An Icon Gone

Trinidad and Tobago awoke this morning in a state of unsettlement – not out of the stressful Tobago House of Assembly matter– but because Sandra de Vignes had died in the wee hours of the morning.

Like the shadow cast by the assemblymen over the changes that must come to the island soon, Sandra cast a new wave of possibility of her people.

 It was almost as if, in the early morning dew, she was cutting a way through for those of us who need help to venture safely forward.

 How many times have various poets and priests failed to plumb the depths of our souls with lines that could never reach the bottom of our hearts much less our beings?

 With Ricqcolia Philip at launch of new song “Cleansing Fire” – “Loop TT News”

Not so Sandra,  the woman who was “stronger than a wall” and who understood the reality of the ghetto as a world where you could draw no circle as you watched your girl child’s belly swelling amid the gunshots shattering her one-room solitude. 

Listen to the tributes which have been coming in fast and furious since the sad news was announced.

Fay-Ann Lyons described Singing Sandra as “the embodiment of a powerful female Artiste” who always had a message in her music, and “Queen Mother of Calypso”.

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Bunji Garlin asked the “Trinidad Guardian” to send out condolences to those loved ones whom Sandra has left behind with her passing on and acknowledged her loving mentorship.

“She never feared coming to all those youth events of all sorts and shining bright as an example that talent trumps gaps of any type. We were blessed to have such an icon belonging to T&T,” Bunji said.

Leston Paul lamented Sandra’s loss, noting that it is a great loss to the calypso industry. Nicky Crosby noted on her Instagram feed that she, too, like Bunji Garlin, benefitted from Singing Sandra’s mentorship.

“Heartbroken this morning. Our beloved Singing Sandra has transitioned this morning. Can’t believe it. A woman who held my hand in the earlies of my career. And continued holding it. She was mother, sister, friend to many. Rest well, my friend. You did well…”

For Sandra, music and dance were the spirit of the revolution which amplified in the hearts and minds of people on the big stage of life, ever aware of the magic she was about and the effect she was having. 

We will all remember the gracious lady who evoked life in the ghetto and brought us in touch with these feelings which many of us in the comfort of our middle class homes, had lost touch with.

“Crying, crying,

Voices from the ghetto”, she cried plaintively.

 From Barbados Today

This was her lonely journey on every stage in the Caribbean, trying to coordinate the drum beats with the larger heart of her people as our common consciousness shaped itself in meaning and mission. 

RIP, friend, sister, and mother. May you sing upfront with the angels until we meet again.

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