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Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

Eustace Archibald Cornell “Manning” Henry - Antigua & Barbuda

(September 1929 - March 2020)


Jessy J. Stafford Joseph – Senior Panthologist

1995 Hells Gate 50th Anniversary Concert - Interpretation Center, Shirley's Heights, Antigua
1995 Hells Gate 50th Anniversary Concert - Interpretation Center, Shirley's Heights, Antigua

“Eustace ‘Manning’ Henry, a pioneer, the unrivalled master pan Builder/Tuner/Blender, player, soloist, tutor, leader and genuine cultural hero, must be accredited for the phenomenal survival of the Hells Gate [aka Hellsgate] Steel Orchestra and the steelpan art form in Antigua & Barbuda.”

Pan – His Story

Mr. Henry’s involvement in the band was unknown to his mother and also his grandmother. Being very much aware of how strict they were and how they viewed such gatherings (Iron Band), he had to make sure that whenever the band was performing, he kept out of their sights and avoided entertaining any discussion(s) in their presence regarding the band.

On one occasion, when Mr. Henry was newly enrolled into the “Iron Band”, he was so taken up with his performance, that he was not aware that the band had trespassed into the established “NO PLAY ZONE”. He only realized that he was all alone with his instrument in his hand and the other band members were running northwards on Pope’s Head Street. He was arrested by the police and taken to the St. John’s Police Station. After Mr. Henry told the police his age and that he did not know the name of the band’s leader, he was briefly questioned, cautioned and released. After his release, he met the band at the corner of Pope’s Head and St. John’s Streets. During the early years, resultant of how most of the ‘Caucasians ‘and ‘Blacks’ (with their privilege and monopoly handed down from slavery), viewed the grass-root natives of Antigua and Barbuda, and especially gatherings like the “Iron Bands” and Steel Bands, a “NO PLAY ZONE” starting from the junction of New Gate and Thames Streets, going eastwards and turning right onto Market Street, leading southward and ending at “The Bridge”, was established. The revellers from “The Point” would cease their performance at the junction of New Gate and Thames Streets and walk quietly down to “The Bridge” and then continue their performance. The revellers from Ovals and the Gray’s Green Community had to undergo the same discrimination.

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