It is with great sadness that I write about a person who I had spoken to months ago about doing a story about his career as a sound system selector on this blog. At that time, I would never have thought I would be writing about him in the past tense.
Rohan “Ferno” Persaud and I go back nearly 50 years when we both lived in Mona Heights. I got to know him when he would regularly visit his aunt, uncle and cousins who lived next door. If my memory serves me correctly, Rohan’s nickname came from his CB radio handle “Inferno”. In fact, I remember him as a teenager willingly imparting his expert advice to me when I was thinking of acquiring a CB radio.
In the late 1970s, Ferno and some of his friends started a sound system Soul Sensation. One of my fondest memories was of attending a party at his parent’s house in 1980 enjoying some of the hits of the day.
Ferno later migrated to Canada but courtesy of Facebook I was able to reconnect with him in June of last year. Through that medium I was happy to keep up to date with his various playing gigs in Canada, US and Jamaica. I was happier still that he had maintained that early passion for music into adulthood.
On Ferno’s last trip to Jamaica in November, I had made contact with him with the intention of doing a story on him for my blog. He had invited me to his playing gig at Constant Spring Golf Club which I was unable to make. We tried to arrange a phone link up which never materialized. I figured we would catch up at some time in the future. Tomorrow is truly not promised to any of us.
During May, Ferno had been heavily promoting an event “Fetedayz” scheduled for May 27. I looked forward to reading on his Facebook page the day after an account of the night’s proceedings. To my shock and horror I read that Ferno had collapsed and died at his final gig.
In the aftermath of Ferno’s passing, I have been inspired by the many tributes that have been paid to him on his Facebook page. In his relatively short life, Ferno had touched alot of lives with his music and his other endearing qualities. An example that we should all aspire to emulate. Walk good, Ferno.
(c) A. Pierre Sobers