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Pan Am North Stars Steel Orchestra

The Rise and Fall of the Pan Am North Stars

by Jerry Bain

Trinidad & Tobago -  This is the story of the Pan Am North Stars Steel Orchestra. They started off in Upper Bournes Road in St. James. Trinida Up in that section of St. James was Ross Lands in the foothills of Fort George and Isaac Terrace where the ‘Pepper Pot’ nightclub used to be. Further up was a community that was given the name of ‘Pig Town.’ The Roach family lived at 33 Upper Bournes Rd. and as a kid, Sonny started beating small tin pans in order to get into the Orisha yard near Patna and Guthrie Streets. This yard was also called the Shango yard. Sonny tuned pans for the Harlem Nightingales and eventually formed Sun Valley in 1946 after playing for a while with a band called Nob Hill from Khandahar. Members from Casablanca used to come by Sun Valley yard to tune and play their pans, so much so, that Sun Valley was the only pan side from the West that could go and play on Charlotte Street on carnival nights. As the story goes, in 1950, on carnival Tuesday, Sun Valley was going up Henry St. by Queen St. and decided to take a rest. Neville ‘Zambie’ Gaskin and Sonny decided to take a walk down to Marine Square when they saw Carlton Blackbeard hitting the pans with a tomahawk while other pan players were sitting around, doing nothing about it. At a pan meeting after carnival, Sonny told the members that he was fed up because of the incident and he quit the band. After the meeting, Roy Harper, Bertie Walker, Herman Betancourt, Christopher Newton, Edmond Patterson and a couple other players also decided to leave the band and after having a meeting among themselves, decided to form a new band that Edmund Patterson called, the Stars from the North and that ‘Northern Stars’ would be their name. About three months later, Anthony Williams joined the band after leaving the band, Young Sun Valley which was also from Upper Bournes Rd.

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Great piece of PAN HISTORY, MR. JERRY BAIN!!!

Hi Claude, long time no chat. 

TRUE INEZ!!! Hope everything is going FINE WITH YOU!!!

I'm good. Just wanted you to know that a production company in TNT picked up the script and will be doing an animated movie with it. Let's see how that turns out!

THAT IS GREAT NEWS!!! Let's see how that turns out -- I am keeping my FINGERS CROSSED!!!


Thanks! It's a really good feeling, but you know how we stop. I doh want to blight meh self, but that is reality eh.


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