I received the sad news today of the passing of a pioneering panman from Boisierre Village, Trinidad. So here I'll share a short reflection of Rudy Martin Joseph who resided in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada until his death yesterday.
Rudy at age 84 was still able to play pan skillfully and was a professional steelpan performer who got a lot of paying gigs but had to skip them due to his health. This past summer, he took me along to play at a wedding in Hamilton, Ontario and what an experience that was for me trying to keep up with my mentor. Rudy was winding down due to ill-health but was willing to teach pan tuning in his home, on the phone and to whosoever would listen. It was fascinating to listen when he taught us the history of pan from his perspective as a 14 years old teenage boy taking on a man's role teaching older players in the panyard. He spoke very respectfully of his god brother Tony Williams, but somehow they never played pan together.
Rudy was tutored in music by the great Arthur "Art" DeCoteau. "Bassist and band-leader/arranger Art DeCoteau was one of the leading music makers in Trinidad for decades." Pan Times. May 29, 2012. WST. (web retrieve Dec 2016). Rudy was also well known as a singer, pan player, teacher and tuner. However, he never presented himself as a tuner because of his humility, yet he shared his tuning knowledge with a core of pan people who met regularly at York University, Toronto. His career as an entertainer began with All Aces steelband stage side from Boissiere Village. Every carnival day All Aces would do pan-round the neck from Boissiere Village to Belmont to join up with Casablanca Steel Orchestra, and do the journey back to Boissiere later in the night.
Rudy's special role as a highlight of his career was to play tenor pan during the first independence ceremony for the raising of the Trinidad and Tobago flag midnight on August 31, 1962 in front the Red House. He also played for the Royal visit of Princess Margaret to Trinidad. Another one of his highlights just before leaving Trinidad for the Bahamas circa 1966 was his time teaching Pat Castagne's three daughters to play pan in their home. Of course it was Pat Castagne who wrote our national anthem. Rudy travelled widely carrying pan to some places such as, France, Switzerland and so on. He happily shared his love for pan by producing numerous digital recordings using Band-in-a-Box software. Very soon I'll be posting some raw video of Rudy to share with WST community shortly.
Although Rudy was ailing for the past couple years, he always made time to connect with younger pan people. He was the ultimate steelpan mentor who mentored me while doing my Masters studies at York University, Toronto. He regretted missing the Convocation ceremony last October but I reminded him that he shares my success as a co-researcher with me over the last two years.
Last February a close circle of his steelpan protégés hosted him in a gala event to show appreciation for his contributions to steelpan across the world. Rudy is the inspiration for me to create a TV show called "The Grandmasters of Steelpan". This event really inspired him to fight to recover his health, but his battle ended valiantly yesterday.
RIP my Brother.
Photo below of Gerard Clarke and Rudy July 2016
CONDOLENCES GOES OUT TO THE FAMILY OF "RUDY MARTIN JOSEPH FROM "QUEBEC STEELPAN MUSIC ASSOCIATION" REST IN PEACE....ALL TIME GREAT!!!!
Thank you Mike for your wonderful post of a great human being Rudy Martin Joseph,
Rudy is truly one of our unsung heroes and should be acknowledged for his many contributions to pan, some as metioned in Mike's post.
I have had the great and fortunate pleasure to meet and know Rudy for only the last four years since I moved to Toronto for my academic studies at York University. I met Rudy for the first time on a Gig with Hameed Shaqq and Albert John at the Ripley's Aquarium. It was a mutual respectable liking ( He played a good soprano pan) and Rudy unquestionably offered to teach me about pan tuning. He was already doing this with a few people like Mike and Terrence Sweeney. I jumped on the offer and organized for the possibility of the program happening at York University and for about a year a few of us under Rudy's tutorship began learning about Pan Tuning, here at York........ The point here is that this was an 80 yr old man willing to share all of what he had which included pan tuning, pan playing, pan arranging, and more.
I have been around pan tuners all my life, many are my good friends, but Rudy was the only one who offered to teach me and began doing it. I have learnt some things from him and I am sure all of the other people who were a part of that experience can attest to them also learning..
Time for you to take your rest Rudy and a welll deserved one Rest In Peace my friend and Thenk You very much
Just a brief note below ...
In speaking with Pastor Charles Leader, a dear friend of Rudy whom we all met last February during the Living Legend Tribute we had for Rudy in the church. He'll consider reaching out to Rudy's family to request an opportunity for our Toronto Steelpan-tuning Collective to do brief personal reflection with a short musical tribute during the service. More info to come.
Thanks again Salah,
Hi Mike ,
Please keep me in the loop ...I certainly would like to participate in the service.
Condolences to the friends and family of Rudy.
condolences to the family and friends of rudy
we have so many according to salah unsung heroes that are doing great things worldwide
we continue to squabble in the town without pity
blessings to pan men - lovers- bands- etc worlwide
keep the flag flying
gone to the big panorama rip
Well said Evan Lobo.
My condolences goes out to the family of Rudy Martin. I agree with you Salah Rudy was a great person.
I attended only two of the Pan Tuning classes at York U and was totally impressed with Rudy in the way he took time to explain to everyone the technique of Pan Tuning.I have been around Pan for a long time, but I have never seen a Tuner willing to explain this art to anyone so willingly.
May he rest in Peace.
Very true Web, I remember when you attended the sessions. Pan Man Pat was also another attendee for a session. Incidentally, Rudy was called "Panman Rudy" by those familiar with his talent from the early years and later that was his email address; firstname.lastname@example.org
Condolences! Keep his legacy alive!