December 23, 2010
Mas fraternity loses one of its own

Condolences have been pouring in this week, as the Carnival and mas fraternity learnt of the death of veteran band leader, designer and renowned artist Edison ‘Sheggy’ John.{{more}}

John, the former leader of the band ‘Bad Lads and Lasses,’ passed away at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital on Sunday, December 19, after being rushed there when he complained of not feeling well.

John was rushed from his home in Quarry, Upper Bay Street, on Sunday morning and died later that day.

John’s common law partner of more than 15 years, Martina ‘Tina’ Billingy, speaking to SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday said that the passing of her mate will leave a void not only in her life but also in the lives of those who knew him as a mas man and a friend.

“He was a very nice, loving and quiet person. I will miss him a lot.”

“He was a lover of mas, and lately he was attached to Ahdrenalin (Mas Band) and other bands.”

According to a close friend Woodrow ‘Keylee’ Williams, John began his journey into the realm of mas as an apprentice and player for his mentor Lennox ‘Skully’ Hunte for about five years, during which he won the King of the Band on one occasion.

When Hunte migrated, Sheggy introduced his own band: Bad Lads and Lasses, and throughout its 17 years, it produced seven Band of the Year titles including ‘Mas Ah Know Yo’, ‘Legend of the Cucamaca’ and ‘Fantastique’.

Williams also said that Sheggy John was one of the first Vincentian mas designers to travel overseas (Montserrat and St. Kitts) to design and produce costumes.

“This is like a parent died,” a sombre sounding Williams explained. “Bad Lads and Lasses became a family; and it is not just the band members, but also the persons who played with the band, because Sheggy always said that the customers were the ones who mattered and who we catered for. This is a huge loss. It is touching and would hurt to the core.”

St. Vincent has lost a true patriot; he was a teacher a trade unionist. He was not only a mas man, he was well rounded.

Williams said that although John was involved in mas, he preferred to remain out of the lime light.

This sentiment was echoed by other persons who knew John, including his cousin and Ambassador to Cuba Dexter Rose.

“Sheggy was very creative, very deep and very introverted. He was never afraid to innovate and to experiment with new colours, designs and ideas.”

“Many may not remember him as a singer with a beautiful voice who performed solo and at one time with the Slummates vocal group in shows around Kingstown.

“He was one of the most outstanding band leaders St. Vincent and the Grenadines has produced.

Tribute was also paid by the Carnival Development Committee (CDC), of which John was a member during the late eighties and early nineties.

He was also the head of the Carnival Bands Association for a period of time.

The CDC and the Carnival Bands Association extended the organisations’ deepest condolences to the family, relatives and friends of the late Edison Sheggie John,” a release stated.

Atlanta based radio Disc Jockey Earl ‘The Big C’ Capp Stephens also paid tribute saying: “Sheggy was the man who would let you try your stuff as long as he got the result he needed.”

John leaves behind his common law wife and two sons Rudy and Bernard.

He is to be laid to rest after the Christmas holidays.