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Norman Darway Speaks on the History of Steelpan in Trinidad and Tobago

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Tripoli amplified Pan Staff Article
Interview Recorded: February 23, 2005
Posted: March 01, 2005

In 1957 "Tripoli" went to town with amplifying ah pan. Now, everybody saw the amplification of pan done by "Highlanders", but "Tripoli" was there before them in 1957. The fella who did that was a guy who was born in South Africa from Trinidad parentage. The last of the family, the lady lives up in de Freitas street, they call her Irene. She is the last of five and the last alive. The fella who did that was Herbert Simpson with a guy who was working in Batoo call Durant. "Tripoli" now, was de first band to play in a church service in 1952, when one of the members died. They played at the St. Agnes church in Clarence Street. Also, in 1952 "Tripoli" went to town with walkie-talkies. Simpson and them organized that, so that the captain could'-a talk to the members an' dem behind when they playing, an' they also had a jeep. They were a band where yah had to look at dem when it come to innovation. So, these things were there long before.

"Tripoli" now is a band, when it comes to competition was troublesome, they were not easy in competition, an' one who we call 'Boby Boy' [Hue Boarde], had jus come back again to do judging, he is ah man who doh sit down. He would look for what he could get the best. Then there is a guy by the name of Big Boy Iniss, he also helped "Tripoli" financially, to build them to what they are. But, the first captain, was a fellow call Joe Crik. He was serious. When Tripoli have to play Sailor mas for de carnival, they have to practice like a theatre an' when the band come jus up de road here, to meet Norman Williams, de band would line both sides of de streets and at dat time one of de hierarchy of de band, at that time ah young and ah watching, they would go in and Lamp would come out and he would salute, an' then they would take him into the band and he would inspect the band while they playing the theme from "The Shores of Tripoli", and then when he finish, they would make a next salute, then they would come in to the calypso music and that is how it use to work. Also, "Sun Valley" use to do dat same thing, so when dis guy who say that mas is a theatre, it really was a theatre in the early days because of the way they would go about it.


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