LT IS PLEASED TO ALLOW OUR FEATURE CONTRIBUTOR PAUL TOPPING THE SPACE TO HONOUR HIS FRIEND, LEGENDARY SRI LANKAN MUSICIAN GLEN TERRY.
A lot of people knew Glen Terry better than I did. I first met him in Barefoot at one of his performances more years ago than I can remember, strumming away on that big red guitar and singing the blues .It would have been easy to mistake him for an all American blues man from Alabama. I soon found from our first encounter that he was part Indian, Swiss, Caribbean and more. In the encounters that followed I established that he and his guitar had played around many parts of the world, from America, Australia, to varying parts of Africa and Europe .However it was soon obvious that he had fallen in love with Sri Lanka and was going to adopt it as his home. My first and foremost observations of Glen was his passion for his music and life. And above all what a people’s person he was.
My wife and I would take any given opportunity to go and watch the man with the hat and that sexy guitar. The wonderful performances would always be followed by lively conversation and he never missed the chance of engaging his audience with a bit of witty banter and wonderful stories of his world travels. This fun-loving guy soon found another passion to add to his list; that of building his beach- front hotel, in Udekki [which means drum in Sinhalese] in Kalpitiya, an area bursting with scenic beaches, lagoons, wildlife and history.
It takes a special kind of individual with endless passion and energy to build and run a hotel in which was once quite a remote part of Sri Lanka. Glen thrived on this challenge, he had a knack for getting people on his side, and he understood nothing is straight forward in doing business on the island. I think it was the Indian in him that gave him that dogged persistence, knowing that every day would bring all kinds of challenges to face. When Glen greeted any guests at the hotel he would always say, ‘this is my home not my business, welcome to my home.’ He and his amazing team always make sure to give the hotel a homely feel . Everyone there loved him .Then he was joined by the lovely Carolyn and it made Udekki an even better place to visit.
Even while Glen was fighting his illness he always found the time to talk to everyone. When anyone visited him in hospital he would pull his guitar out and start entertaining them. Recently at Udekki, a big group of us staying over said we fancied a barbeque. Low and behold it was none other than Glen who was up and about bustling around and setting everything for a fantastic treat. Glen despite his health and impact of the treatment was always in the thick of it. Unlike the early days , he may have had only a few drinks and would quietly slide away to rest, no doubt feeling exhausted but this wouldn’t happen till he made certain that everyone else was having a great time and had been entertained by a few of his most memorable stories.
Then there were the last four concerts, at Thalpe, Park Street Mews, and two at Barefoot. Glen would turn up having had a full day of Chemotherapy and would go on to perform like there was no tomorrow. Glen was a man much loved and will be sorely missed by many, but of one thing I’m certain he is up there getting God’s choir a bit more in the groove and brightening up things in the afterworld with his warmth and passion.