Letters & Opinion

Charles Cadet’s death begs again for state recognition of the artistic fraternity

Image of Carlton Ishmael
By Carlton Ishmael

FEW people of this generation would know the name Charles Cadet, but for those who kept in touch with the performing arts in the 1960s and up to the e1980s would be familiar with his name.

As for me, I have vivid memories of him because he was involved in the musical productions done by the St Lucia Arts Guild, of which I was a member.

At the time, the Guild had two artistic directors, one being Roderick Wolcott (when he was on island because he had taken up residence with his family in Canada) and in his absence Allan Weeks held that fort. But Roddy was always sought to direct major productions, especially if they were major ones for festivals like the Caribbean festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) or a cultural exposition, considering that he was also a playwright.

It was at that time that Mr Cadet became relevant, because musicals were usually the chosen performances for such events. Two such plays were The Banjo Man and Chanson Marianne and he was chosen, with the cast, to arrange and select the choice music, not forgetting that he also had a brilliant voice.

So, in collaboration with other musical talent inputs like Joyce Auguste and Bam Charles, to name a few, the musicals parts were put in place.

No doubt, there were lots of other iconic persons doing the acting and the dancing, but Charles Cadet was the maestro who jelled the production together musically. He was also involved in the corporate world, employed by the banana association. But his passion was also music.

I credit him with composing two major songs one being Ode to An Artist and Poinsettia Blossoms, although that was only the tip of the iceberg (as he no doubt produced, composed and sang many other songs), but these two will remain etched in my mind.

Charles Cadet was a true son of the soil, a master of music, a warm personality, a genius of a man and one who should remain iconic.

I would also like to take this opportunity to hail-up other artistic contemporaries who made up that circle, such as Arthur Jacobs, Kenneth Monplaisir, Hogarth Hippolyte, as well as deceased like Sixtus Charles and Virginia Alexander, all persons who helped shape my own artistic career.

I hope the day will come, when the state and government will appreciate the efforts of the artistic community.

More credit must be given to their input because art has for too long been sidelined and left on the back burner of our economic development. The industry can grow, but it must be fully supported and value must be placed on the artistic fraternity.

So, in closing, I salute and thank the Lord for blessing me with having met and known, worked and performed with such a genius, to guide my own artistic path.

Charles Cadet may be gone, but he will never be forgotten — never, ever!

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