'Bertie' Marshall Speaks on the Steelpan
Bertram Lloyd Marshall
Trinbagopan.com Staff Article
Interview Recorded: March 13, 2005
Posted: March 18, 2005
Bertie Marshall (1936- ) is one of Trinidad and Tobago's living icons who has made an invaluable contribution to the evolution of the steelpan instrument. Marshall, an adept pan-tunist, introduced several fixtures and accompaniments to the instrument that are evident today such as the canopy, and the popular double tenor pans. He is also responsible for other innovations made to the pan such as the introduction of the chromatic scales to the instrument and adding a "keyboard face" to the pan for greater proficiency. Bertie Marshall was also the leader of the "Armed Forces" band and later ascended in the ranks of the band "Highlanders" and became captain, as well as its tuner and arranger. His association with the "Highlanders" ensured their numerous victories in the Bomb Competition. Also, through the "Highlanders", many pan renditions were made indelible in the musical history of Trinidad and Tobago such as "Gypsy Rhonda", "Italiana in Algiers", "Let Every Valley Be Exalted", a Waltz from the Opera "Faust" and "Bertfone". Marshall, a perfectionist, is involved in the pan movement for the main purpose of insuring the instrument's continuous betterment and improving its sound.
The saga of the steelpan is expressed in Marshall's words...
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