The music fraternity and many music lovers on the Rock said goodbye a few weeks back to Philip Valverde, a local music legend who touched so many hearts during his lifetime. If you had never met him you would have known that the name Valverde comes from a family with a rich tradition in entertainment and music. His father Frank was a well known theatrical entertainer who was funny and very artistic. Their household spawned four great musicians in Frank, Hubert, Rosanna, and Philip, the youngest and the most enduring.
Philip was blessed with a natural talent for guitar playing and was equally at home playing electric guitar as with nylon finger style which was his favourite medium and was what he was best known for. He had a knack for picking out tunes and styling them in a very pleasing way which captivated the listener and student alike. He taught many aspiring guitarists and entertained many more as a background musician, but he was much more than that.
His charisma and smile was a beacon wherever he went and you could truly say that he could light up a room and easily be the life and soul of any party because he was all heart and a kind soul who you looked forward to meeting and chatting with, but more importantly to hearing him play guitar. A lot of good tributes have gone up about his demise and I don’t want to repeat all that has deservingly been said about him.
I will just say that he was a ray of sunshine and smiles rolled into a beautiful person who was a joy to know and it was always worth chancing a trip to his music shop in Bomb House Lane even if he had his ‘back in 10 minutes’ sign on the door. You would always find him in convivial company because he was a wonderful guy who could easily have been a poster boy for Mr Friendship.
I count myself as fortunate to have enjoyed his friendship and privileged to have enjoyed his music many times throughout a long and illustrious music career which has been cut short by his sudden demise. We will not be the same without him and his loss is heaven’s gain where his blessed soul endures and I am sure his music too. ‘Hasta Pronto Felipe’ – go on and Rock those Angels my friend. We all loved you and you loved us back ten times over, we were lucky to live in your times.