Late dancehall artiste Leonard ‘Merciless’ Bartley was on Saturday, September 17, remembered as a son of Jamaica whose love for family and those around knew no bounds.
The thanksgiving service to remember the entertainer regarded as one of the greatest lyricists to come from the island, which has a population of 2.9 million, was held at St Gabriel’s Anglican Church Hall on Church Street in May Pen, Clarendon.
Reports are that scores of people from all walks of life came out to pay their final respects.
“On July 19, 2022, his music stopped suddenly, yet, it echoes on in sweet, soulful refrains. But, for every joy that passes, something beautiful remains. His love of music, of his family, is, was, and will always be his legacy. His song has ended but the melody lingers on,” one relative, Kiara Mitchell said while reading his eulogy.
“His generosity was extended to just about anybody who happened to cross his path. He gave without remembering yet received without forgetting,” said the relative.
“Leonard lived a life that mattered. He was determined and his spirit of resilience would see Lenny through more pain and tragedy than most of us will ever know. He lost three siblings, his wife and experienced personal failings and setbacks in the most public way possible. It’s a string of events that would have broken a lesser man. It would have been easy for him to let himself become bitter and hardened; to surrender to self-pity and regret; to retreat from public life and live out his years in peaceful quiet. No one would have blamed him for that but that was not Leonard, the relative said.
“So, even as the drumming slowed and the instruments started losing their tuning Lenny persevered. He never stopped doing music, even a simple dub for a friend no matter how small the incentive was. No matter what life threw at him, music softened the blow,” the relative suggested.
Leonard leaves to mourn, his mother Etle Bartley, brothers – Leroy and Larry, sisters – Jacqueline and Claire, his four sons – Isiah, Leonard, Judah and Jacob, three grandchildren, nieces, nephews, special friend Marsha, an immeasurable extended family, friends and associates from the music industry, an army of fans from all over the world, and a host of well-wishers.
Merciless was found dead at a motel off Beechwood Avenue, St Andrew on July 19, hours after he complained of not feeling well. He had turned 51 on July 1.