 1960s, is a shopping plaza.

 

9 Rusden Road

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This is 9 Rusden Road, the house where Don Drummond lived with and murdered Anita Mahfood, Margarita in the Rockfort neighborhood at the foot of the Wareika Hills. I took this photo last February and it was my second time visiting the home which a lovely woman named Carmen still lives in. These are her grandchildren sitting on the front steps, the same steps that Margarita climbed early in the morning on January 2, 1965. Don Drummond had fallen asleep earlier in the night and missed his gig with the Skatalites at the La Parisienne Club in Harbour View, a club near the Palisadoes Airport in east Kingston. He never made it to that performance. It was not the first time he missed a gig. He frequently missed performances or was late for a gig. Tommy McCook has said that he went to pick up Don at 8 p.m., prior to the gig, and found him asleep so he left without him and returned after their first set during intermission to try again. Still, Don was asleep, a side effect of the medicine he took, said McCook.

I want to take a moment to logically think about an argument that has been made over the years blaming Margarita for giving him his medication late, causing him to fall asleep, and then slipping out to dance against his wishes. How would we know that Margarita did that? She was dead so she couldn’t tell. Could Don have claimed that Margarita gave him his medication late? Not likely as Don was despondent and what talking he did do at the Rockfort Police Station was a lie since he claimed that Margarita stabbed herself and that was proven untrue. It simply defies logic to argue that Margarita administered Don’s medication that night, but it does put the blame on her so it is interesting that those in disbelief over the incident would want to shift the blame.

Margarita’s best friend, Faye Chin, remembers the murder which was easily overheard by the other tenants of the house. That’s right, there were other tenants in this small home. It was split into four rooms with Don and Anita occupying one. It was furnished with two single beds and a desk that contained Don’s compositions on paper. Faye says, “Now this place was like a house and you rent a room and another person rent a room and another person rent a room. So this woman that her room was behind their room, she said she heard when Anita came in and she laid down on her bed, she heard a scream and said, ‘Oh God, Don what are you doing?’ She’s screaming, ‘Don, what are you doing?’ And he stabbed her so badly. There was no blood. The knife stabbed her in the chest. I got a call early in the morning and I phoned Conchita, her sister, I tell her, ‘Okay, I’m coming to pick you up,’ and I drove over to Conchita’s house, pick her up and we went down to identify the body. She had on her jeans (sobbing) and she had on a shirt with a stain in the front at her waist and she was just laying on her bed on her back (sobbing uncontrollably).”

You can read all about the murder from the recollections of many fellow family, friends, and musicians, as well as the trial that ensued in my book Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World’s Greatest Trombonist (click the “skabooks” link above for more info). I would love to hear your thoughts on this event that literally changed the course of music in Jamaica forever, for it was after this event that the Skatalites broke up without their master composer and it was after this event that the heat wave that summer ushered in slower rocksteady and subsequent reggae. How important do you think Don Drummond was to ska?

 

Maypen Cemetery

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This is the sepulchre of the great Lloyd Brevett, bass player for the Skatalites. He was always one of my favorites with his little jump to the rhythm as he played, his dreads long and thin like him, like his bass. What a master. His resting place here is located at Maypen Cemetery off of Spanish Town Road and I was able to visit it last February, escorted by the superintendent of the cemetery, Mr. Cornwell. Why I had to be escorted is no surprise, if anyone knows this location. Maypen Cemetery is located in West Kingston near the yards of warring factions of the garrisons, the Jamaican term for housing project which then spread to include neighborhoods. Aligned with their political parties, the PNP and JLP, the gangs and their dons rule the nearby garrisons which include Tivoli Gardens (scene of the 2010 raid involving Dudus Coke–see this wonderful article for more info: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/12/12/111212fa_fact_schwartz), Olympic Gardens, Denham Town, Tower Hill, Trench Town, Cockburn Pen, Brownsland, and more. Dons rule their garrisons and dictate elections and their micro-economies through the sale of drugs and weapons.

When I visited, Mr. Cornwell was certain to taut the benefits of former prime minister Edward Seaga for his people. He asked me if I had met him and said he was a “very good man.” Cornwell wore a green shirt, an affiliation with the JLP. It was evident which gang ruled the area. Cornwell told me that we could not go into an area of the cemetery I wished to visit, the area where Don Drummond is buried, although it is unknown exactly where because he was buried in an unmarked grave in a section reserved for paupers, criminals, and lunatics. The number of his grave is known, but the numbering system is long abandoned and without record, I am told. Why can’t I visit the area I wish to see? Not only is it covered in bush, graves and tombs destroyed exposing human remains, as I witnessed, but it is also ruled by the gangs. When a “flare up” occurs in a nearby garrison, members of the gangs flood out from the cemetery to clash with their opposition. They are lying in wait. They rule the cemetery like their garrisons so that even the superintendent of the cemetery is not safe to visit, to maintain.

Ska greats are interred here–Lloyd Brevett, Don Drummond, others perhaps–among the violence of the gangs, among the rotting bodies that are dumped here after a “flare up,” among the areas no longer touched for fear that those buried during outbreaks of cholera and typhoid will release their toxins like zombies. Instead of monuments to honor the legacy of these heroes, this is what remains. I say, let’s honor them by celebrating their life, their music, their genius by continuing to carry the torch of their creation. Roll on!

