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Guyana-born international musician, Dennis De Souza dies.
Written by Denis Scott Chabrol
Demerara Waves | Saturday, 07 April 2012 22:38
"Renowned international musician Guyanese pianist, Dennis De Souza died on Saturday in Canada, ending a battle with Parkinson’s Disease, according to his son, Dennis Jr.
He was 77, two days ago.
His burial is tentatively scheduled for next Friday.
De Souza, who hailed from Mahaica, East Coast Demerara died at 8:18 AM in his sleep at the Credit Valley Hospital, Toronto where he had been a patient for the past two weeks.
The veteran musician, who last performed publicly 18 months ago, was suffering from Parkinson ’s disease and in recent weeks pneumonia.
Nearby his hospital bed were his two sons and one sister. The musician’s wife died two years ago.
“It was kind of a long process before he actually passed away,” Dennis Jr. told Demerara Waves Online News (wwww.demwaves.com). He thanked friends and others who called and sent email during his father’s illness and passing.
Indo Caribbean World reported some time back that Dennis started playing the piano at the tender age of 9. "I finished a 3-year course in seven months and then went to a piano teacher, Mr Herman Faria. I loved to play popular music by Pat Boone, Jim Reeves, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Dick Hayes and whatever I heard on the radio," he told Indo Caribbean World.
At age 20, he was booked to sail to England via Trinidad to study music composition. But Dennis had another interest also - cricket. "I fell in love with T&T and the ship sailed without me. I played cricket with Harvard and with Queen’s Park C.C. I was in the company of Willie Rodriguez, Ben Kanhai, Sonny Ramadhin, the Davis Brothers and Joey Carew," the musical stalwart disclosed.
One night after "a big victory," Dennis and his cricketing pals went to the Penthouse in Port of Spain to celebrate. "The resident band leader, Choy Aming, invited me to play the piano with his band. Because of the constant encores, people would not let me leave until 5:00 a.m.", he recalled.
This was still happening in T&T in a 2001-2003 stint at the Hilton Hotel where Dennis has just completed a 3-year contract.
So far, Dennis has played music on 15 albums (33 1/3 r.p.m). Only recently, he has worked on CDs, the last one, "Encounters," yet to be released by Denis Davids.
Dennis has also done recordings for CHFI in Toronto and Columbia Records. (USA).
Dennis prefers to play live music "as the crowd interaction gives me the strength that I need. I pick up on the feel of the audience."
Music to Dennis, is an international language which he says we can understand without the use of a dictionary.
He remembers his many tours abroad when he visited and played in 27 cities in Germany, the U.K, USA, France Switzerland, South America and most of the islands of the Caribbean archipelago.
"Yet, I have not done enough. I want to do a lot more compositions, the last being Pakarima," Dennis declared." SOURCE
De Souza dead at 77. …Trinis remember an icon, great person.
Trinidad Guardian online | Monday, April 9, 2012
Meanwhile, some of T&T’s musical stalwarts and icons within the entertainment industry remembered De Souza as a great person and a Trinidad icon. Gerald Agostini, popular radio presenter, who in his earlier days hosted a programme on Radio 100 called the Saturday Special, where he only played local music said in the early 1980’s and 90’s, De Souza’s CD was the best on the market.
Agostini said De Souza did a lot of popular cover tunes using different genres of music like latin and calypso. “He was very popular and was well known within the industry at the time. We were all friends. We made a lot of records,” Agostini recalled.
Mervyn Telfer said what he remembered best about De Souza was his personality. “He had a knack for imposing his personality on his music and connecting with his audience.” Telfer, who has been in show business for 60 years and a Trinidad Radio announcer in 1950’s described De Souza as a fabulous human being, a dedicated family man and the best pianist ever passed through the Caribbean.
Even though Telfer was caught off guard by the news, he quickly took a run down memory lane when De Souza was one of the featured acts at the restaurant at Holiday Inn now called Crowne Plaza hotel. “It was wonderful to go there to dine and dance to De Souza’s music. He could have played everything – ballads, pop, classical and romantic music,” Telfer said.
During his time in Trinidad, Tefler said he married a Trinidadian by the name of Angela Camps. After which, he went off to Canada, where he lived and recently died. Tefler said his deepest sympathy goes out to the De Souza’s family." SOURCE
A Note From The Gull
Dennis, you gave generously of your hands and heart and mind and you will not be forgotten. Thanks for all your music. Esteja em paz.
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.
Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.
Mweh ka allay!