Kenn F. Shah Interview 1989 04 May 2002 REMEMBERING KENN F. SHAH
04 May 2002 REMEMBERING KENN F. SHAH
Kenn F. Shah one of the producers of the Caribana Parade and friend of Spyros Peter Goudas, talking in a 1989 interview
Goudas Rice Is Very Nice (Yyeessss!)
Goudas rice is very nice (Yes, I can feel de groove)
Goudas Rice is very nice (Aha, aha)
It is good for Pelau (Yes mann! Alright!)
And Chinese Fried Rice (Oh mi gawd!) (One more time)
Goudas Rice is very nice. (Repeat.
Ping pong, ping pong, ping, pong, ping, pong!)
I am, Bernadette Scott, one of the writers of this biography of Spyros Peter Goudas and I have been assigned the privilege of writing the following small article about Mr. Kenn F. Shah, O.M.C, B.Sc., Chairman of Republic Day Celebrations, Toronto, Canada, a gentleman who played a very important role in Mr. Goudas’ life.
Channeling all my energy as a Trinidadian (by birth) and a mas lover, I could visualize Mr. Kenn F. Shah, mas man, band leader and an integral part of the Caribana Committee, in the middle of his mas camp with a steeldrum player strategically ringing out the above Goudas Song rhythm on the steeldrum.
What a moment of inspiration. At that moment, Kenn may have finally found enough confidence and drive to contact this Mr. Goudas individual with a proposal to enter the Caribana Festival in the early 1970’s.
As a matter of fact, the Goudas Theme Song with its dancing rice and beans orchestra is an excellent rhythm on for a steel drum solo.
Coincidentally, the idea and song was a Trinidadian experience - the product of an idea by Mr. Jasse McDonald (a former radio personality in Trinidad and Tobago) and the Raymond family, also from this twin island nation of The Carnival, in 1973.
This link introduces you to the history of The Goudas Rice Song.
It is a rhythm that could have a whole crowd, a whole stadium and all of University Avenue grooving.
Kenn Shah approached Mr. Goudas to take part in the Caribana Festival by convincing him it would be an explosive advertising opportunity for his company.
The rest is history and is documented in the book written by Spyros Peter Goudas, entitled, One Caribana Story.
In North America, the word Pelau, the national dish of Trinidad and Tobago is synonymous with MR. GOUDAS RICE and GOUDAS GREEN PIGEON PEAS!
And of course, a generous helping of Mr. Goudas Trinidad Style Hot Sauce.
The relationship between Mr. Shah and Mr. Goudas developed into a true friendship and fostered the opportunity for Spyros Peter Goudas becoming an integral part of the Caribana Festival which led to him receiving the Trinidad and Tobago Republic Day Award on March 29th 2002, In Appreciation of (his) outstanding contribution and dedication to the development of the Arts, Culture and Education of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in Canada.
Not long after this contribution by Kenn Shah, representative of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Shah totally and unexpectedly passed away.
A fact that blew everyone’s mind away.
The news of his death was relayed to Mr. Goudas very quickly.
Spyros Peter Goudas was in shock, disbelief and filled with a deep sense of sadness and loss.
He immediately asked his secretary to cancel all his appointments.
He arrived at the wake for Mr. Shah to pay his respects. (A wake is a ceremony associated with death.
Traditionally, a wake takes place in the house of the deceased, with the body present; however, modern wakes are often performed at a funeral home.
In the United States and Canada it is synonymous with a viewing.
It is often a social rite which highlights the idea that the loss is one of a social group and affects that group as a whole.)
There were many people outside. He walked up the side of the house to the back garden, and entered the house from the back. Needless, to say, from the corridor to the back of the house it was full, and he reiterated full, of mourners.
He entered the house and noted that every inch of space inside was occupied.
Someone mentioned that Mrs. Shah was downstairs in the recreation room.
He made his way there, and upon entering that room, he found that it too was filled to capacity.
He approached Mrs. Shah and spoke to her for a while giving his condolences and reminiscing a little.
He then returned to the main floor. Finally, he ended up in the living room sitting on the floor.
He noted that there were no chairs; everyone was sitting on the floor with their backs to the wall.
There was very little talking or no talking at all.
In some instances, there was complete silence with heads bowed down, many crying, mourning and paying their respects in silence.
Well, Mr. Goudas broke the silence and he began narrating Mr. Kenn Shah’s life, his relationship with him, Kenn Shah’s contribution to Caribana, to the Caribbean (Trinidadian and Tobago) Culture in Canada.
There was an instant sense that Mr. Goudas related some funny memories which broke the deep despair at this loss and transposed the occasion into a celebration of his life and achievements.
For more than one hour, everyone, from the garden, the backyard, the side entrance, the basement, the stairs, from everywhere avidly listened to what seemed like a conversation about Kenn Shah.
Mr. Goudas closed the narration by saying the following:
There is no doubt that Caribana will continue from years to come, but,
WITHOUT KENN F. SHAH, CARIBANA WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.
Mr. Goudas mentioned that during his narration, some of the facts he disclosed about Kenn Shah seemed to surprise some of the mourners.
It is also very important to let you know that each one of the hundreds of mourners in attendance at this wake knew Mr. Goudas very well.
On the way out, everyone shook hands with him or maybe touched his shoulder in acknowledgement.
We are very certain, that at each and every at the yearly Caribana Celebration Events someone remembers Mr. Kenn F. Shah.
The last photo of Kenn Shah appears on the article, Mr. Goudas 60th Birthday Celebration.
He is in the top row, fourth from left to right.
He is presenting Mr. Goudas with the Trinidad and Tobago Award.