Cultural centers

Tobago calypsonian receives cultural send-off

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Friends and family paid their last respects to the deceased Tobago calypsonian and songwriter Sherwin Cunningham’s funeral at Elizabeth Dennis Baird Recreation Grounds, Mason Hall, Tobago last Thursday. –

The late Sherwin Cunningham, 55, received a major cultural send-off on Thursday, reflecting the songwriter and calypsonian’s deep love for music and the performing arts.

The former manager of the kaiso D’Masters tent in Tobago died last week on Tuesday after a sudden illness.

Jay-Anne Baptiste Campbell, centre, niece of deceased Tobago calypsonian and songwriter Sherwin Cunningham, performs at Cunningham’s funeral. –

Dozens of people gathered at the Elizabeth Dennis Baird Recreation Ground in Mason Hall to pay their last respects to a man who has dedicated his life to developing and promoting Tobago’s culture and the talents of its up-and-coming artists.

Cunningham’s considerable influence was evident among the mourners as politicians and religious leaders sat side by side with well-known cultural activists and artists he had mentored over the years.

Sharon Cunningham, right, sister of deceased Tobago calypsonian and songwriter, Sherwin Cunningham, mourns her brother’s funeral held at Elizabeth Dennis Baird Recreation Grounds, Mason Hall, Tobago last Thursday. –

Mason Hall singer Sharon Phillips sang an emotional rendition of the R&B song, It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday, popularized by Boys II Men.

She prefaced her performance by saying that Cunningham was the brother she never had.

Tshervy Cunningham, center, son of deceased Tobago calypsonian and songwriter, Sherwin Cunningham, cries silently with his girlfriend and mother of his son, Kianna Reid, left, and sister She’Ann Cunningham, right during the Sherwin’s funeral held at Elizabeth Dennis Baird Recreation Grounds, Mason Hall, Tobago last Thursday. –

An emotional Phillips said she was in the studio recording one of Cunningham’s songs when she heard the news of his death.

She added that they were working on several projects which she said would put Tobago on the international stage. Phillips told the mourners that all projects started by Cunningham would be finished.

Cunningham family friend Jewel Mathews, centre, cries a tear as other family friends around her mourn in happy jubilee at Sherwin Cunningham’s funeral. –

She said his sudden death testifies to the fact that time is not promised to anyone.