“Take a jump for me, tomorrow is not guaranteed,” a line from the closing song of Ricardo Barriteau Drue’s sending off ceremony on Tuesday afternoon.
Drue died on Tuesday, a day he celebrated many times throughout his career and was buried on the same. One may then say, it is perhaps a spiritual satire that he was born one day after Tuesday on July 31, 1985. Still Tuesdays belong to the musical maestro.
At age 38, Ricard Barriteau Drue made an undeniable mark on the soca genre in the Caribbean and worked as a musical ambassador to maintain Antigua and Barbuda’s status as a soca competitive country.
His signature event, Druesday, became part of Antigua’s Carnival calendar of activities.
Fans in Antigua and Barbuda, musicians, family and friends bade adieu to the artiste before he was buried at the public cemetery in St. John’s Wednesday morning. The family had requested a private ceremony to lay him to rest.
On Tuesday afternoon tributes testifying of his character and spirit filled the halls of the Holy Family Cathedral.
The eulogy was delivered by several family members including his mother, Nicola Barriteau and his three eldest sons. His mother recalled that he never gave up. “They never saw you coming,” she said. “You loved hard, you played hard and you cried quietly.”
She continued “I feel like this is a movie, a never ending story,” she said “where even when the hero passes on, he still saves the day”.
Festivals Minister Daryll Matthew called Drue an excellent composer who showed up powerfully in 2023. “Our departed friend, like a masterful conductor, composed a symphony with the notes of his experiences. Each note resonates in the hearts of those who had the privilege of sharing moments with him in the grand theater of life,” he said.
The message amongst the multitudes who paid tribute was the love and genuine support shown by Drue to those around him.
Artiste Stepehn ‘International Stephen’ Phillip called Drue “a prophet” and “a creative genius” recalling his talent to be able to act out scenes.
Yousef Michael, whom like Stephen referred to himself as Drue’s “broski”, was engulfed by tears and was unable to complete his tribute.
“Ricardo achieved his goal. His determination to sketch his name into the history of music led him to work tirelessly, transcending boundaries, making connections, collaborating globally and living authentically,” remarked Ambassador Elizabeth Makhoul.
“For many, Tuesday will forever be Druesday,” she concluded.
Tributes also came from Karim Harrigan, Barrie Hype, Teddyson John, Gamal Doyle, King Bubba, Seon Isaac and the Drue World Order (DWO) family.
Entertainers like Claudette Peters, Tian Winter, Menace, Asa Banton, and Skinny Fabulous were also present at Tuesday’s ceremony.
Former prime minister Balwdin Spencer, prime minister Gaston Browne and opposition MPs like Kelvin Simon and Anthony Smith also paid their respects to the fallen musician.
Drue was a father of four boys and one girl and was engaged to be married to Trinidadian soca star Patrice Robert before his passing.
photos by Wayne Mariette