Former Prime Minister and well-known pan enthusiast Dr. Winston Baldwin Spencer says he is deeply saddened by the passing of a very close friend, renowned pannist Victor “Babu” Samuel, whom he describes as a musical icon.
Samuel, who had been ailing for some months now, died on Tuesday, June 28, at about 4:20 p.m.
Paying tribute to the musician, Spencer says the Nation and the region have suffered a great loss.
Samuel was considered to be one of Antigua and Barbuda’s top arrangers and best pannists. He became a member of the Halcyon Steel Orchestra in the 1970s, leading the band to several championships in the annual Panorama competition.
Recounting Samuel’s musical career, Dr. Spencer expresses condolences to his family and other friends.
Samuel suffered a stroke two years ago, which took a toll on his ability to play pan.
A “Pan D’Garden” fundraising activity was held on his behalf about two weeks ago to assist him with medical expenses. And it was only on Saturday, June 25, that another well-attended pan event – dubbed “Play One for Babu” – was held in his honour.
In March of this year, Samuel also received an award for introducing pan to the Police Marching Band.