The “Steel band” composed by 14 amateur musicians is one of the most important in the town of El cobre, located in the central part of Santiago de Cuba province. The group director, Hermes Ramírez, expressed that when the Pope arrives to the national sanctuary, the musicians will interprete Schubert´s “Ave María” and “Virgen Mambisa”, dedicated to the Virgin of Charity, patrones of Cuba. Cuban “Steel Band” was created in 1987 and since the beginning was composed by workers at the mines of copper, now closed.
This band has performed to other personalities like the Secretary of State of the Vatican, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and the President of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernández. According the agenda, the Pope will stay at El Cobre during his first night, the next day, he will visit the sanctuary and greet the villagers as the “pilgrim of Charity”. The villagers will gather at the steps to the Sanctuary to salute Pope Benedict XVI.
In 1967, George "Sonny" Goddard wrote to Pope John Paul I, on behalf of the steelbands’ plight to be allowed to play church hymns, and subsequently receives cordial and encouraging correspondence back from the Vatican. The local Catholic Church still disapproved of pans playing hymns, and Goddard was openly criticized for his visionary move, especially by the church's parishioners. Another example of COURAGE!!! How many times have local steelbands been called on to perform Catholic hymns for the church's pontiffs? ANSWER: Never. (And this, in the "Land of Steelband...".)
Yo Ghost this is serious history. I know you are aware of the value of those letters.
My bredren : Give thanks. In my forth coming book Who Who Dey Manicou Dey, I have a chapter where the drum originated and it is right there in Point at Shell Trinidad; at the time it was called UBOT. Your comments are much appreciated. Give thanks Dr. Lance Seunarine
Kentesh, I'm not sure where you are getting your info from, but I would double-check if I were you. The idea, according to my dad (and he should know, and is a "credible" source), came back in 1958 (before the "Doc" came into power), from Dr. Patrick Solomon. The "Doc" couldn't care less about pan or "panmen", and his only ideas involved favoritism of PNM-loyal steelbands (mainly in the Port Of Spain area). The fact remains that Dr. Eric Williams, in final analysis proved to be an enemy of the "steelband movement", and his "love" for Despers was for purely political reasons. I'm sure his emotions would have been different, had they not been PNM voters. In fact, after years of empty promises, the "steelbandsmen" had NO other choice but to march in Port Of Spain, in support of NJAC and Makandal Daaga. That march ended in Woodford Square, where my dad, George "Sonny" Goddard, got up on the platform and told the masses the TRUTH about Dr. Eric Williams. Shortly after that, naturally, Eric Williams fired him. Most of you don't even really know the politics of the PNM and Dr. Eric Williams, and I have inside information, because, not only did my dad work out of White Hall, but my maternal grandfather, De Wilton Rogers was a founding member of the People's Education Movement, which became the People's National Movement. In fact, when the education drive was already taking place in Trinidad & Tobago, Eric was not yet in the picture. This is history. Yet we credit this one person, and forget the pioneers of this education drive. Not surprising, we seem to forget all pioneers and their legacies. In the end, all who went against Eric, were gotten rid of, both in position and history; from D.W. Rogers to A.N.R. Robinson to Kamal Mohammed to George Chambers to George "Sonny" Goddard. To say that my dad "inherited" ANYTHING from Eric Williams, is a terrible inaccuracy; one that can NEVER be backed up with ANY credible evidence. Period. (And there are those who are reading this, that KNOW this to be A FACT!)
Please, please cite your sources, when making such incredible claims!!!
Greetings: Don't forget that De Doc had a special love for Despers. Give thanks Dr. Lance Seunarine
Kentsh, thanks for sharing. I really need to get a copy of Kim's book. I am familiar with the photo, as it is also in my dad's book. I only hope we don't look at it as a Goddard-Doc relationship, because if my dad wasn't fighting on behalf of the steelband membership, there would have been no relationship to begin with. I think it was, and still is a steelband-government relationship. If it were for personal reasons, we (the Goddard family) would be filthy rich and politically powerful today. But my dad was too principled for our own financial and political good. Thanks again, Kentsh.
Greetings Valley says that the first pan man was a Mr. Baird from Nelson Street. ASny take on this? Dr. Lance Seunarine