‘It’s a disgrace!’ - Don Drummond’s grave still without a headstone
Several entertainment industry players are appealing to the Jamaican music fraternity and supporters of reggae and dancehall worldwide to help raise funds for a headstone to mark the burial site of Don Drummond.
"It's a disgrace!" exclaimed one participant of a group on the discussion-based network Clubhouse, about the way the musician was laid to rest in 1969.
Drummond's life story is perceived as a tragic one, and is tainted by his 'crime of passion'. He stabbed his girlfriend to death, and died at the Bellevue Hospital where he was held due to his mental state. But the trombonist and composer is still widely celebrated as one of Jamaica's iconic music creators according to Johnny Wonder, Billboard producer and director of a popular music distribution company.
He has recently collaborated with entertainment consultant and media marketer Tonja 'Mz Mumsie' Evans, and self-proclaimed 'reggaeologist' Lloyd Laing to start a GoFundMe account called 'Supporters Don Drummond' for persons to donate towards the project.
FINAL RESTING PLACE
According to them, Drummond's final resting place is in the 'Paupers Ground' section of the May Pen Cemetery on Spanish Town Road in west Kingston, marked by the number A436. But Johnny Wonder is adamant that "we going sort it out."
Evans told THE STAR, "After listening to the Reggaeology: The Reggae History Experience available on Apple Podcasts, which Lloyd hosts, where he spoke about Don Drummond, we decided to prompt unity as persons in the music business and also show our respects to him."
She continued: "He is a graduate of a prestigious music school in Jamaica and also received certification from the Royal School of Music and is credited as one of the creators of ska, a blueprint of Jamaican music so it is important we do this."
Drummond was born at the Jubilee Hospital on March 12, 1932 to Doris Munroe and Uriah Drummond. It was reported that he grew up fatherless and due to his problematic behaviour, was later abandoned by his mother. It became the responsibility of Kingston's Alpha Boys School to set the young Drummond on the straight and narrow path, and it is there that his creative skills were fostered and he transformed into a skilled musician.
The organisers of the fund-raiser say the headstone would not be ready in time to celebrate what would have been Drummond's 89th birthday, though they have received US$480 out of the US$650 goal.
"He is a ska legend, and we've dubbed ourselves 'Music Cares Jamaica' and this is one of many projects we are using to demonstrate this care," Laing said. "I know someone with an instrument, maybe not a trombone, I think it's a trumpet, that we could use to make a classy headstone for Don and it won't be ready for the birthday. But we can definitely get it together in time for a memorial on the date of his death (May 6) or even the burial (May 18)."