BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer

Thursday, August 15, 2013

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THE mystique of Don Drummond moved through the Little Theatre in Kingston last weekend.

It was where the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) staged its ballet, Malungu, a tribute to the legendary trombonist.

Clive Thompson, senior choreographer with the NDTC and Malungu's creative director, was pleased with
the turnout.

"What surprised me was the interest people have in Don Drummond. All they knew is that he was a mad man who murdered his girlfriend."

Malungu opened Friday and closed Sunday. It featured NDTC senior dancers Marlon Simms as Drummond and Kerry-Ann Henry as Margarita Mahfood, Drummond's rumba dancer lover whom he killed on New Year's
Day 1965.

Drummond, who had a history of mental illness, was ruled criminally insane at his trial one year later. He was sent to the Bellevue asylum in east Kingston where he died in 1969 at age 36.

While Malungu revisits the tragic Drummond/Mahfood romance, Thompson says it is the songs that made Drummond such a formidable musician.

"He had a love for the music, that's how his talent emerged. That's what the audience saw on stage."

The Malungu 'soundtrack' comprises songs Drummond composed and performed with the Skatalites, an all-star band that was formed in Kingston in 1964.

It also includes Woman a Come, a song Margarita recorded for music producer Arthur 'Duke' Reid.

Don Drummond spent his early years in the central Kingston community of Allman Town. At age
nine, he was taken to the Alpha Boys' School by his mother, where he learned to write music and play the trombone.

Drummond recorded profusely in his relatively short career. Two of his best known compositions are Eastern Standard Time and Confucius.

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