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New York Times Commemorates Pan Icon Martin Douglas

Martin Douglas, Who Set Tone for Steel-Pan Brooklyn, Dies at 71

By Sam Dolnick


A deft musician and beloved mentor, he helped keep steel-pan music — his bridge to the Caribbean — a vibrant part of New York life. He had the coronavirus.

Martin Douglas in an undated photo. He was a leading light of Brooklyn’s steel-pan band scene.Credit...C. Phillips/When Steel Talks

On summer nights in central Brooklyn, the roar of traffic gives way to the twinkle of steel-pan drums as musicians of all ages rehearse, improvise and compete in sidewalk lots.
Chances were good that if a steel-pan band was hitting its stride, Martin Douglas was close by.

For over two decades Mr. Douglas was a leader in Brooklyn’s steel band scene, playing his music everywhere, mentoring generations of young players and keeping steel-pan music a vibrant part of New York’s cultural life. He was the founder of Crossfire, a steel-pan band admired across the city and beyond, and president of the United States Steelband Association.


He died on March 31 in a hospital in Brooklyn, less than a week after he was admitted there with complications of the new coronavirus, his family said. He was 71.

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We will miss Dougie very much.  RIP. 

It is good to see that the Times recognized his accomplishments.

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