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Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music


One of the least known and appreciated of all the pan pioneers of Trinidad and Tobago is Belgrave Bonaparte, the leader of the La Brea steelband Southern Symphony.
Southern Symphony, a pioneering steelband, was the first to introduce arranged and written music to the steelband , according to sources like Junior Pouchet and Ray Holman.
This band also introduced pan legends like tuners and musicians Alan Gervais , Lincoln Noel and arranger Earl Rodney.
Bonaparte was also an original member of the legendary TASPO Steel orchestra that introduced Britain and Europe to the steelband in the early 1950s.
Belgrave Bonaparte was also one of the few panmen to successfully transition to conventional music when, after being away from Trinidad for a number of years , he and his brothers returned to Trinidad as the Bonaparte Brothers dance band , which quickly gained popularity and a following in the Trinidad music scene of the early 1960s.

For the longest while . I've been trying to get an example of the sound of that band , and I've finally found one.
From the late 1960s,here is the Bonaparte Brothers Dance Band and "Watermelon Man"

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Comment by TAJsMama on August 21, 2015 at 1:27pm

@ Ms. Brenda, two of them are in the states. Thanks for your response!

Comment by TAJsMama on August 20, 2015 at 10:29pm

For 3 years, I've been trying to find some trace of my uncles music. Thank you so much!   Someone asked if the Brothers are still alive.  Yes, most are. Jesse (I'm his daughter), Mike, Theo and Joel are still alive.  They are not a group anymore but each one still plays music.  This is bringing tears to my eyes.  Hearing the stories is great but hearing the music is even better!

Comment by Wayne Joseph on May 2, 2015 at 4:13pm

This most certainly brings back memories for me also .I was just a very young man and I remember going to listen to them practice on the Old St Joseph road in Laventille and later on playing with some of the younger Bonapartes in Savoys steel orchrestra and doing a short gig on the Cruise Liner  Song of Norway with one of their relatives

Comment by Sherwin Campbell on March 24, 2015 at 11:20pm

Of course they were the least known and appreciated of all the pioneers of the Steel Pan because they were from South, to be exact, La Brea. We are one nation until it comes to Pan, then all Southerners are foreigners. Ellie Manette said they blew him away when he saw them playing with three sticks, thereby playing full chords. As a boy I remember that sound coming from the area known as Three Hands.

Comment by Randi Curvan on March 8, 2015 at 6:55pm

Thanks Glen it brings back memories of the time when we had musicians in Trinidad who played music.


Comment by evan lobo on March 8, 2015 at 6:21pm

keep up the great surprises from archives

thanks for sharing as usual

Comment by Kathleen Toppin on March 8, 2015 at 5:51pm

Wow.  Thanks Glenn.  Brings back great memories.

Comment by Jennifer Ire on March 8, 2015 at 4:51pm

Yep! I remember this and dancing to it. Thanks. Good memories of youth.

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