Veteran entertainer and promoter Elsworth James dies

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Veteran entertainer and promoter Elsworth James dies

Belmont-born, Canadian-based entertainer, promoter and radio announcer Elsworth James has died.

A post on his Facebook page on Thursday confirmed his passing.

The post said: “With profound grief, the family of Elsworth James announces the death of our beloved patriarch. Elsworth, known fondly as Father James, was a loving father, grandfather, relative and friend.

“We know the community shares our sadness as he was loved by many. The care shown during his illness made a difference in his life and in the lives of his caregivers, particularly his wife Margaret.

“We are grateful and encourage you to remember Elsworth for his work to elevate calypso music, and his own electric performances. But most of all remember his 1,000 watt smile, his grace under fire and his love for community. Elsworth’s life was a blessing and his memory is our treasure.”

In addition to singing, James was also a composer and a music producer. He lived in Canada with his family for over 30 years and for the past several years, had been suffering with dementia.

“We appreciate all expressions of support but we ask for a little time to come to terms with our loss as a family,” the post concluded.

James will be remembered for several calypso hits including I Love Calypso Music, Pan From Heaven, and Afeisha, with the latter being penned in honour of his daughter.

James also built up a formidable reputation as a promoter extraordinaire in the Caribbean and North American diaspora.

Prior to his venture into the business aspect of culture, James sang gospel at Gospel Hall, in his native Belmont. In 1968, he started to sing with the group Succession and was referred to as the local Ottis Redding.

In 1973, he burst into the calypso arena with Dis Is Calypso. In 1979, he made his debut in a calypso tent Kingdom of the Wizards (later Spektakula Forum) with cousin Jerry. In 1983, he made it to the Dimanche Gras finals.

Funeral arrangements are still ongoing.