The following are just some of the more than 17,000 Elders in various traditions that have died in the last 10 years or so in Trinidad and Tobago. This is a list of Master Elder culture-bearers and other notables.

NAPA was conceived and fought for since the 1960s by local artists so that the Legacy and lives of people like the following could be honoured, documented, analysed and their specialized skills coded and passed on. However the entire process of an indigenous NAPA curriculum was discarded after the firing of Pat Bishop in 2008. The Manning version of NAPA is not concerned with local culture. Now NAPA is mostly concerned with European Classical traditions to service the Honourable PM’s symphonic orchestra. The local content of the curriculum is marginal and were concessions given to artists only after major mis-steps by government and the UTT administration enabled us leverage.

Whilst foreign classical professors have been individually paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and been gifted cars and houses for the last couple of years, most of the people on this list have died in abject poverty longing to pass on their gifts, skills and knowledge in a structured environment. That is our national shame. The tragedy of NAPA is its failure to understand that it is these people on this list who should have been the centre of its programmes.

As a country we do not have much time left with our Golden Age generation. We at the Artist Coalition of Trinidad and Tobago are making yet another call for the Honourable Prime Minister, the Minister of Culture, the Minister of Science and Technology, the head of the UTT Professor Ken Julien and the Acting-Principal Mr. Scott Hilton-Clarke to meet with cultural stakeholders to craft a way forward for the Academy and NAPA. We are also calling them to indigenize the curriculum and implement the 2 programmes PROJECT MEMORY and THE GUILD OF MASTERS which were crafted to rescue the Memory and skills of Golden Age Masters before it is too late:



Ras Shorty I (maestro, soca pioneer), Lord Kitchener (the grandmaster), The Merchant (protean composer), Roaring Lion (kaiso pioneer), Supreme Happiness (calypsonian), Zandolee (king of smut), Roland Gordon (judge of Soca Monarch, musician), Puppet Master (humorous calypsonian), Mystic Prowler (humorous calypsonian), Boyie Mitchell (arranger, calypsonian), Viper (calypsonian), Almanac (blind calypsonian), Big B (extempo singer), Lord Pretender (pioneer Golden Age calypsonian, master of extempo), Lord Melody (sweet voiced calypsonian), The Mighty Terror (golden voiced calypsonian, Lord Blakie (silky humourous calypsonian) , Ruby Radix (back-up singer), The Mighty Duke (master kaisonian), Calypsonian Hawk ‘Andrew Heywood’ (Calypsonian), Mighty Lord Popo (calypsonian and original member of Alexander’s Ragtime Band), Beulah Lady B (Female calypsonian), Young Tiger ‘George Brown’ (Expatiate calypsonian), Mighty Panther (Kaisonian), Sir Lancelot (Pioneering American-based calypsonian appearing in TV and movies), Nap Hepburn (Calypsonian, musician), The Mighty Unknown (calypso song-writer), Sheldon John- young king


Puggy the Midnight Robber (Traditional masman), Brian Honore (Midnight Robber & Traditional masman), Judy Chobola (friend of the mas), Judy Sanchez (mas spirit), Theresa Montano (minstrel pioneer traditional maswoman), Neville Hinds (mas man), Calvin Scantebury, Cito Velasquez (master wire bender), Theodore Eustace (3 time King of Carnival ‘Cockfight’ etc mas leader and designer). Edgar Wylie (the batman), Stanley Beguesse (master sailor dancer), Desmond Sobers ‘Jim Bill’ (genius traditional masman, best Fireman, Bookman), Michael Sherriff (Mas craftsman and cardboard sculptor extraordinaire), Alvin Bailey (Masman), Rolan Sands Pellitier (bass guitar, bass pan, mas designer), Diamond Jim Harding (footballer, best head mas sailor), Lion (Black Indian), Conrad Bonaparte (captain Casablanca, best Beast), Gilbert ‘Popeye’ Defreitas (champion roller-skater in the Caribbean, dance at Miramar, Fancy Sailor on skates), Kenneth ‘Golab’ Belgrove (played football for Green Lantern Giants, South classical Indian, Nathaniel ‘Natty’ (left with TASPO, from 29 POS, Fascinators, authentic Sailor), Wayne Berkley, Aldwyn Chow Lin On, Churchill ‘Baba’ George- leader of D Boss Belmont sailor band, Owen Hinds- San Fernando masman and trade unionist, Larry Ford- London based masman founder of Sukuya and Flamboyan mas bands,


