Calypsonian John ‘Slingshot’ DrePaul dedicates ‘Until We Meet Again’ a novella to daughter Annabelle

Annabelle DrePaul, at an early age with parents, Ingrid and John “Slingshot” DrePaul after one of their Mashramani presentations in Guyana.
Photo courtesy DrePaul Family

Award-winning calypsonian John “Slingshot” DrePaul, who’s infectious, nostalgic lyrics have been a staple in the Guyanese music sphere, has authored a sad eulogy to late daughter Annabelle Rianne DrePaul, on the one-year anniversary of her sudden passing at age of 20.

In an exclusive interview with Caribbean Life on Feb. 26, the “Sweet Island Woman” singer, expressed deep sadness, at time sobbing as he remembered the amazing short life his beautiful child lived, joining him from age five to sing and dance in his many music videos.

“On the first anniversary of our youngest daughter’s passing, Ingrid and I recaptured her life from her birth to her university career in a novella, ‘Until We Meet Again,'” said the once cheerful, popular songster, and Mashramani performer, of his wife, Ingrid, and himself.

DrePaul, who is best known for the merriest Christmas music ever recorded about life in Guyana, said he highlighted some remarkable pre- and post-funeral interactions among her siblings and their families, in the memorial adding that it was a mixture of sadness and joy as everyone shared memories of Annabelle.

He shared that her dynamic conversations sometimes alluded to established faiths. “She was an ambitious high achiever who had set her academic goal toward a Ph.D,” he said.

“As an example of such, she had accomplished all the requirements of a four-year university schooling in just three years and was awarded the diploma posthumously. When she passed away, we had given up hopes of ever seeing the results of her hours of diligent studies and often speculated what her future may be,” he said, sobbing.

He explained, as written in the novella, “going up on the stage to receive the certificate were Ingrid and two of our grandchildren. The university made an exception when Ingrid requested the preteens accompany her on stage, as only graduating students were permitted.”

Speaking of the cherished memories, he said “Ingrid carried Annabelle’s urn, and the grands brought two of her favorite stuffed toys. They raised them to standing applause.”

The book cover of "Until We Meet Again.”
The book cover of “Until We Meet Again.”

“We still get emotional and teary-eyed whenever Annabelle’s name comes up in a conversation. Or when we enter her room and see mementos that remind us of her. Also, when we watched her favorite TV shows, losing her was too much for us to bear. She did not live to see her 21st birthday.”

DrePaul told Caribbean Life his loving daughter was a junior in high school when she was hired for part-time employment, and even though it was an entry-level position, it meant the whole world to her.

“Watching the million-dollar smile when she showed us her first paycheck of $189.35, was indescribable. It was surpassed when she opened a savings account in her name,” he gushed about his offspring, recorded joyfully singing, dancing, and playing percussion in videos, whether in Guyana, or Trinidad, her mother’s homeland.

“Even though Annabelle and I never adhered to any religion, she was always intrigued by the writings on the subject. On her bookshelf was a copy of the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Torah, the Quran, and the Dead Sea Scroll. She and I would often debate the pros and cons of the established faiths,” he said of the young lady who was always cheerful around her parents, whose entertainment played an integral part of her upbringing.

He said when she was a preteen, “we took her wherever we performed. Whether for the Mash celebrations in Guyana or to entertain the Miss Guyana World in England. Annabelle also had a soft spot for orphans, and we had some memorable moments watching her interact with those at Joshua House and St. Ann’s Orphanage in Guyana.”

“When I was discharged from the hospital after suffering a stroke, Annabelle spearheaded the rearranging of the furniture to create space to accommodate my physical setbacks. She and Ingrid took a leave of absence to get me readjusted at home,” he said, recalling loving memories.

The novella captures the deep father-daughter relationship DrePaul shared with Annabelle, from a toddler, noting, “when she was just a toddler, Annabelle would be in her playpen, watching and listening as Ingrid and I would be composing music in our home studio. She would tap on the top of her playpen, and it soon became natural for her to play percussion instruments, first with the maracas and then on the acoustic drums in her high school band.”

“She soon became intrigued with video editing and assisted tremendously with our music video efforts. Her approach was no frills and fancy stuff.’

As part of the eulogy, DrePaul talked about the skills Annabelle had, such as her editing style, and what the public saw from her amazing qualities.

“A month after her cremation, Ingrid and I were in Annabelle’s room, and in a desk drawer was a notebook with reminders to do videos for new Christmas songs we had already recorded.”

He concluded by saying that “Annabelle was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. However, whatever her shortcomings, only a parent can appreciate. She has enriched our lives during the twenty years she shared with us,” he said of the graduate who received a Bachelor of Science in Phycology, posthumously.

The hardcover is available on