Pan Player, Arranger, Composer

Earl Rodney, a truly talented son of Point Fortin, who was honoured in 1984 for his contribution to the development of the community.

Earl had his early introduction into music by knocking the floor boards of his parents home in Egypt Village. He started playing the steelpan in 1944 when only four years old.

He was a member of the Intruders Steelband of Egypt Village between the years 1948-1950. This band started off being called Morning Stars.

By age seven, Earl was playing on the streets of Point Fortin much to the consternation of many people.

By 1951 at age twelve, he co-founded Tropical Harmony with his friend Allan Gervais, who was about the same age.

Tropical Harmony got contracted in 1961 to play at the Naval Base in Chaguaramas. This band broke up in 1965 when some members migrated.

It was at the Penthouse Nightclub in 1962 [that] Earl Rodney, who had mastered every pan and percussion instrument, learnt with the help of Allan Gervais' brother Ali, a guitarist, to play the acoustic bass. Earl joined the Dutchy Brothers the following year and remained with this highly respected musical band for three (3) years as a bassist/arranger.

Earl had a short stint with the National Steelband of Trinidad and Tobago in 1962. He was taught formal music by Melville Robin. There he met Robert Greenidge who, at that time, represented City Kids.

Earl has toured Brazil, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with Harmonites, a band he took from almost obscurity in 1967 and brought as the Number 1 band as far as Panorama is concerned in 1968, 1971 and 1972.

In 1968, he started playing with Sparrow's Troubadors. Sparrow was so pleased that he gave Earl [the chance] to arrange five of his songs on his album More Sparrow More of 1961(9).

Earl was away in 1970 when a State of Emergency was declared in Trinidad and Tobago. He was very much concerned and it was here the idea came to write a piece of music entitled Friends and Countrymen.

The album which was born as a result, was released on December 18th, 1973. This album of Calypso, Jazz, Rock and Afro rhythms was one, if not the first local production, to receive full protection all over the world; since the copyright was with the BMI International Agency in New York.

At present Earl is not as highly active in the musical field as before. However, his works will live on as masterpieces in the annals of steelband history.

© 1997 Gideon Maxime: Pg 214; PAN THROUGH THE YEARS (1952 - 1996)
[This reference is a matter of research for these pages]

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© 1997: tobagojo@gmail.com - 19971225 - 1m20071228 - 2m20140615
Historic Update: 04 December 1999; Last Update: 19 July 2014 03:30:00 TT
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The Steelbands (Pan) of Trinidad & Tobago

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