Armin Mohammed (bank manager, steelband leader and patron). Raymond Artie Shaw (Despers classical arranger), Bain Pacheco (steelband pioneer), Birdie Mannette (steelband pioneer), Ironman Bradshaw (ironman), Sonny James (Allstars pioneer), Andre Lolly Abbot (steelband pioneer), Anthony Lynch (pan arranger), Kelvin Dove (steelband pioneer), Eddy Odingi (panman, golf enthusiast), Dr. Rat (pan man, underworld character), Choy Aming (panman, promoter, etc), Ulric ‘Chick Mc Groo Springer’ (ping pong solo champion), Clive Bradley (pan arranger, Despers), Leroy Thomas (pan tuner, leader Moods Steel Orchestra), Nearlin Taitt (pannist, creator of reggae, guitarist), Henry ‘Patcheye’ Pachot (expert biscuit drummer), Dr. Fedo Blake (rootsman, panman, author of definitive book), Oscar Pile (panman), Zigilee (panman), Earl Rodney (panman), Lincoln Harding (panman , draughtsman), George Yates (early member of Despers), Sydney Gallup (first president of Pantrinabgo), Lincoln Noel (tuner), Jones (ex-president of the Steelband Association),  Orville Wright- jazz pannist, Junior Pouchet- steelband arranger and pioneer, founder of Silver Stars, Henry ‘Benedict’ Cumberbatch- arranger for Exodus and Casablanca, Eugene De La Rosa ‘Mastife’- badjohn, Robertson- member of Girl Pat first all-girl steel orchestra


Anthony Prospect (police band leader), Hendrinson Boucaud (bandsman), Frankie Francis (pioneer band leader), Ellis Chow Lin On (band manager of Charlies Roots), Beltley ‘Watap’ Jack (band leader), Norman ‘Tex’ Williams (bandleader), Leo DeBlugt Douchie Brother (bandleader), Pete DeBlugt Douchie Brother (bandleader), Aldwyn Chongashing (Leading Jazz pianist and ballroom musician), Alfred Macdonald Clarke (Literary Figure), Cito ‘Sweeto’ Fermin (guitarist, bandleader extraordinaire), ShelShok (producer extraordinaire), Blazer-


Sundar Popo (chutney pioneer), Slyvan Bharath (tassa Master), Sonny Mann (chutney and classical pioneer and crossover artist), Owen Ali (negro who danced Indian dance), Champa Davi (pioneer, most outstanding Indian dancer), John Mohan (took part in the historic Gulshan Bahar concert- first national East Indian concert in 1943), Harry Mahabiar (musician, studied Indian music in India and was instrumental in Mastana Bahar), Chandar Baly (accordion player from Nau Jawan), Joseph Sahi (played first trap set in an Indian orchestra), Basdeo Dindial (top classical singer), Cecil Fontrose (negro who sang East Indian music), Nayodeen Ackberali (top singer in the 50s and 60s, won the first film competition in 1961), Boyie Basdeo (chutney singer), Sampson Rodhay (classical singer), Aziz Khan (won 1964 song contest, one of the 1st 3 who won scholarships to go India), Ahamad Khan (part of the historic Gulshan Bahar group), Yankatasu- East Indian classical tent singer, Rajnie Ramlakhan- artistic director Kathak Kala Sangam


Andre Tanker (fusion pioneer, Master Musician), EDMUNDO ROS- Master Latin band leader of Britain in the 50s and 60s- 100 years old, Dennis de Souza- big band leader and songwriter, Dave Marcellin-


Pat Castagne (composer national anthem), Aubrey Adams (master folk impresario), Tito Lara (pioneer parang player), Mervyn Williams (music teacher and ethno-musiscologist)


Cheryl Byron (pioneer woman in Rapso, founder of Something Positive Performing Arts Troupe in Brooklyn) 


