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He leaves to dance with the flowers and butterflies. To jam with his pals again in heaven.
Cyril Terrence de Souza was another unsung hero of the Singapore music industry.
He was a warm, kind and generous person and never had a harsh word and always had a calm pleasant disposition. Known by many in the musical circles, he was never one to push himself to the forefront, preferring to diligently play his designated role as a pianist accompanying many of the industry stalwarts.
Over the many years that I’ve known him, playing together in the radio orchestra or meeting him somewhere when he was playing a solo piano gig or with a small group, it was always - hi, haven’t seen you for ages, how are you and a grin. A quiet man of few words, I never actually engaged in a long conversation with him. When I tried, he always responded in a sentence, probably followed with an agreeable nod or a yes. Very sparing in his words. He did move about with his residences, and I would often ask where he stayed or generally what he was up to. At one time he was staying across the road from me at a house in Gerald Drive.
He was already a working pianist from the 60s but worked in the library of Radio Singapore for many years. It was like he was a pianist-in-waiting for the radio orchestra. The day finally came when he secured the position of pianist. I guess he was really biding his time and jumped at the opportunity.I would not categorize him as a jazz pianist though he could play in that vein. He could be described as an all round pianist, that could function in any music environment, group or as a solo lounge pianist. There were times I would get up to jam with him if I happened upon one of his gigs. He’d just ask for the tune I wanted to play, nod his head and proceed to play an introduction.
Besides gigging in his later years, he also gave piano lessons. I had heard he was living in Australia these years, and it was a surprise when I found he had returned to Singapore. That was only a few months ago, when his cousin Boni de Souza mentioned visiting him. From the photos, he had aged appreciably and was wheelchair bound. One never knows the day when life ends and for Terry it was just a few months later. I’m still happy to have recalled some of the times in this quiet man’s company.
Condolences to the family.
Rest In Peace Cyril Terrence de Souza.
16th September 2021.
Written by Horace Wee [Copyrights Reserved].
Image from Val Ortega.
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