Rudy Benjamin joined the “Circle of dead Guadeloupean artists”

Rudy Benjamin - Photo: Facebook page of the band Dissonance.

Thousands of people attended Rudy Benjamin’s wake which took place at the Complexe Michel Benjamin in the Grand-Camp district of Les Abymes on Saturday February 17, between 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm. The music of his two bands – the Dissonance band and the Very Important Mas (VIM) band – crowned this evening of tribute and recollection.

Today, Sunday, February 18, between 10:30 am and 12:00 pm, thousands more attended the funeral of the musician and president of the carnival group VIM, who died of Ash Wednesday in the early morning, but Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul Church in Pointe-à-Pitre was too small to accommodate the huge crowd wearing not dark mourning clothes but clothes of bright colors (red, blue, yellow, orange etc).

After rewritting the “rules” of the “Skin Mas”, notably by having them create their own musical color while preserving the basics of the “Musique à Saint-Jean”, by having them abandon the traditional military or foliage costumes for colored fabrics and then colored body paint, by releasing the bodies of carnival revelers (especially women) in night parades forbidden to the under 18, even if it meant provoking the indignation of some of the population, Rudy Benjamin got the Catholic Church, which no longer celebrates funeral masses on Sundays, to open its doors to welcome his body. Perhaps a sign sent by the Creator to the artist who advocated Love, as well as to his detractors…

After this religious ceremony, filled with testimonials, songs and music, the procession left for the Pointe-à-Pitre cemetery, whose entrance had been decked out in colorful fabrics. The crowd sang, danced and applauded as the coffin of the maestro, described by some as a “genius”, passed by. Guadeloupeans had as a kind of revenge to take, because on August 5, 2021, due to health restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, they had not been able to pay a fitting tribute to another famous musician they had loved: Jacob Desvarieux, member of Kassav’.

This Sunday, under a radiant sun, the musicians of VIM and those of other “skin groups”, conducted by the son of the “Mas Chief”, Axel Benjamin, played carnival music, including Rudy Benjamin’s latest composition, “Symphonie Porcelaine”.

With heavy hearts, everyone sang a final “goodbye Rudy, goodbye, Rudy it’s the Power” before he arrived in his final resting place, leaving behind a heavy Lenten silence…

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