Courtney Leiba was well-known LOCALLY as the Trinidad Tripoli Steel Band Scratcher-Man.
And then he became GLOBALLY KNOWN as the STEELBAND SCRATCHER-MAN.
Courteney toured throughout the British Caribbean Islands and America and Canada with TRIPOLI STEELBAND. And he was there when TRIPOLI met Liberace at Expo’ 67 and was booked to play throughout America and Canada.
The recognition that TRIPOLI got touring with Liberace led to the band's nomination for a Grammy Award in 1972 under the category Ethnic and Traditional Recordings.
Courtney migrated to Australia in August 1977 and lived in Taroona, Tasmania.
On his arrival he brought three steel drums, a guitar and a ukulele. At the time there was no steel band presense in Tasmania. So he taught an African student (Peter) and an Australian (Tim) who both lived in Taroona to play the steel drums!!!
Courtney played the Invaders-Style style tenor pan and he taught Peter to play chords on the double-second pan and Tim to play rhythm on a two note drum called the dup doup.
Their first gig was at the New Sydney Hotel; at that time he called his band the "Calypso Trio"; later on he added a Guitar and renamed the group the "Calypso Trio Mas Uno". The gig was in a small room called the Elbow Room.
Shortly after, an agent called him to make a jingle about Kingston Town Shopping Centre. The jingle ended up on radio and television for fifteen years.
The band grew in size and was renamed "Calypso Pan-TAS-TIC". "TAS" implying that it was from Tasmania.
Courtney left Tasmania because his wife got a Science Job in Canberra.
And when he got to Canberra he continued his "TAKING PAN TO THE WORLD" mission!!!
I gave this introduction and stopped the story line because I am passing the responsibility of telling this FULL STORY to the new ERO of PAN TRINBAGO. I want him to contact Courtenay Lieba and get the full story from him (first hand) and I want a BIG STORY in one of the LOCAL NEWSPAPERS.
This is another one of the LEGACY ITEMS that I am passing over to BEVERLEY RAMSEY-MOORE!!! Think about the THOUSANDS of EXPATS who TOOK PAN TO THE WORLD. Their stories should also be heard and documented and this is not an EXPENSIVE PROJECT or an impractical, abstract PIE IN THE SKY project.
The ball is now in the court of the REBUILD TEAM (and its ERO) to integrate the GLOBAL PAN FAMILY into the LOCAL FOLD so that we can all work together to take PAN to HIGHER HEIGHTS in every way possible -- everywhere possible.
And also a way to pay tribute to the efforts of the EXPATS who worked tirelessly to take STEELBAND MUSIC to the farthest corners of the world -- literally ... in the case of Courtney Leiba!!!
Thanks Claude for the little story of my steel band life. I am now 81yrs going on 82yrs December. I am semi retired and play for a few selected gigs.
Yes Claude,around that time I used to play the cuatro, New Town and some boys hear and ask me to teach them, the cuatro was called Uncle Ribs Jay hawkers. It was just a fun band, meantime Alvin Belfast used to take me at Boyie Lewis and so I learn to play the Scratcher and congas. Followed by this a guy called Leon Bourke chated with me and take me to hear his singing group Los Amigos. Weeks after he me to start a singing group. He wanted to call it the Beetles and I told him that sound like a bug I then called it The Polka dots.Two weeks after I heard the group The Beatles Again Tommy Chichlow heard my cuatro band and said lets form a band, I could not afford to buy a guitar so I decided to play the Scratcher and renamed the cuatro band " Moonrakers". Sometime after we had a gig with Tripoli at Shorelands Hotel and Hugh Borde asked me to join Tripoli Steelband. Tripoli won the bomb Completion so We had to play before the Queen Elizabeth with Cavaliers and Desperadoes Then they called back Tripoli to play for the departure of Yatch Britannia and the next day on the Trinidad Newspapers That Scratcherman Delayed boat due to my antics.
Not a rumor. He fell into the 'pond' and continued playing". I was at Expo'67 in Montreal.
It was not a rumor. It did happen at Expo '67 in Montreal.
I remember Esso Tripoli with Leiba, Fat KEITH, Godfrey, Kernahan, Untin, the Timothys and Headleys, Mervyn, Boboy, Junior and others.