Glowing tributes for Third World’s Bunny Rugs

Richard Johnson

Tuesday, February 25, 2014    

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EMOTIONALLY charged moments characterised the Thanksgiving Service to honour the life of singer William 'Bunny Rugs' Clark, former lead vocalist for Third World.

Rugs, who died in Florida on February 2, was remembered with glowing tributes at the service held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kingston yesterday.

Members of the congregation could be seen wiping tears, including Rugs' former bandmate Stephen 'Cat' Coore, when vocalist AJ Brown, who has replaced Rugs in the band, broke down and wept during a performance of Con Te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye) missing the huge notes with characterise the song's dramatic end. He had to be escorted from the altar.

Brown's tribute came just after a rousing rendition of Third World's Always Around, which featured current and former members of the band and their children.

The spirit delivery had the congregation on its feet as Third World's faces including Willie Stewart, Ibo Cooper, Richie Daley, Carrot Jarrett and Prilly Hamilton, all came together to salute their fallen brother.

Rugs' daughter, Adrianna, showed that her father's musical genes had been passed on when she sang Dance with My Father, made popular by American R&B singer Luther Vandross, interspersed with Schubert's Ave Maria for another touching moment.

With singers and players of instruments out in their numbers, Rugs was remembers with more musical tributes from the likes of Nadine Sutherland, Karen Smith, Ken Boothe, Wayne Armond, Chevaughn Clayton, and Carlene Davis.

Music aside, there were poignant moments as family, friends and associates gave personal reflections on the man many had come to know as the voice of one of Jamaica's most celebrated musical aggregations.

In a teary presentation Bouvier Clark, the widow of the singer, recalled her times with the artiste and gave a personal insight of his final days.

She recounted his humour, a characteristic spoken of by many, noting that he would have been pleased with the service and tribute.

"I'm sure he's happy with this. He is laughing and showing all his white teeth," she told the congregation.

Politicians Lisa Hanna, Olivia Babsy Grange and former prime minister PJ Patterson also paid tribute to Rugs.

Hanna called him a "True Reggae Ambassador," while Grange stated that Rugs was "one of the finest voices ever to grace the Jamaican musical landscape."

Patterson also made note of Rugs' voice by stating that "he was no run of the mill artiste... with a voice that has become the standard bearer in the industry."





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