Pan Player

[The following profile is a combined synthesis between the writings of Gideon Maxime and {Dr Felix Blake}. They do appear to be a little at odds with each other; but these differences should be resolved over the next few months.]

   He was born at Chaguaramas and was the son of Lloyd and Rose Hart. He spent his boyhood days in Port of Spain and joined Hellyard; now known as Trinidad All Stars [of] Duke and Charlotte Streets.

   A few months later, a band known as Bar 20 was formed behind the L'hospice by 'Zigilee' [Constantine], Pops and Battersby. Kenny was also part of this band. Around 1943, along with others, he helped form Casablanca on Blackett Hill, Gonzales. This band later was brought down to Oxford Street and became known as Cross of Lorraine [then] Blanca later on.

   Kenny remained with Blanca until 1949; when he and 'Boots' Davidson opened City Syncopators. 'Boots' was the captain of Syncopators from 1950-1955; when he ['Boots'] was selected to tour England with Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra (TASPO) [in] 1951.

   {Kenny Hart was first of all, a pan tuner. He was also captain of City Syncopators having been so appointed by Philmore 'Boots' Davidson before 'Boots' departure for England in 1955.}

   {Pan tuner and band captain, the versatile Kenny was an unusually good pan player as well, excelling on the second pan. He learned his craft and the finer techniques of pan tuning from Winston 'Spree' Simon.}

   Kenny was selected as a member of TASPO II, but he was unable to make the trip because hurricane Janet and Katie struck the Caribbean area in 1953. As a result, TASPO II played mainly [at] exhibitions and concerts around Trinidad. Kenny Hart was the leader of City Syncopators between 1955-1964.
   The band played Fancy Sailor for three years and then concentrated on Sailors Ashore. City Velasquez was the wire bender for the band.

   Kenny Hart spent 13 years as the executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Steelbandsmen Association. [Possably ~1951 to 1964]

   {As a member of the National Steelband that toured Michigan in 1964 under the auspices of the Moral Re-armament Association, Kenny Hart so enjoyed the experience that he made a bid to take a pan side to England. Without success.}

   In 1966 he migrated from Trinidad and Tobago to the United States of America. [Via Jamaica?]

   {He settled for Jamaica instead. It was Jamaica's first exposure to the steelband.}

   {However, there were problems; and one of the difficulties was that Kenny Hart and his group of steelbandsmen had no work permits. Reliable sources claim that it was none other than Byron Lee who brought this to the attention of the Jamaica Music Union. Each man was charged five pounds sterling. Hart had to write home to the steelband Association to relate his troubles. Even so, Kenny Hart spent the next twelve years in Jamaica as an entertainer and pan tutor.}[This brings us to ~1976-78]

   He started playing pan with Conrad Mogashu's group. He later formed the Beltones with Geoffrey Bell; a five member group which included a dancer and singer. In the USA Kenny resides [in] Queens.

   The Beltones toured the United States and played for four years at the Shelton, in Boston, Massachusetts.

   In 1976, together with his younger brother Kelvin, he assisted in reorganising Hamlen [Is this a 'typo' for Harlem?] All Stars and continues to run it to date. [1996]

   {Today [1994], Kenny Hart tutors students of the pan from Trinidad and Tobago, all the way up to New York. His favourite pannist however, remains the great Emmanuel 'Cobo Jack' Riley whom he rates "The best pan soloist in the history of pan".}

   Kenny was celebrated last year (1995), by the Wish Company Manor Pan Theatre, for his contribution to pan.

   Kenny Hart, a pannist of yesterday and today; a son of the soil of Trinidad and Tobago.

© 1997 Gideon Maxime: Pg 197; PAN THROUGH THE YEARS (1952 - 1996)
© 1995 Dr Felix Blake: Pg 197; THE TRINIDAD & TOBAGO STEEL PAN: History and Evolution
[Blake: Presented without permission; permission being sought.]
[Yes; they both have the same page reference!]

Back to Ref: Kenny Hart. Pan Player

© 1998: - 19980314 - 1m20071228 - 2m20140615
Historic Update: 04 December 1999; Last Update: 18 July 2014 21:00:00 TT
Processed by: Jeremy G de Barry

Compiled & Processed by Islands Research for:
The Steelbands (Pan) of Trinidad & Tobago

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