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Saturday 17 August 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Don’t let Harmonites die

THE EDITOR: As a pan elder I am appealing to anyone who would listen, especially in authority, to come to the aid of a great steel orchestra – the Harmonites. I am deeply hurt when I pass by Morvant Junction and see that pan theatre standing like a lonely sentinel to its past glory.

For those who came in late, Solo Harmonites ruled the pan roost in the early seventies with four scintillating Panorama wins and “Bomb” tunes sweeter than Caroni brown sugar. All this was under the musical baton of one of Trinbago’s gifted pan sons, Earl “Barney” Rodney.

Like some bands, Harmonites has gone through some internal problems that saw a split in its unity. Now I understand internal rumblings and grumblings plus financial problems have floored the Harmonites.

As a 15-year-old boy I was baptised with the music of Solo Harmonites’ arrangement of King Fighter’s Man In Your Pyjama Suit. I fell in love with Harmonites. I wanted to play with the steelband but my mom would not let me travel from Belmont to Morvant Junction.

Today I am calling on all past and present panmen of Solo Harmonites, men like Hue Loy, Jason “Peanuts” Isaac, Owen Serrette, Ephraim Serrette and other diehards, to come together to lead a Harmonites revival.

We just can’t let a great iconic pan institution die after men like Rodney, Allan Gervais (tuner), Lloyd “Sugar” George, Hue Loy, Joe Renaud, Ras Obedia and others worked hard to build this creative musical edifice.

On another steelband note, condolences to the family and friends of a great “Sando” son and panman/arranger, Steve Achaiba, on his passing in July.

Steve will be remembered for his brilliant arrangement of Hatters’ interpretation of Kitchie’s Tribute to Spree, which demolished the big bands of Panorama 1975.


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