Today the National Cultural Foundation mourns the loss of another veteran in the cultural/artistic community.
Michael ‘Director’ Forde was a familiar name on many of the Foundation’s national stages particularly at Crop Over and NIFCA. This creative ‘son of the soil’ was not just a performer, many knew him as a popular Calypsonian, but he was also a talented folk musician, a composer and in his words a prolific writer.
As a Calypsonian he was a ‘boss’ performer who came to international acclaim with his runaway hit song ‘Sousie’ and as a folk musician he holds the highest honour at NIFCA as the 2004 Governor General’s Awardee for Excellence in Music conferred for his original song – Freedom. In 2007, through the recommendation of the NCF he also represented Barbados as part of a tourism delegation to showcase our local talent at Barbados on the Water, held at the Harbour Front, Canada.
In reminiscing on Michael Forde the musician, Andrea Wells, Chief Cultural Officer, NCF referred to his pieces as relatable, appealing to a variety of audiences – not quite following the pattern of the usual folk idiom, but so cleverly infused with other genres that we never lose the influence of our folk traditions.
She continued, ‘For many years he imparted his knowledge of the art form as a Coach/Trainer in our Cultural Development Schools’ Music Programme, carrying on our folk heritage and even performing with many of his primary school apprentices on the NIFCA stage.”
Forde has written several calypsos and recorded but not published a number of folk songs which we hope can become an official part of our national sound archive – that is a discussion we intend to pursue over the next few months, said the NCF’s, Chief Executive Officer, Cranston Browne.
Michael ‘Director’ Forde has lived a successful and creative life and he will be truly missed.