Winston "Spree" Simon (1930 – 18 April
1976) developed an 8-note ping-pong (tenor pan) in 1943 and, by
1946, had increased its range to 14 notes. He is best remembered for his
virtuoso performance on Carnival Tuesday (March 5) 1946 when he played four
tunes on his pan to an elite audience that included the Governor, Sir Bede
Clifford. His selections were "I Am A Warrior," - Lord Kitchener's
"Tie-Tongue Mopsy, - " Schubert's "Ave Maria," - and the then
national anthem, - "God Save The King."
He lived in the John John area and was the first leader of Destination Tokyo in 1948. It is believed that he led Tropical Harmony and Fascinators at the same time. He was one of eleven pan men selected to join TASPO (Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra) as the Trinidad & Tobago representatives at the 1951 Music Festival in England. After his tour of England with TASPO, Simon went to Africa to teach the art of playing and tuning pans. He was immortalized in 1975 by Lord Kitchener in the calypso "Tribute to Spree Simon," and a monument to his contribution to the steelband was installed in John John.
Accomplishments and influences of Lennox “Bobby” Mohammed
Of all the discussion of culture warriors there is one individual that seems to have been forgotten. Nerlin 'Lynn' Taitt was a champion Pan soloist, Steelband pioneer and innovator from south Trinidad. He was also a guitarist and many musicologists credit him with the birth of Rocksteady which is the root of Reggae, just as Calypso is the root of Soca. Lynn Taitt is considered the pioneer of Rocksteady music... the cradle of Reggae music!
Calypso King of The World -Slinger Francisco
Edited by Kemet Newsletter (2014)
The Mighty Sparrow or Birdie was born Slinger Francisco, July 9, 1935, in Grand Roy, Grenada, West Indies. He moved to Trinidad with his family when he was about one year old and grew up in Port of Spain.
He is a calypso singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Known as the "Calypso King of the World," he is one of the most well-known and successful calypsonian. He has won Trinidad's Carnival Road March competition eight times and has been named "Calypso Monarch" eleven times.
There are many great calypsonian in
Trinbago, but he is known as the “Calypso King of the World," because he is the most versatile and successful. He
sings Humorous, Educational, Political, Social, Sexual Suggestive, Road March,
and other style of Calypso in different languages.
It is easy to self-proclaim and self-title in the entertainment industry. Many artistes tout to be the “king” of this or the “queen” of that. But, in rare cases, the title is bestowed and the head that wears the crown earned it by the sweat of his or her brow—by enduring roller coaster careers, by piloting uncharted waters and even facing down the censure and condemnations of her own community. Drupatee Ramgooni is the queen of chutney Soca: “I had my fair share when I sang Roll up the Tassa,” explained Drupatee.
“Being an Indian woman, the people, the older set,
didn’t like the idea of an Indian woman venturing out on stage.” Classically
trained by Ustad James Ramsawak, Drupatee began her career singing bhajans and
performing at Indian cultural shows and pageants, including Mastana Bahar.
The backlash was hard and swift. When Drupatee decided to enter the calypso arena in 1987 with her tune Chutney Soca, the move was looked upon by many as her flaunting the traditional role of the East Indian woman. And Drupatee, like other early female calypsonians, had to withstand the demands of competing in a male dominated industry. I went through Hell,” she said. Now her high pitched “Weee!” has become synonymous with chutney music.