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Meet Curtis Pierre of Dixieland Steel Orchestra: An Original Trinidad Pan Story - UpClose!

An exclusive Von Martin interview with Mr. Curtis Pierre of Dixieland Steel Orchestra, one of the first 'college boy' steel orchestras in Trinidad and Tobago. Hear in his own words, Curtis Pierre's story, in Martin's interview.

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Why? Because it was a significant part of steelband and the steelbands' associations' histories. I understand "the interview is NOT about George Goddard...". Hopefully, you can understand that my comment IS about GEORGE GODDARD, as it relates to Curtis Pierre's involvement in the steelbands. So, again, yes; I am disappointed that yet another beneficiary of George Goddard's legacy, failed to grab the opportunity to share how Goddard impacted his life. So, I'm here to "keep them honest", so to speak.

NOTE: I "bring up" anything that I cannot stomach. To answer your final question: The response to the "firearm charges" by Goddard and NATTS, is what I regurgitated. If it were my intent to smear Curtis Pierre's image, I would have omitted the comments made by my dad in his defense. As EVERYONE knows, I respect my dad's judgement, and if he says Pierre was a decent man, then I take his word for it. My disappointment is in the reality that although the body that represents "panmen" and "panwomen" came to his defense. he made NO mention of NATTS nor any of the steelbands' associations. Again, I like to share "inconvenient truths" as they relate to "pan history", even if those who benefited from those "truths", fail to. Curtis Pierre was representing both STEELBANDS and TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO when there charges and eventual conviction were laid against him. THAT MAKES IT A PART OF "A GOOD HISTORY LESSON...". BTW - There was NEVER, EVER, ANY "STEELPAN MOVEMENT". There was a STEELBAND MOVEMENT. I know to the under-informed this may seem like semantics, until we realize the plot to remove the steelband, and that the steelband is the one that's threatened. Not the instrument, call it whatever you like. Thanks for your comment and concerns.


No sir, what your comment about firearm charges is "significant" to, is the fact that Curtis Pierre didn't mention your father, like you wanted him to, in a 24min interview; and THAT's what your 'disappointment" is all about.

These firearm charges are about as significant as if Mr. Pierre donated to charity, drank, or smoked, back in those days. They are of NO bearing what-so-ever.

And, please, let's not speak of, or mention anything about being "under-informed", because clearly, you were as well before Mr. Gonzales posted the link to that article.

I understand that you respect and admire your father, as many other people do; my point is, you chose to bring up and argue a point that holds no weight in the interview conducted by Mr. Martin.

BTW, you want proof? Take it from someone who was actually there in 1961....Curtis Pierre.

Does he HAVE to say at the end of every statement that he makes: "This is a factual claim that I am making." in order for it to be true? What "primary sources" are you looking for? A book or article that was written back in 1961 that could very well be a "made up fact" just the same as the article that Claude posted?


Com'on now, if you believe what your father said about Mr. Pierre, then surely you should believe what he, Curtis, said in his interview.

Oh, I guess there was mention of a book by Dr. Felix Blake, posted by Terry, which makes similar claims to what Curtis said.

Alan, stop making me out to be one of your enemies. Pick a fight with someone else. If you were there, then YOU ARE A PRIMARY SOURCE! Any photos, old passports, newspaper reports, etc, would be helpful, my colleague. Again, NO disrespect to either you or Mr. Curtis Pierre. You are twisting my intent, but go ahead if that turns you on. I just happen to be from the "Show Me" state, especially after what many so-called experts did with the "Spree Simon invented pan" t'ing. Hope you understand, but if not, that's cool be me. Only out of brotherly love, I even bothered reply to you. But I expect you to twist the intent of that as well. Seems to be a GREAT quality in Trinidad and Tobago...twisting comments. More power.


First of all, this is a discussion, I am not making you out to be anything, much less my enemy. That would be rather immature. Secondly, I have not twisted anything. Logic my friend, is what I have turned to in order to support my case, or rather, refute yours. I understand if you see that as "twisting" your words.


In any case, I think we are beating a dead horse now. Hopefully you got the proof that you were seeking. This will be my final comment to you on this forum. The closing statements/final words are yours.

I hope that there are no hard feelings.


-- My utmost respect to you Ghost. Thanks for all of your replies.

Dr. Felix Blake's book, Trinidad & Tobago Steel Pan History and Evolution, documents on page 209 that:


In 1960, the band made a clean sweep of the Trinidad Music Festival, winning
the preliminaries, quarter finals, semi-finals and finals. The record still stands. In the
same year Dixieland with ten years of performances behind them, cut their first longplaying
album. And 1961 saw the band undertake an extensive tour of Scandinavia,
Amsterdam, Paris, Dusseldorf, Rome, Lusaka and Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia where
they were guests of the International Congress of African Culture. (I.C.A.C.) Here,
a 4-day schedule of performances stretched to six weeks, such was the over whelming
acclaim for the band from Trinidad.

@ Claude thanks for printed info

@ Mr. Goddard. I also thought that Desperadoes was the first Steel Orchestra to visit the African Continent, until I read a newspaper article from 1968 at the T&T archives on upper Aber or St. Vin streets in P>O>S>. (cannot recall exact street)

In my book, "400 Q & A on Pan from 1960 to Present," two of the questions are (1) Name the first Steel Orchestra to visit the African Continent? (2) Name the first Steel Orchestra to visit a free African Country. Dixieland went to Rhodesia, which was not a free country for the natives, because of the terrible apartheid system. As you know, the name was changed to Zimbabwe when the native majority voted and won election in 1979. In 1966 Desperadoes visited Dakar, Senegal for The Arts Festival. I have to mention that they performed the most difficult classical piece on pan at the time, "The Marriage of Figaro" and awed the listening audience. (lol) Thanks for the challenge; I am also for "correct history" and not history; that is why I worded "first to visit the African Continent"

Very good interview, I am glad he mentioned that the Pan man need to be able to read music (sight read), being able to do this will make the Pan man more advance musically.

Those were the days my friend, we thought they would never end.....too much fighting for the power of what?? too much commercialization, $$$ and the like, who really is a true pannist?? its not the ones fighting for 'BIG' money but those who promote our culture as "born & developed, loved and nurtured in TRINIDAD." Please do not say, 'in the Caribbean,' nor do I want to hear the fantasies of how and where 'the new pan factories' of the world are now!!  Oh please, lets talk about the pan masters, who are teaching the faithful to play and continue to spread the word, 'Pan is me,' great job Curtis, to you and the masters of living & loving our "pan around the neck" to the big band sound!! For the great supporters and cultural awareness that our people are proud to demonstrate, D.D., we love & respect you for all you have done & continue to do for the 'human' side of the PANMAN (woman  on the bass!!) Has Anyone discovered the 'I' in team??!! do tell, Take care..........


Check this people.  If self adulation was a virtue that dude "ghostman" would be sitting at the right hand of GOD.

Ah lie?

Fantastic interview Curtis. You may be among the best to work on the

development of a house of the history of the steel pan. I do not want to call it

an archives because archives conjure up the image of  museums where dust

 and cobweb gather. Not so ,this house of history must develop with the steel

pan keeping each stage alongside the real in a dynamic type of mastery.

I think you can do it. Selwyn here, Ken's brother and Decca's brother-in-law.

very insightful and informative interview.

Thank you for your contributions to our culture, Mr. Pierre.


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