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Legendary Steelpan innovator, builder and tuner Bertie Marshall has passed

When Steel Talks extends sincere condolences to the Family, friends, colleagues and greater steelband fraternity, on the October 17, 2012 passing of Bertie Marshall of Trinidad and Tobago - legendary Steelpan innovator, builder and tuner.


Noted historian, journalist and film maker Dalton Narine writes:

“Bertie Marshall, 74, is a dreamer and trailblazer. A tuner of forceful personality who impressed his will on Pan.

“A harmonica player, he strove to achieve harmonics on steel. Not a single note played on the instrument in the 1950s, even by the top steel bands, resonated in his ear.

“Each note lacked something crucial to music. The blending of several notes or harmonics to beget the dominant note. That’s what Marshall accomplished through experimentation.

“As in religion - well, as in pan - every scrap of information is subjected to subjective interpretation. Anthony Williams will forever be in conversation. In 1953, Williams of North Stars, also was tinkering with the sound. Using a peculiar grooved design he termed the spider web, Williams found that by hammering octaves on each corner of a note he had eliminated overtones. However, while tuning pans in New York City with a strobe in 1969 for a Madison Square Garden concert featuring Trinidad’s most famous pianist, Winifred Atwell (accompanied by North Stars), the gospel truth did not elude Williams. “It was the first time that I had [knowingly] tuned with harmonics,” he recalls.

“By that time, Bertie Marshall’s Highlanders had won two Bomb competitions in Port of Spain. Led by a single electronically amplified tenor, the harmonically empowered steel band marked a milestone in Pan in 1965 when it performed Handel’s “Every Valley Shall be Exalted,” and, two years later, the most complex Bomb tune of all time, Rossini’s “Italiana in Algeri” (Italian Girl in Algiers). Even the basses and a couple of other pans were amplified for the 1967 road jam.

“Since that glorious epoch of the 1960s, Highlanders - and, by extension Pan - sprung up like a grass fire. The Bertie Marshall film attempts to capture the flame of his genius, and explain Highlanders’ exalted place in the pantheon of Pan.”

click to see film


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This is so sad the only thing I can say is we have lost another one of our great Heros,but  never to be forgotten and always in our heart you will always remain  Berti,

Glad I have got one set of your great triple guitar pans that I still use, your works live on,

A legend has left us. His contribution to the art is a legacy and one which we will treasure always. May he rest in peace.

To the family, please accept my heartfelt sympathy of the passing of Mr Bertie Marshall, may he rest in peace, Amen

may God bless him fore the job he did in the pan world and fore all the sweet songs he put in the notes of the  pan

Bertie Marshall may God god bless you and all your family we will miss you dearly 

Deepest condolences to the family of Bertie Marshall.  Thanks for your significant contributions to the continuing evolution of our pan!


R.I.P. Bertie you will be surely be miss as a legend and pan innovator, band leader, pan maker ... you did it your way....thanks again

Shalom Uncle Bertie

I know you will rest in peace until the Most High is again ready to make use of for your great talent.

I will always remember you pounding and burning dem drums on the fire in Erica Street and your resulting creations. I think everyone in Success Village will. 

Condolences to Antuie Annabelle and the children and everyone you loved and who loved you and the WST family. Hold tight Sid.

Blessed Love


We the members of the NLCB Fonclaire Steel Orchestra extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends and the wider Pan fraternity on the passing of Bertie Marshall. To Desperadoes and other Steelbands he was associated with one way or the other, along with the people of Laventille we thank you for sharing this icon  with the world in respect to the development of the Steelpan, his inovation has contributed to this unique instrument being named our National Instrument. Its by your dedication and hardwork along with other Pioneers that we enjoy playing the Pan, and can proudly say that this Instrument originated in Trinidad & Tobago, so again we thank you.  

Messages for Bertie Marshall

On behalf of the Board of J'Ouvert City International, Inc. we pass on our condolences to the family.  May God strengthen the families of Bertie Marshall.  May the Pan Movement be forever propelled by his innovativeness, visionary style and compelling drive towards the continual, progressive development of the PAN INSTRUMENT.  May his legacy forever live on in our hearts and in the fascinating and growing history of our PAN INNOVATORS.



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