Dr. David Rudder is having a ball as a successful – and now honoured – calypsonian.
By Gerald V. Paul;
The Calypso legend was awarded an honourary doctor of letters (DLitt) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) on Saturday.
He was given the honour for his contribution to society through the arts, for melodically and consistently swelling West Indian hearts with pride, for outstanding cultural contributions and more.
And of course, the Calypso icon did what he does best. He sang one of his classics, Calypso Music. “Can you hear a distant drum, bouncing on the laughter of a melody?”
In an interview with The Camera, when Rudder was the recipient of UWI’s Charity Gala Award in Toronto, he revealed that he has a desire to continue to reach out to the wider world with the message of his music.
The Calypso Monarch and Road March Champion suffered at the age of one from polio which left one leg damaged but he pressed on and eventually was in a band called Solutions and co-leader singer of Charlie’s Roots, before he went solo.
‘He lives clean. He’s the heir apparent of the monarch supreme. He … handles himself well,” said Calypso’s most successful monarch The Mighty Sparrow.
Rudder accepted the honour with four of his children next to him, his “best assets” (missing was his first- born Khafra and his wife Christine who was celebrating her birthday).
Rudder, an astute observer and commentator of the holistic life, took time to comment on current events and posted on Facebook: “It’s a Liberal majority. They the Liberals gained 149 seats” and noted that Prime Minister-designate Justin’s dad, former PM Pierre, loved Trinidad.
Rudder also encouraged his Facebook fans to spend some time and read Sunity Maharaj’s column The Whole Truth About Us.
“Although history is made up of many immutable facts it is perspective that gives it meaning. And for us, a people of many tribes, the question of from whose perspective should history be told has so complicated our relationship with the past that we either sanitize it beyond meaning, propagandize it in the interest of the tribe or just not go there.”
But Rudder’s music transcends race class and culture, given his Shango Baptists roots.
Be it The Ballad of Hulsie X, Bacchanal Lady, Bahia Girl, or Knock Them Down, he remains one of the best selling songwriters of calypso music.
Congrats Dr. David Rudder.