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Chato bids farewell to Ishon

Chato bids farewell to Ishon

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Fri June 14, 2013

by Taranjah Yaw

Last Friday was a sombre day in Chateaubelair, as the community bid farewell to one of its favourite sons.Curtis “Ishon” Edwards died Saturday, May 25, at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH), after he suffered a stroke and a heart attack.{{more}}

The funeral service took place outdoors at the Sharpes Park and many, including former Minister of Culture Rene Baptiste, turned out to pay their last respects.

Area representative Roland Matthews, in a tribute, reminisced about the glory days of soccer in North Leeward, when many goalkeepers were afraid to face Ishon, who was without doubt, one of the most skilful strikers at the time, in the area.

Though Ishon was widely known as a footballer, he recently attained fame as a reggae artiste, after the release of his hit song and video “Refugee Camp”.

In his tribute, Ishon’s manager Fabien Guerra implored the gathering to keep Ishon’s dream alive and to encourage talent among the youths. Guerra said that he had met Ishon on the football field and he came to know him as an artiste and recently became his manager.

“I couldn’t understand how he had all this energy and wanted to do everything at a fast pace; it was just as if he knew he didn’t have a lot of time,” Guerra said.

Ishon was born in Chateaubelair, where after leaving school, he did a short stint learning tailoring, before moving on to construction. During the eighties, he tried out for the national football team, but was not successful. He also played for a number of prominent clubs in Kingstown. Ishon began singing calypsos in the early 80s and made several appearances in the North Leeward carnival arena, until he migrated to Trinidad in the late 90’s. In Trinidad, Ishon began to experiment with reggae music and had completed an album with six tracks, including his current hit “Refugee Camp”, by the time he returned to St Vincent and the Grenadines in 2003.

Teaming up with rapper and deejay Roger Findlay, Ishon released an album with five songs, including the title track “Tribute to Chato”. The album received some airplay, but didn’t do well in sales. It, however, established Ishon as a serious artiste and he began to appear on local shows and teamed up with the Youlounian Band, which also appeared on the Refugee Camp video, which was directed by Steve Wallace.

Club owner and businessman Joel “Ras Natty” Francois told SEARCHLIGHT that he is really saddened by Ishon’s passing and that he was a very good person to reason with, who knew a lot of history and current events.

“I couldn’t see this coming; the man was fit as a fiddle and he was only 50,” Francois added.

Ishon would have celebrated his 51st birthday in September.

After he suffered a heart attack in May 2012, doctors discovered that Ishon was born with a hole in his heart which was never treated. Over the past two months, Ishon’s health began to deteriorate rapidly and he was unable to perform at the May concert at the Victoria Park, headlined by Jamaican artiste Jah Cure.

Ishon is survived by his parents Cornelius and Emily Hooper, 11 siblings, three children and two grandchildren. His eldest son Akeem Williams is a former under-20 national footballer and is currently in trials for the national under-23 squad. A Tribute to Ishon concert is in the planning. It is scheduled to be held this summer in North Leeward.

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