Veteran calypsonian, Clifton ‘The Mighty Bomber’ Ryan graced the Queen’s Park Savannah for the last time yesterday, as the man regarded as the godfather of calypso music was given his final sendoff before being laid to rest.
Mourners poured in as the viewing of the body began at 11 am at the Grand Stand.
‘Bomber’ passed away at the age of 93 on January 1.
He was remembered by his son Clifton Ryan Junior, as a husband and father with an impeccable dedication to his wife and children.
“We were a tight knitted family. We played a lot of games together, moral hopscotch, footsies, marble pitch…fly kite together. Anything that we needed daddy did what it took once it was legal to ensure we had it. He was a faithful husband…very great father,” Ryan Junior said.
The Mighty Bomber’s dedication went beyond the love for his family, but also the calypso art form.
“We have lost one of the greatest. He was a stalwart, he was a leader, he was a great exemplar, a very experienced writer, teacher, calypsonian.”
The Mighty Bomber’s wit and ability to craft words into songs gave birth to hits like, ‘Proverbs’, ‘Despers vs Bunters’, ‘Animal Cricket Match’, and ‘Land of Spice’.
In 1964, he defeated the Mighty Sparrow, in the National Calypso King competition with the songs James and Joan and Bomber’s Dream.
The younger Ryan is making an appeal to the government to give honour where honour is due.
He says it was his father’s request to see cultural icons given their just due. Echoing the words of his father, Ryan said, “Don’t wait until he gone to give him any posthumous award…that’s what we do here in Trinidad and Tobago, we wait till people die to honour them Honour people before they die, so he would say honour people before they die.”
Ryan said his father was responsible for training artistes around the world.
“He trained you and he trained you well. We use to have sessions on a weekend, Saturdays and Sundays, and he will call us and train us ensuring that we had impeccable dictation.”
Bomber represented Trinidad and Tobago at the Commonwealth Festival of Arts in England in 1965.
He also represented Trinidad and Tobago at Randals Island, USA where he met Harry Belafonte. He became the stage manager at the Mighty Sparrow’s Young Brigade Tent and held that position for 15 years.
In 1976 Bomber was granted a plot of land at Picton Hill by the then Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams in recognition of his contribution to the calypso art form.