Rudolph Charles - Thitry-Four Years Later, Steelband Leader Still Exceptional
Originally published - February 2010
Global - - March 29th, to be exact - will be thirty-one years since the death of one of the most influential figures in the history of the steelpan movement. Rudolph Valentino Charles was one of the finest leaders, innovators and visionaries ever produced by the twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago. His ideas, concepts and products still reverberate in steelpan music communities globally today, both in terms of his inventions and the people he influences and motivates. Moreover, his thought process and vision went way past the steelpan art form.
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In my opinion my brother Hannibal at the very top.NUFF SAID.
I meet Rudolph V. Charlies in 1965, the year Robert Greengage, Nick myself and others joined the then WITCO Gay Desperadoes and 51 years later I can still recall his words to us," if you are here to beat pan you are not welcome we already have tuners, however, if you are here to PLAY pan you are welcome". Point of focus here, the identification of the pan as a musical instrument that should be played as any other musical instrument.
I will never attempt to discredit the contributions that charlo made to the pan environment,despite the fact that he was no malcolmx when it came to the struggles of the steelband movement, he was a leader in the true sense.I will like to think that had he been still around in the flesh things may not have been what it is now with Pan Trinbago or Desperadoes for that matter.I am a little too young to remember what happened with George Goddard and what brought his leadership to an end with the then Steelbandmen association.But i know charlo was a no nonsense kind of leader he demamded the respect of his peers and everyone he did any kind of business with and he got it.R.I.P
Ralph MacDonald - WST Exclusive Interview - On the legendary Rudolph Charles
Explainer - Rudolph Charles
Album: Why? Arranged By Frankie McIntosh Released : 1985