As this is my first blog post I thought it only appropriate to begin with an ode I wrote for my mentor and best friend who passed away on 11 November 2010…
“Gyul, I doh like yuh but yuh are a true trooper and ah could work with yuh again”, these were the words that began the tumultuous but admirable relationship between my mentor, Wilfred Trevor Woodley and I. ‘Woods’, as many of us affectionately called him was one of the most honest, straightforward and gifted persons I ever met. He never failed to tell you the truth even when he knew it will hurt. He was a man who lived a fearless life and even when faced with life’s adversities he dealt with it with such courage and calmness that all who knew him could only remember him in admiration and respect.
During his time in Israel I saw him touch the lives of many, yet he stayed true to himself and his art form. He was never one to compromise or adapt to any place or situation for the sake of fitting in. He lived by his rules and those of us who were fortunate to be in his company still live our lives according to the lessons he taught us. This is most evident in his Israeli extension, Tomer George Cohen, who is the only Israeli I have ever known to speak English with a Trini vernacular because as Woods said, “If yuh cah speak de language yuh cah play de music.”
Woods was a true friend and he was the one person whom I counted on for honest feedback as I battled with my artistic talent. “Girl, you have something and you don’t even know it. And is only when you begin to believe in yourself you would begin to exist as a true artiste.” These words have ignited me to become the artiste I am today and made me understand that I don’t need to fit into any genre to be accepted.
So today I choose to celebrate the life of Woods and remember him as he would want us to – a man who was brutally honest but the best friend you could ever ask for. THANK YOU ‘Woods’, THANK YOU for being the person you were and a true friend to me and all the lives you have touched over the years. You will be sorely missed but as only you will say, “Well I was here and now ah gone! Deal wit dat!”