King’ Trott plans musical comeback at 85
A national treasure among Bermuda’s musicians, Freeman “King” Trott has been a performer for almost all of his 85 years.
Left in limbo since his wife, Ismay, died last year, Mr Trott has been thrown a lifeline by promoter Cleveland “Outta Sight” Simmons, to keep him doing what he does best.
“It’s just been loneliness, living here by myself,” Mr Trott told The Royal Gazette at his Government-provided lodging on Union Street.
“If I get out and play, my memory keeps turning. Here by myself, my memory stops turning.”
It is exactly 70 years since Mr Trott took the stage with the Al Davis Band at the Victoria Lodge Hotel — and got himself thrown out for being underage.
But the music never stopped: as local music soared with the heydays of tourism, “King” joined countless artists in gigs that are meticulously recorded in his autobiographical album.
“There’s a lot of great stuff in there that I preserved when I started playing, and it will last for ever,” said Mr Trott. “If we can get it online, that’s never going to fade away.”
The veteran musician lost his eyesight to glaucoma in 1993, but Mr Simmons has pledged to “be his eyes” while reviving his career.
Surveying “King’s” sparse accommodation, the promoter said he was trying to get Mr Trott’s case reassessed by the Bermuda Housing Corporation.
“For a person of his age, with what he has contributed to the entertainment industry, I feel that we can do better,” he said.
Aside from talking with the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs about preserving Mr Trott’s musical records, Mr Simmons has plans to bring his friend work through his Bermuda Island Agency, a booking agency for local acts.
“We intend to create an atmosphere for King Trott. We can have him next to the road on the way up to Fort Hamilton with his guitar, telling his stories.”
Mr Trott lights up at mention of the island’s rich cultural traditions.
“We have got so much history, from the forts to the railway, the streets that have changed,” he said. “And back in the old days, we had not many places to go and exercise our talent. You could go out and be safe. Now things have got so violent. That’s what bugs me.”
The two trace the decline of traditional Bermudian entertainment back to the closure of classic venues such as the Rosebank Theatre.
Added Mr Simmons: “Music and poetry soothes the beast. We have to find another Rosebank, a cultural centre, some place central. Until we start bringing back this culture, we’re a dying breed.”
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