When Steel Talks

Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

by Dalton Narine

Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - Desperadoes wasn’t at the finals on Panorama night, in part because the average fan could have hardly recognized the personality of the band, though 42-year tenor player Ursula Tudor stood out as usual.



For another, given the durable sponsorship of WITCO, a leathery leader in Kirt Gordon and the slick arranging skills of Andre White (Don’t be bamboozled by his 21 short years on earth.), the band remains displaced. Desperadoes is no longer a mainstay of Laventille because it finds itself in a steadily worsening plight - trying over the past few years with all its might to make do in the teeth of an unsound environment.

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Thank you Dalton for a sincere ,precise,and most of all caring analysis of the plight of the Raddoes.Despers will rise again and many ,including myself consider them the best all round in the world.As usual Dalton, your panorama recap is on target. God bless and keep you sir..Thank you

Cool Ting, Brother. Many happy days to come.

Dalton Narine, as far as I'm concerned you're one of the most astute observers of the pan scene around(along with thinkers like Les Slater)  

Your observations about the plight of Desperadoes were profound. Instead of dwelling on the arrangement or the panorama performance you addressed the core of the problem.

Unfortunately, Desperadoes is to use your word, "Displaced". One could not help but notice the relative youth of the Panorama band as if the veteran players had deserted the band en mass.

I hope the lack of senior players did not reflect dissatisfaction with the choice of their youthful arranger.

Moving the legendary band from their comfort zone on the hill has definitely had a negative impact on the well being of the band.

One cannot overestimate the importance of the comfort level of the band and its members in having the necessary focus required to prepare for Panorama. 

One hopes that the band can one day reclaim it place on the Laventille Hill.

That's where the Desperadoes Steel Orchestra belongs.

Well said GENTLEMEN....you both are so correct..........the problems the band faces are very real but these musical nomads who make their trek off the HILL for the carnival season and then back up after are going to bounce back with their young arranger,we look forward to next year.The crime problem up the Hill will remain for some time until the community decides enough is enough and take back what they have lost....We will always be the WITCO DESPERADOES..THE BEST STEEL ORCHESTRA IN THE WORLD

Much appreciation, Glenroy. And you're not hoping in vain if you read between the lines.

Well presented and quite informative. The various panorama analyses pose serious questions to the minds of those "pan-lovers" whose myopic view of each band's performance cloud what could otherwise be a sound, solid, analytical interpretation of quality music. Men like Dalton Narine are important to the steel-band medium, largely for the sake of helping the understandings of some of these pan enthusiasts. So, my brother, keep up the good work and let the flag of enlightenment continue to fly via your productions. In a real sense, be aware that the Desperadoes will be back,as every other band that has had this kind of experience at one time or another have.

Desperadoes will rise again like the proverbial phoenix. Life is a cycle and as soon as we realise that, we would be able to understand what Deperadoes is going through. We might say gone are the glory days of Beverley Griffith -Rudolph Charles and Clive Bradley, but if we keep in mind the cycle of life, we will recognize that the downward spiral that the band is heading will one day turrn around, and Despers will one day soon return to the top where it really belongs it only time that stands in our way.  '''''Long Live Despers and Laventille'''''

One thing I have to mention , and I hope I'm heard and understood. 

Boogsie, Robbie, Jit, Bradley etc. did not start their careers winning Panorama "Out of the gate" so to speak.

It took time, growth and experience for them to reach their status as legendary arrangers.

It would be foolish to compare the relatively young arrangers just beginning to establish themselves with others at their peak.

In other words, Despers fans, compare Andre White to the young Bradley just starting out as a big band arranger, not with the veteran Bradley with multiple Panorama wins under his belt.

I can see that there are good things in store for the desperadoes steel orchestra in the upcoming year. Keep up the good work guys! Continue keeping the steelpan alive!

Well written Mr.Dalton, you were on point with your words ... thanks again.


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