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Celebration of Women and the Steelpan Art Form


Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - “She was an intellectual, a star, a child prodigy, a music Pioneer, multi-talented, thoughtful, forward-thinking and a steelpan musical collaborator in an era when women were looked down upon for any association with pan. When Steel Talks spotlights musician, performing artist, composer and world renown pianist extraordinaire and one of the biggest main stream artist in British history - the late Winifred Atwell, producer of the most phenomenal steelpan music recordings ever - Ivory and Steel..”

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Beautiful! Thanks for enlightening me on this piece of history. Learn something new every day.

Brilliant! should have her images sculptured in some TT Hall of Fame

I do not know if this was done but it would be nice for her pic to be on our TT Dollars . Lets Cherish our Greats .

As a born Trinidadian living outside the country for almost half a century, I've been asked many questions about the steel pan.. As a musician featuring the steel pan I've been required to explain the phenomenon behind the creation of the art..In 1972 Tripoli steel orchestra was contracted to perform in a Carnegie style theater called "Melody Fair" in the Niagara falls area. We all know they were  brilliant as they performed with Liberace all over the world with much success.However, without Liberace's style programme they were a disappointment to the concert style audience and was cancelled after three days out of seven.  A front line of eight iron men was not appropriate for that type of event.My then agent and I went to the show and I was a bit surprised to see the type of show they presented to this audience knowing their capabilities. Enter Winifred Atwell and the Pan Am North Stars steel orchestra. It was in Freeport Bahamas, at the Holiday Inn 1970. They put on a show I will say was the best I've seen featuring the steel pan. They not only demonstrated the infinite diversity of the instrument but also the compatibility with an instrument as universal as the piano. The fact that Pan Am North Stars steel orchestra was the supreme in classical music to this day and Winnifred Atwell was no slouch compared to Liberace didnt hurt my feeling as the proudest person in the building, and a trini to boot.  The woman demonstrated how the piano rifts should be applied to the delayed resonance of the pan to produce the unison and ambience similar to a seventy piece symphony orchestra..A perfect example could be found on the album "Ivory and steel", the number,  "the wedding".. Yes she should be placed on our money, yes she should be crowned as the genuine ambassador to the pan industry, because no matter what the culture or the country the universal appeal to music applies to the combination of the  musical wonder of the steel pan and a woman pianist named Winifred Atwell..  Picture thisTrinis,  A grand concert at Carnegie hall featuring world renowned Pianist Winifred Atwell and and mystro pannist Robert Greenidge..Owww!!!

Hello Robert (Bob)

Could you tell me when the Tripoli show was cancelled. Date and place?  Original band Tour band was never cancelled. I met you and brothers in Toronto. So Please Explain?

It was in 1972 summer time at Melody fair lower Niagara Falls.NY.. Liberace wasnt with them. I Dont know if it was before or after your show  in Toronto you know when you did that "pool dip scratcher" display, I smile every time I think of that ..When was the original band tour was it before or after you were in Ohio.. I keep getting dates mixed up,  age you know..I also heard the band dwindled down to less than ten members, how true was that..

Hello Bob, This was Hugh Borde, Tripoli steel band(the name) Tripoli was patented by Hugh Borde. There was a dispute unknowing to me. The remainder of the group was then called the Esso Trinidad Steel band.

Thank Glenroy Joseph for this!!!

Who would have thought such soothing sounds  could emanate from the steelpan. Music produced under the wizardry of one of the greatest  "pop/jazz/classical" piannist of the last century Winnifred Atwell. Oh How as a country we fail to recognise and celebrate the gold!  I add my appeal to others who call for some form of official recognition. Tomorrow as International Women's Day may be an apt time.

I am lucky to have a vinyl of that great recording.

Winifred Atwell indeed was a musical pioneer, a very qualified woman in music in all forms. Glenroy Joseph and Claude Gonzales certainly have good taste for great talent, not just great talent but great talent from our great nation Trinidad & Tobago. My Brothers and myself had the great pleasure and honor of meeting the most graceful and very talented Winifred Atwell in 1961 when we performed for the Lord Melody promoted Band Competition held at Queens Hall. Along with Winifred Atwell, Major Denison of the police bands and Major Prospect were judges for the two day competition. The judging was unanimous and was ruled that the Dutchy Brothers are the winners. I am very joyful to see so many young talented young men and women that are excellent steel drummers and musicians in the fabulous Trinidad & Tobago, Keep it up.

Orville Dutchy DeVlugt

 that is a great part of tnt history

 i remember you guys playing on the road for maybe the first time for wilfred strasser  band

 my sis was the queen of this very small band and a first and last for strasser as a band leader

  the band was small but the music was  large a la stormy weather

  you guys were the best  along with ron berridge


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