Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
Do we have anybody on this Site that can relate to the Steelband Clash with Invaders and Tokyo (I think it was 1950) EG: like where you were at the time, what you saw? or what you hear from your Parents or your friends, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeyvpBznVnA
Valentine with respect to you sir,I'm a bit disappointed that you have nothing more to say,in cases like these we must agree to disagree thus finding the truth among so many speculated after the fact statements.I also am an avid reader of this site because I've learned so much from it.When I see a mistake or inaccuracy I chime in.I'm in my 70s now so I've been around a while so most of these topics I have witnessed but the different inputs help jog my memory.Please dont withdraw, if you dont agree then counter with your thoughts on the matter,I've read all your comments and learned a lot from them..sincerely ..Bob Diaz..
Aye Val wey yuh boi? yuh should know anytime 5-6 Trini ole men sit down talkin by the end of the conversation everybody start callin the white horse grey, we ain't chuppid that's how we are. This is why we history keep changing every year, which reminds me of the ole fella that used to go and drink wid he boys in the rum shop,most nights is only when he reach home he remember that he left he bicycle by the rum shop so he had to take a taxi and go back for he bike because he need it to go to work the next day, we ain't chuppid this happens to some of us after we take 2 drink, so come back brother and leh we continue the dialogue. lol
Mr. Noel - Cecil and Bob Diaz-- With Due Respect to You All. The Reason that I Said I have Nothing More to Say Was in No way to Diss Your Contributions. Each one Teach ONE. There are So much Distortions in Our Carnival and Steel band History, That it all depends on Our Sources. We all Believe in Our Sources and are Adamant about our Information. But None of us Don't really Know. Its All Hearsay. I will always Try to give My Contributions With Love and Respect. We are all Seekers of the Truth and there are Some Truths that has been Said on this Forum. I Hope We Will all Continue These Forums and try to Educate each other in Our Ignorance. Peace & Love.
Gentlemen I am enthralled by the nature of your conversation which began with the Tokyo-Invaders steelband clash. To that I say listen carefully to the calypsonians' view in addition to those of the others, some of whom heard of it, and some of whom were there. I only heard about the Tokyo-Invaders clash from information gathering for a project that i was doing. I was there though in 1968 when the two bands clashed again on Park Street. between St.Vincent and Pembroke. That one, though, was purely musical. The atmosphere was great. The rivalry was friendly, and the reminiscing of the '50s was magical, insofar as it was beautiful hearing guys chatting onsite about the change in perspectives after 18 years or so had passed. Mind you, i say 18 because i respectfully submit to the commentary of Diaz, Darway, Young, Noel and Glenroy about the timing of that violent clash. All i can share is that the riot was huge and Tokyo took away Ellie's "barracuda" tenor pan and suggested that he come for it if he really wanted to get it back. This was after taking it back to JohnJohn and hanging it up on the big tree.
Regarding the SanJuan All Stars clash with Desperadoes, my aunt was taking me to the savannah that Carnival Tuesday to see mas'. We had left our new residence in Barataria and were heading up Charlotte Street when a gentleman advised that we turn back because of what was happening in front of the hospital. We ran like hell....she in her high-heeled shoes and me pulling her, she being slower than I was. We stopped when we reached the corner of the Eastern Main Road and George Street where HDC is now. Looking back we saw SanJuan AllStars' tank, filled with cutlasses and iron bolts with chains moving very quickly coming behind us, and some very wounded guys in tow. The band seemed to have been badly crushed because the men, apart from being hurt, looked very disoriented. It was gory, all that blood. It was a terrible sight, and i must add that my memory of that is as clear today as it was then. That sight is something I willl never forget.I also heard that on Ash Wednesday morning, the tempo continued with the Despers' captain being struck with a pickaxe in his back on a jobsite in Piccadilly street, and subsequently succumbing fro his injuries. Maybe someone amongst you can clear that up, if you know of it.
The Hylanders-Fascinators clash is true. Bottles rained down that afternoon like hail from the sky. Hylanders lost their equipment, which i still believe was the reason behind that clash..i.e. to send them into oblivion by mashing up their pans and instilling great fear into the hearts of those panmen whose only crime was that they played sweet music and were innovators on a few issues, among them being the first or one of the first steelbands to play in church. I am stating that this occurred in 1967 and not 1965. In 1965, Hylanders was alive and well on Carnival tuesday, coming down Frederick Street playing Kitchener's "My Pussin", with its sailors lining both sides of the street and chanting 'wash yuh pussin' to the strains of the melody being beautifully played out on the bass pans. It was also the first time that I saw covers over the pans. This started with Hylanders Steelband, and it was a decision of Bertie's to use plastic covering over the background instruments as a shield from the burning sun. I do not have to tell you what that led to in 1968 when Solo Harmonites hit town with their canvas covers and the impact it created. So gentlemen, Info is flowing. The first band to use covers over their instruments was Forsyth Hylanders in 1965. The first band to use covers over the entire band was Solo Harmonites in 1968. Hylanders were also alive and well in 1966.
My take on the discussion from Glenroy, Valentine and others is that the1950's and 1960's represent an era on the Trinidad and Tobago cultural landscape which bred great musical ambassadors, some of whom migrated to seek other horizons with their lives. That said, those turf clashes among steelbandsmen have a historical connection today with the activities of our young folk. The only real difference is that the weaponry used today if the gun, not the knife or cutlass per se.
