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Aug 22, 2012

A musical refrain for musician Leroy “Bass” Castillo as he passes away

Belize has lost one of its most gifted artists. Early this morning, Leroy “Bass” Castillo succumbed to a heart illness that he had been battling with for years. News of his death shook the music industry and tributes have been pouring in from those who acknowledge his gift as a musician, composer, writer and singer. The fifty year old artist was versatile in calypso, jazz, soca, and reggae. News Five’s Duane Moody looks back at the life of Bass Castillo.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Musician, composer and graphic artist; Leroy “Bass” Castillo is known for doing his thing on the guitar, the electric bass guitar.


ColvilleYoung, Music Director, NICH

Colville Young

“He was a big name within the entertainment industry having performed with so many different bands and organizations over the years that he’s been around. It is a big loss for our community.  He was a very multitalented type of an artist. In other words, he not only played bass which everybody knows him for, but he always was an excellent singer, he also was a good engineer. He also did compositions of his own and in fact I also think he may even had done some books, children books and so. He was creative, he was creative.”


And around one-thirty this morning, Castillo lost his three year fight to heart complications at the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan.


Linsford Castillo

Linsford Castillo, Brother of Deceased

“Over the couple few years, he learned to cope with his ailment. He used to go do his regular treatment at the hospital, but sadly things turned for the worse on Sunday. He was living out here in San Ignacio and he was doing his treatment at the Belmopan Western Regional Hospital when things turned for the worse and he went into a coma late last night—I understand around nine or ten o’clock—and he never recovered and he passed away about one-thirty this morning.”


As recent as July of this year, a benefit concert was held for Castillo where many of his colleagues performed to help raise funds for his medical expenses.


Linsford Castillo

“He had the last benefit concert just over a month or so ago at the House of Culture. Certainly the concerts were of course to raise funds to help with the medication because of his heart condition. He had to be on constant medication which was a bit costly. So his musical family decided to assist in what they could do and help him put off a couple benefit concert—he put them off at the House of Culture.”


“Bass” Castillo last spoke to News Five back in August 2010 when he had entered the national song competition with a patriotic entry, “Teach Wih Children.” He won second place that year.


Leroy “Bass” Castillo

Leroy “Bass” Castillo, Artist [File: August 20th, 2010]

“I went with a slow kind of calypso kind of beat because I didn’t want anything that would be too fast and too upbeat that people will tend to miss parts of the message. I wanted enough time for the lyrics to flow and that people could absorb the message in the lyrics. The inspiration came from the escalation of the violence and the other social problems that we’ve been having lately and I decided that in my opinion, I thought that educating the youth and the children would be a big step towards some kind of solving of the problem.”


This year, “Bass” Castillo was short listed in the National Song Competition with his signature and original piece entitled, “This is Belize.” He was to perform this Saturday at the MCC Grounds.


Colville Young

“He did put forward a competition, “This is Belize,” for this year’s competition and in fact his entry actually—I wouldn’t say won—but was selected to go on for the finals. So he should have been performing this Saturday at the final going for the big grand prize.”


Gone too soon, Bass Castillo was to celebrate his fifty-first birthday on Friday, August twenty-fourth. He will be buried on Saturday in his hometown, Corozal. Duane Moody for News Five.


 “Bass” was also the leader of the Santino’s Messenger Baby Band, Santino’s Messengers and then the New Dimension Band. He worked along with other notables in the industry, including Frankie Reneau, Carlos Perrotte, Kenny Gladden, Lord Rhaburn. NICH says that a tribute will be held in his honor.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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