When Steel Talks

Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

Early Trinidad and Tobago Steelbands Names Associated with Hollywood Movies

Many early Trinidad and Tobago steelband took their names from current Hollywood movies.

click to check WST's list.  It's a work in progress - far from finished.

The Sundowners

Views: 1661

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Anyone know the reason why?

Interesting info...

Trinidad All Stars was formed on Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain, in 1935 as "Bad Behavior" with a group of panmen that included "Big Head" Hamill and Rudolph "Fish Eye" Olliviere, the band's first leader. In the early-1940s, the name of the band was changed three times, first to "The Hell Yard Boys," then "Second Fiddle," after the 1939 American movie of the same name starring Tyrone Power; and finally "Cross of Lorraine," after the 1943 American movie "The Cross of Lorraine," starring Gene Kelly.

Thank you for this interesting history research. 

I had always thought that the "Gay Desperadoes" steelband was named after the movie, from the 1930's, of the same name.

I have absolutely no data to back that up other than the name.  The movie you credit does fit the time period better.

Do any old Despers members have any written or oral history, or perhaps that is what you already used.



Here's some back story, it may not answer your question...

There is a story of Rudolph Charles, the leader of Desperadoes, formerly The Gay Desperadoes (they dropped the "Gay'' after returning from an overseas tour), walked into a panyard started by some dissenters from his band, who decided to set up shop a few blocks away. He smashed their pans, declaring that "the hill has room for only one steelband and that is Despers." There was no dissent after that. It is ironic that there is now no room on the hill for Despers themselves any more, due to the criminal element that has been allowed and encouraged to flourish.


For more info check out...http://www.panonthenet.com/news/2015/mar/rudolph-charles-the-baddes...

Thirty years after death, Rudolph Charles remains...
The Baddest Desperado
by Dalton Narine

I was told by a former Desperados player,now deceased,,, that a London tour,saw a whole lot of European Homosexual men attending their CONCERTS.They were thinking that the "GAY" in front of the Desperados, meant that the Band was a Homosexual STEELBAND. So when they came back to Trinidad ,they decided to drop the GAY part ,so as to not be mistaken for being HOMOS,anywhere again. Peace and Love.

Let the Music Play

Desperadoes Vol 2 Different Me

Straight Outta Laventille

A collection of eleven tracks by pan-music artists, the Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, includes Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed", Joseph Kosma's "Autumn Leaves" and more.

Laventille is the epicenter of the Steelpan, indigenous national musical instrument of Trinidad & Tobago. From foot to summit, its sound emanates and resonates throughout the land.

Desperadoes came into being in the early 1940s, and over the years through its various states and sponsors, brought tremendous pride to the Hill and music to the world. There was a time when it was commonplace for folks to trek that Hill on two occasions annually: first to indulge in Despers' Carnival music by night, the other being afternoon Lenten celebrations at the R.C. Church.

There was peace known to the hundreds who long-stepped their way up to the panyard, knelt from time to time along the pavements as they made their Way of the Cross or would simply stop, buy and eat along the way.

The essence of this story is about the other R.C. - Rudolph Charles - who instilled standards of discipline, hard work and fraternity that came to define the band's strength. During this journey, in 1965, began the steadfast support of the West Indian Tobacco Company - WITCO, a Phenom that would have continued until today, breached only by law.

Today, there is a determined resolve to initiate a resurgence of Laventille, to restore its pride and performance. The work starts immediately and is spearheaded by the return of Despers to the top of the Hill and sharing its vast repertoire with the world community.

The journey takes place in two broad phases, the first beginning with a return of all Despers' ensembles to their original home, giving up the recent itinerant life. Going back up the Hill prompts the return to great heights, literally and figuratively.

Building on the first step and the momentum that it is hoped, will be created, is the magnum opus - creation of a community youth organization that takes hold of the primary schoolers and guide them through to adulthood.


What I've been told is that while on a "Pan on 5th Ave" roadmarch, they were greeted by gay onlookers who congratulated them on having "come out" of the closet, so the band promptly dropped the "Gay".

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

And what about the film, Casablanca?


This what the elders have told us.

We should add: Hills Sixteen,Leningrad, Red Army, Bad Twenty,Tropical Harmony


Thank you for the information.

Do you know what specific movies are associated with these bands?

Thanks again

They are not movies but taken during the war years e,g The Japanese Army were known as the Red Army therefore the names  was associated with war. Another name Lenningrade was associated with Russia.


© 2021   Created by When Steel Talks.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service