As far as the re-enacting of pan on the roads via the pushing and so on, I would very much love to see that return. However, this new, technological age does not truly cater to these younger folk exuding all that energy to see others enjoy fruit from their labor. Times have indeed changed and the pan and the panman have both come a long way, but the desire to inform and educate the up and coming people about the beauty of this cultural practice has to first be presented , and in a manner that would inform and educate much more than simply entertain them. Our cultural practices are not just musical; they are also political, economical,religious etc. Pan is a hustle now for some, so anything that will impact on time and energy will cause questions about how much is being paid to 'me' to do this and that. We live in an age where people influence each other greatly, and one person, rather than see benefit in a particular engagement of a particular cultural practice on the steelband landscape will certainly question the whys and wherefores of something being done in a particular way. There is nothing that cannot be done if one sets one's mind to doing it, but in today's world it is a case of the simpler the better for all and sundry, and more effective, to say the least.
I hope this short statement helps because time does not really permit an overly long dialogue on the matter. I can only wish that this entire discussion could reach the eyes and ears of the many out there who need to be both informed and educated by all of your presentations. And, while the landscape may have changed somewhat, the music within the instrument is still there, and will be for time immemorial. Further, it may be useful if someone can suggest a bibliography where today's youth can seek and find information relative to our country's musical heritage. Too many opportunities for enhanced knowledge and perfection is going down the drain.
Great commentary , Mr. Wilson and very informative , and a lot of food for thought.
I'm still not sure about the clash being in '67 , though.....
Glad you mentioned Solo Harmonites and their canopies. No one who was there could forget the impact that band created with their size , their colorful canopies , and their rousing , arrangement of Lord Kitchener's "The Wrecker" (by Earl Rodney).
And again I must mention that those of us who advocate for a more visible , effective presence of the mobile steelband in the carnival parade assume a more modern and efficient means of transport than in the sixties and seventies.
Your point about other aspects of our culture impacting on the steelband is well taken.
Pan is indeed a hustle for more than a few , and I've always felt that too many wish to reap rich rewards before the crop is fully developed for harvest.
I think that the steelband has the potential to be much more rewarding to its members , but that would take innovation , work , a willingness to change and possibly some initial sacrifice.
And it won't be easy.
Take note gents that the same Starlift you are referring to is the band that changed the mobility landscape into what it has become today. They sought, and found through a guy named Suratsingh who once did their welding, a way to simplfy their mobility on the streets rather than be pushing the pans all day. The idea was well-received and came to fruition circa1980/1981. From its success other bands followed suit. With all that i have said in my other post I am still wondering about the sensibilities behind some sort of reversal in mobility. It would be quite interesting to hear people's views on this issue, in this 2014 and beyond.
Mr.Noel, you are most correct with your historical research. Your discourse tells me that you are well-read sir, or that you have read well. Kudos to you on your presentation of our early stages of Carnival. It may be useful also if you could point readers to a bibliography on the issue as not everyone may have had the benefit of the literature as you have presented it, even in short.
Thank you GRJ for your insightful remarks, as usual. The clash with Hylanders... I recall the year clearly. It was in 1967. I was inside the savannah, on the track, listening to pan, in the atmosphere, and hearing Despers on the track with their mouth-watering song '67. Someone mentioned that there was a massive riot by the park around by hospital (exact words from the guy which I found odd). He said that Fascinators Steel Orchestra had just destroyed Hilanders' pans. I was flabbergasted.
I agree with your other point that it will take a whole new mindset to rewind and then fast-forward the spectrum of the steelpan. However, we continue to live in hope, and watch calmly as our sweat is carted off to other shores in the quest to earn that almighty dollar.
Mr. Wilson. You are Wrong with the Year of the Highlanders Clash. It was Definitely in 1965. I was Present on the 2nd of March Carnival Tuesday. I was a Young Man Playing with Coca-Cola Gay Desperadoes. The Mas we Played that Year was The Harvest of King Scorpio and the Tune that We were Playing was 'Hold On to Your Man' By Kitch.. When the Battle Started We were Opposite the Memorial Park Upper Charlotte Street. I can Remember it as if it was Yesterday. it was Mind boggling. The Skies were Lit up Bright with Bottles of Different Colours. This Is So True.
Val you are right with the year of the clash with Johannesboug Fascinators and Forsyth Highlanders Steel Orchestra, the year was 1965. Folks you must remember Highlanders had two clashes in the space of three years at the same area on Charlotte street opposite the Hospital. The second clash was In 1967 when Forsyth Highlanders Clash with Sylvania East Side Symphony. NUFF SAID.
You're right , Earl Richards , i remember that it was after the second clash that Hylanders gave up , ending Bertie's ambitious experiment with amplification.
If I remember correctly , i believe that Hylanders published a letter in the newspapers announcing that the band was disbanding , and giving the reasons why.
Hylanders Steel Orchestra as an entity was the biggest casualty of the Steelband wars .
Earl You are also right with the other Clash. The Clash in 1965 was the More Notorious one. It was the First Year of the Amplified Pans Which Bertie had introduced. The Smashing of the Pans came out of Jealousy. The Pans were High Pitched because of its Amplification Calling their Music Chinese Music. To Add insult to Injury they also Won the Bomb Competition on Jourvert Morning With ''Let Every Valley Be be Exalted.