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Trinidad & Tobago

50 Plus Of Canada



Inventor and Pioneer of the Steel Pan - Winston Spree Simon

Edited by Kemet Newsletter (2014)

Winston "Spree" Simon (1930 – 18 April 1976) developed an 8-note ping-pong (tenor pan) in 1943 and, by 1946, had increased its range to 14 notes. He is best remembered for his virtuoso performance on Carnival Tuesday (March 5) 1946 when he played four tunes on his pan to an elite audience that included the Governor, Sir Bede Clifford. His selections were "I Am A Warrior," - Lord Kitchener's "Tie-Tongue Mopsy, - " Schubert's "Ave Maria," - and the then national anthem, - "God Save The King."

He lived in the John John area and was the first leader of Destination Tokyo in 1948. It is believed that he led Tropical Harmony and Fascinators at the same time. He was one of eleven pan men selected to join TASPO (Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra) as the Trinidad & Tobago representatives at the 1951 Music Festival in England. After his tour of England with TASPO, Simon went to Africa to teach the art of playing and tuning pans. He was immortalized in 1975 by Lord Kitchener in the calypso "Tribute to Spree Simon," and a monument to his contribution to the steelband was installed in John John.


Steelband Pioneer and Arranger - Lennox Bobby Mohammed

Edited by Kemet Newsletter (2014)

Lennox “Bobby” Mohammed, arranger for the legendary Guinness Cavaliers Steel Orchestra from South Trinidad. So distinct and powerful was the sound of the Cavaliers that they became one of the most feared orchestras of their time.

As a young musician, way back in 1958, Narlin Taitt of Gondoliers Steel Orchestra introduce Bobby and his brother to steelpan music. At the age of 22 in 1965, Lennox “Bobby” Mohammed became the youngest arranger to win a Panorama title with the San Fernando-based band Guinness Cavaliers.

Guinness Cavaliers has the honor as the only Steelband to cause the North Stands to break down because of their sweet pan music. The people jumping up in the stands mostly were northerners. In 1992 Mohammed was honored with one of Trinidad & Tobago highest national awards, the Humming Bird Gold Medal. He was also given the Republic Day award in 2013.

As an arranger and composer for the south-based Cavaliers in Trinidad, Bobby Mohammed introduced many of the now-taken for granted musical components of the Panorama competition. 

Accomplishments and influences of Lennox “Bobby” Mohammed

  1. Toured with the Nation Steelband of Trinidad & Tobago - 1964, 1965 and 1967.
  2. Arranged for the National Steelband of Trinidad and Tobago - 1965 and 1967.
  3. Composed two classical pieces Gallopade (1966) and The Revelation From Beyond (1967) written specifically for the Music Festival. This was the first time a Steelband had use its own ‘classical’ composition in the competition.
  4. Bobby was the first to fashion a Panorama ‘bass movement’ that used pauses and sudden drops. It was an approach not seen or heard before. His use of dynamics and drama in the Panorama setting was original. This approach is common today but was introduced by Bobby.
  5. Bobby introduced the ‘change key’ to a minor in Panorama.
  6. Bobby introduced dramatic intros and classical endings to Panorama pieces. He is also credited with introducing ‘jamming’ (jam sections) into arrangements.
  7. Bobby was instrumental in developing what would be later termed or defined as the sound and musical style of ‘the South bands.’ It was a very distinct sound that was unlike any other.
  8. Guinness Cavaliers had a short existence due to Bobby's illness, but during that short time they won the National Panaroma Steelband championship twice. First in 1965, Second in 1966 (Disputed result) and first again in 1967.


Rocksteady and Reggae Pioneer - Nerlin Lynn Taitt

Edited by Kemet Newsletter (2014)

Of all the discussion of culture warriors there is one individual that seems to have been forgotten. Nerlin 'Lynn' Taitt was a champion Pan soloist, Steelband pioneer and innovator from south Trinidad. He was also a guitarist and many musicologists credit him with the birth of Rocksteady which is the root of Reggae, just as Calypso is the root of Soca. Lynn Taitt is considered the pioneer of Rocksteady music... the cradle of Reggae music!

Born 1934 in San Fernando Trinbago, Taitt credited the Rocksteady music beat to the jerky beat of the African Shango Baptist Religious Music he heard in Deep South Trinidad and the guitar pan rhythm that use to be called "after strum". His musical adoption was not accepted at that time in Trinidad because calypso rhythm was too popular and maybe because he was a Deep South Country Boy. In 1962, he and his band were invited to participate in the Jamaican Independence celebrations by Jamaican Bryon Lee. Narlin Taitt of Gondoliers Steel Orchestra introduce Bobby Mohammed and his brother to steelpan music and was one of the founders of Guinness Cavaliers Steel Orchestra.

In 1966, Taitt created the style for which he is most widely associated. At a session backing Hopeton Lewis at Ken Khouri's Federal Studios in Kingston, he instructed his fellow musicians to slow to the tempo to fit the mood of the singer's composition, 'Take It Easy'. He and bass player Bryan Atkinson played in unison, thereby creating the template for the Rock Steady sound that went on to dominate the local music for years. Take It Easy was the very first Rocksteady song published in Jamaica. In Jamaica he is known as Lynn Taitt

Click On Article from Jamaica


Calypso King of The World -Slinger Francisco

Edited by Kemet Newsletter (2014)

The Mighty Sparrow or Birdie was born Slinger Francisco, July 9, 1935, in Grand Roy, Grenada, West Indies. He moved to Trinidad with his family when he was about one year old and grew up in Port of Spain.

He is a calypso singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Known as the "Calypso King of the World," he is one of the most well-known and successful calypsonian. He has won Trinidad's Carnival Road March competition eight times and has been named "Calypso Monarch" eleven times.

There are many great calypsonian in Trinbago, but he is known as the “Calypso King of the World," because he is the most versatile and successful. He sings Humorous, Educational, Political, Social, Sexual Suggestive, Road March, and other style of Calypso in different languages.


Chutney Soca Queen And Pioneer - Drupatee Ramgooni

Edited Kemet Newsletter (2014)

It is easy to self-proclaim and self-title in the entertainment industry. Many artistes tout to be the “king” of this or the “queen” of that. But, in rare cases, the title is bestowed and the head that wears the crown earned it by the sweat of his or her brow—by enduring roller coaster careers, by piloting uncharted waters and even facing down the censure and condemnations of her own community. Drupatee Ramgooni is the queen of chutney Soca: “I had my fair share when I sang Roll up the Tassa,” explained Drupatee. 

“Being an Indian woman, the people, the older set, didn’t like the idea of an Indian woman venturing out on stage.” Classically trained by Ustad James Ramsawak, Drupatee began her career singing bhajans and performing at Indian cultural shows and pageants, including Mastana Bahar.

The backlash was hard and swift. When Drupatee decided to enter the calypso arena in 1987 with her tune Chutney Soca, the move was looked upon by many as her flaunting the traditional role of the East Indian woman. And Drupatee, like other early female calypsonians, had to withstand the demands of competing in a male dominated industry. I went through Hell,” she said. Now her high pitched “Weee!” has become synonymous with chutney music.