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Frank 'Crawl' Findlay's Send-Off

Frank 'Crawl' Findlay
Frank 'Crawl' Findlay Reporters
Event Date: June 13, 2008
Posted: June 29, 2008

The rain poured on the hills of Laventille, epitomizing the sadness of loss and the joy of remembrance of the beloved 'Crawl'.

Recognized as a Pan genius, Frank 'Crawl' Findlay, Nine Bass player of the Desperadoes Steel Orchestra passed on in a vehicular accident on Sunday 8th June, 2008. On Friday 13th June, his funeral service took place at the Desperadoes Panyard, Upper Laventille Road, Port of Spain at 10 a.m. in front of hundreds of family members, friends, and fellow band mates.

Friends of Frank 'Crawl' Findlay
Friends of Frank 'Crawl' Findlay

Speaking with several persons who had congregated at the Panyard, they all had similar views about the deceased. They all agreed that he was a quiet individual, that he had the ability to make people laugh with his witty jokes and that his Pan playing was extraordinary. His sobriquet 'Crawl' was a metaphor for his unique Pan playing: his hands seemed to move in slow motion, gracefully crawling about the Nine Bass Pans. One Desperadoes elder even noted that compared to several Pan players who tend to beat the Pan hard, 'Crawl' would play the Pans very softly, barely touching the instrument at all, which added to the delicate sweetness of his music. Many also shared the position that his passing is a great loss to the Pan fraternity, not because his legend would be forgotten, but because he was one of the few Nine Bass players in the country, and one of the most adept at that.

Roseford Coutin - Frank 'Crawl' Findlay's last student
Roseford Coutin - Frank 'Crawl' Findlay's last student

Fortunately, Frank 'Crawl' Findlay's talent on the Nine Bass is not all lost as he has passed the baton to his last student, Roseford Coutin, who survived the crash that took Findlay's life. Coutin or 'Young Crawl' as Findlay affectionately called him promised not to let 'Crawl' down by continuing playing the Nine Bass Pan and by developing on what Findlay had taught him.

Other persons that spoke with about the late Pan legend, Frank 'Crawl' Findlay were: Manager of Desperadoes Finbar Fletcher, Desperadoes Captain Bertram Glasgow, Findlay's first cousin Steve Charles, best friend Clifford Brown, father of young accident victim Roseford Clouden, student Roseford Coutin, Guitar Pan player Willis Roban, Scratcher man for Desperadoes Phillip Elder, elder Archibald 'Charlie' Gordon, Double Second player Kenny Joseph, Tenor player Kenneth Charles, Mas builder for Desperadoes Carl Totesau, Laventille elder Steve Bernard and friend of Desperados since 1967 Senior Superintendent Steven Addison.

Denis Hollis Ash
Denis Hollis Ash

The first eulogist for the service, Denis Hollis 'Tash' Ash, spoke about the many achievements of Findlay who came into the band about 1962. He intimated that 'Crawl' was a genius at what he did and that his music was international as people came from all over the world to hear his instrument. He ended his eulogy by emphasizing that the circumstances surrounding Findlay's death must be investigated.

Fitz Alexander the second eulogist, said that he knew 'Crawl' for a long time, since he joined the band over forty years ago, and had built a friendship with him lasting decades until his passing. He reminisced about days that they slept on Gazette papers because they lacked material resources and wanted to allocate their meager funds to ensure that the band went forward. Members of the band, Alexander said, sometimes lose their wives and children for the development of the Steelpan. He said that people do not understand what was done to ensure the survival of the band and lauded 'Crawl' and the other members for laying the groundwork. He ended by voicing his dismay that we wait until legends die before we recognize them. This, he appealed, has to end and legends must be recognised while they are alive.

Marcus Findlay
Marcus Findlay

A poetic eulogy was then read by one of the children of the deceased, his son, Marcus Findlay. In his eulogy, he said that his father's purpose was fulfilled: he was a true Pan man, he was leader of the bass section, he touched many around the world with his Pan-playing, he was a father to many and he was always respectful to his children. Although not a 'party man', the junior Findlay intimated, he would always dance for Carnival: one of his favorite times of the year.

Findlay ended his moving eulogy by putting forth an acronym for C.R.A.W.L.: Caring, Rare, Adorable, Wise and Loving.

Conrad Findlay (father of Frank Findlay) and Fr. Clyde Harvey
LEFT: Conrad Findlay (father of Frank Findlay) and Fr. Clyde Harvey

The father of the deceased also spoke briefly saying that it is hard to lose a son and gave special thanks to 'Despers', as he fondly called them, for what they have done for his son.

Fr. Clyde Harvey, officiator of the ceremony, said that it is good that people do what they do because they love what they do and that 'Crawl' certainly loved what he did. He also stated that the Desperadoes Steel Orchestra is blessed with several talented individuals and must be grateful for the success that the band has produced.

He also mentioned the technological innovations done to acoustic materials that successfully contain sound, but only the higher frequency sounds. The bass tones cannot be easily contained because of the longer wavelengths which he believed was very significant and symbolic in relation to the life's work of the Nine Bass champion.

Desperadoes Steel Orchestra
Desperadoes Steel Orchestra

The Desperadoes Steel Orchestra offered a few tunes during the service giving soft, yet soul piercing renditions of songs fitting for the occasion. Marilyn Williams also offered her voice with the song "How Great Thou Art" which moved many to tears.

After given the sendoff of a Pan hero, Frank 'Crawl' Findlay was interred at the Western Cemetery in St. James.

Celebrating the Life of Frank 'Crawl' Findlay in pictures:

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