Mama Drummond

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This is the birth record for Doris Maud Munroe, Don Drummond’s mother. She was born on January 7, 1913 in Flower Hill, a tiny village in the parish of Westmoreland, Jamaica. Today this town only has a population of 2,000 so it is likely that it was much smaller a century ago. It is likely that Munroe was the surname given to the family by their slave masters. The surname Munroe is of Scottish origin so it is likely that the Munroe family was once owned by Scottish landowners. As indicated on this records, Doris’s mother, Hannah Lee Munroe, was a laborer. The person who signs the birth record is Leonard Munroe, but it is not known if he was a husband, father, or brother. What is evident is that the record is signed with an “X the mark of” which means that Leonard was not literate, not uncommon in rural Jamaica in these early days. It was signed in the presence of Iphigenia McKenzie, the registrar of births and deaths for the St. Peters district. Don’s father, Uriah Adolphus Drummond, was born in Westmoreland in a village called Broughton on May 4, 1908. Uriah’s mother, Rhoda, was a labourer. No more is known of Uriah. By the time Doris was to give birth to Don Drummond at age 19, she had moved to Kingston, perhaps to provide for a more modern birth for her son at Victoria Jubilee Hospital and perhaps to seek more job opportunities to provide for her son.

 

 

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.

Ska’s Next Generation in Jamaica

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Take a look at what the Alpha Boys Band is learning to play–Addis Ababba, written by Don Drummond! I visited the Alpha Boys School for the first time in 2011 and again this year and Band Director Sparrow Martin is always challenging his boys with music of the greats, like Don D, as well as classical, band music, jazz, and all types of music. This sweet boy, Kadeem who was 12 in 2011, had no idea that Don Drummond had written this song when I stopped by to watch him practice. When I asked him, “Do you know who wrote this?” and I told him Don Drummond, he realized that one of his own, an Alpha Boy just like him, had become a composer, a world-renown music, a national hero despite the horrors of his life.

Sparrow continues to foster his youth at Alpha. He himself was an Alpha Boy since he was 10 years old and has served as band leader since 1989. “You must play with me, mon!” he tells the boys and he leads them with his small electronic keyboard or drumsticks on the back of a metal chair. At the encouragement of the late great Lloyd Brevett, Sparrow has founded Ska Rebirth, a group of Alpha Boys who have graduated from the band and shown exceptional skill. They perform many of the Skatalites original songs. Sparrow says, “What we are doing here is not just starting a band. We are starting a movement, one which will bring back the original sound of ska from its roots and home, Alpha boys school in Kingston Jamaica, and spread it once again across the entire world. This is the real SKA Rebirth!!”

I had the pleasure of hearing them practice in February 2013–let me tell you, they are amazing! They were surprised I recognized the songs–can you imagine!? But Jamaicans many times don’t have an appreciation for the past, the foundation ska, like many others around the world do. Ska is called “granny music” or “the oldies” by Jamaican youth who prefer to listen to dancehall. But the music of the Skatalites is begin given a “rebirth” by Sparrow and others like Jamaica Music Museum Curator and Founder Herbie Miller, and Historian and Tribute to the Greats Founder Kingsley Goodison. The music of Don Drummond and the Skatalites continues on!

To hear Ska Rebirth’s killer take on a classic Skatalites tune, visit Ska Rebirth Song and like them on Facebook, Facebook Ska Rebirth

Margarita Mahfood

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With the recent release of my book, Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World’s Greatest Trombonist, and the launch of this blog, I thought it only fitting to start with Anita Mahfood and a photo of her father and sisters that didn’t make it into the book. I love this photo. I think it says it all. There are the four sweet girls, innocent and young, full of potential and life, and their protective father, Jad Eid Mahfood, behind them, proud, brooding. But there is something sinister beneath the surface. Anita, the beautiful cherub, appears on the far left next to her sisters Janet, Conchita, and Monira from left to right. Theses four girls would each experience their own level of abuse from Jad Eid depending on the stages of his suffering. Anita would leave that home to go to another where the abuse was worse, marrying Rudolph Bent, the great British Honduran boxer, only after she was pregnant by him, the result of a rape. She would leave that marriage for the security of another, Don Drummond, her colleague of many years in the entertainment circuit–she a rhumba dancer, he the greatest trombonist the island, perhaps the world, had ever heard. But that abuse was worse than all others, resulting in her murder at Drummond’s hands early the morning of January 2nd, 1965 after she returned from her performance at Club Havana where she headlined.

I was sad to learn that Conchita had passed away this year in her home near Toronto, Canada. She was the last of the four girls here on earth. Jad Eid passed away the year after Anita was murdered–a heart attack, or a broken heart. Janet passed away a few years ago and Monira before that. Such tragedy had come to this family, not only from Anita’s murder and the aftermath of the pain that all the sisters and family felt, especially Anita’s children, forever, but also there was the tragedy of the girls’ mother, Brenda May Virtue, who attempted suicide twice before succeeding a third time. It was a brutal life. But in this photo, all appears happy, peaceful, loving, proud. You would never know by looking at this beautiful family photo all the pain that would follow.

I promise not to make all of my blogs so macabre. It’s just that, as I said, I do love this photo and my publisher wasn’t able to put it in, said the resolution wasn’t good enough and it was the only version I had. The world of foundation ska is big and there are many things for me to talk about, most all brighter than this, so upward and onward!