EDITOR, The Tribune.
Paul Hanna. Icon. Legend. With his passing, a curtain fell on a golden age of Bahamian musical excellence. With a career that spanned six decades, he was the last of an era of Bahamian greatness. With every virtuoso performance, we were witness to history. A giant walked among us.
And he was so much more. Philanthropist. Humanitarian. Caregiver. Caretaker. He loaned his talent to churches, benefits, charity events, fundraisers. Yet, in the face of overwhelming evidence of his Christian service, churches refused to give venue to his homecoming because of his non-denominational status. He was memorialised at the Yoga Retreat, Paradise Island on Saturday, Sept 2, in a fitting concert event attended by his many appreciative and grateful family, friends and fans.
Paul was a consummate artist, passionate and uncompromising in his drive for excellence, in himself and in others. He was a willing teacher, providing lessons and mentorship to countless children and young artists, building character and sowing confidence in the soil of souls hungry for knowledge and guidance. He did this without payment, giving his time freely and graciously. His humble upbringing in Bain Town taught him the importance of community, of the village mentality and the shared purpose of helping and lifting others. He was a spark that lit the fires of hope and inspiration in the lives of many who doubted their self-worth. He felt their need, and he understood.
In music, Paul experienced liberation from the mundane, freedom from the daily grind. He rebelled against divisions of all kinds, from politics to religion. He championed against these forces throughout his life because of his love for humanity, especially the downtrodden. He led by example, refusing to don the robes of conformity. He was consumed with purpose, with the understanding that we are all points of light, and God’s purpose for man is to shine as brightly as we are allowed through the gift of our talents, whatever they may be.
And shine he did. He was true to his path, true to his purpose. He fulfilled the task that was put before him with a life filled with giving, sharing, loving, and achieving. He was a soldier of Truth, a warrior of conscience, a courier of love, a beacon of light. He was message and messenger, authentic and prolific, a towering flame, inspiring and triumphant. Icon. Legend.
May his soul shine brightly in the canopy of Heaven. May he continue to send light through the window of our hearts. May his memory live long and his legacy endure. And may he continue to send love to each and every one of us from his new stage in the stars. Shine on Paul Hanna. You will be missed.
Tyrone “Butch” Bartlett
September 5, 2023