Baba Sam Phills (Orisha Elder, drummer, bad john,) Mansa Musa (master drummer), Agba Akolejo Olufemi (formerly Robert Charles black Power advocate and Orisha elder), Mother Monica Baker (Spiritual Baptist/Orisha pioneer), Iyalorisha Melvina Rodney (pioneer Orisha priestess and former head of the Orisha Council of Elders), Agba Dambali (pan-Africanist), Mother Sutherland (Orisha priestess), Isaac ‘Sheppie’ Lindsay (African spiritualist), Shaba (Master African drummer), Jeffery Bideau(drummer, dancer, African spiritualist, brother of Andrew Beddoe), Jahja Onilu- master instrument maker and master drummer, Ralph MacDonald- 4 times Grammy award winner


Chesterton Ali (singer, actor), Johnson Chen Wing, Grace Abdool (Founder of the Music Festival), Agatha Albino (nee Abraham) (Matriarch of the Albino musical family), Lauderic Rex Caton (Introduced Great Britain to the electric guitar), Hollister Seecharan (vocalist), Pat Bishop- protean creative talent and leader of the Lydians, Geraldine Connor- cultural

WRITERS (Novelists, Poets, Journalists),

George John (master journalist), Wayne Brown (master journalist and poet), David Brewster (Sports Hall of Fame journalist, boxing scholar), Terry Joseph (culture journalist, cultural mover), Michael Gibbes (cricket journalist), Spotter (horse racing journalist), Undine Guissepie (educator and writer), Dunstan E Wliiams aka DEW (Guardian cartoonist), Keith Smith- gifted writer and Editor-at-large of the Express, James Hackett- , Rosa Guy- novelist and activist- co-founder of the Harlem Writer’s Guild, Barnabas Ramone Fortune- poet, short story writer and journalist, Roi Ankhara Kwabena, formerly Fitzroy Cook Jr- poet, musician, publisher, historian, senator and cultural activist, Poet Laureate of Birmingham 2001-2002.


Kwame Ture (global African liberation leader, coiner of Black Power), Syl Lowhar (scholar, humanist), Allan Harris (scholar), Lloyd Best (pioneer Caribbean Scholar), John La Rose (global liberation leader, publisher, Pan-Africanist), Frank Rampersard (economist), Winston Leonard (activist), Neville Mitchell (Pioneer economist), Frank Barsotti (pioneer civil servant, economist), JD Elder (historian, ethnographer, founder Tobago Heritage), Bishop Clyde Griffith (Canon Kwame Mohlabami- African revivalist of Anglican traditions), Dennis Pantin (economist, people’s advocate and institutional architect) Lester Chadband (herbalist), Desmond Allum (lawyer, defender of the people)


Carlisle Chang (pioneer visual artist), Retchie Seeraram (restaurateur and artist), Boscoe Holder (pioneer painter, musician, dancer), Leo Glasgow (painter of light), Isaiah Boohoo (Master artist of colour and the East Indian experience), Holly Gayadeen (painter of the folk), Henry Salvatori (Painter), Ian Ali (Landscape painter, host of Rikki Tikki), Pat Chu Foon (pioneering painter/sculptor), Lisa Henry Chu Foon (visual artist), Leo Warner (genius sculptor) Vera Baney (internationally recognized sculptor), Judy De Souza (iconic art teacher and artist, environmentalist), Madan Gopaul- folk sculptor, 


Noel and Sheila Norton, Rolph Warner-              


John Isaacs (pioneering young artist), Claude Reid (pioneer actor), Charles Applewhite (actor, director, activist), Flagman (patriot), Earl Warner (Caribbean director), Godfrey Sealy (writer/director, pioneering AIDS activist), Henk John (Caribbean director), Devindra Dookie (actor, director), Mairoon Ali (actress, teacher), Errol Jones (foundation of the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, one of the Caribbean’s greatest actors), Dexter Lyndersay- , Austin Forsythe-


Stork St. Hill (master comedian),


Beryl McBurnie (first lady of dance), Carlton Francis (senior folk dancer and choreographer), Carlton Francis (dance teacher, cultural officer, dance writer and historian), Julia Edwards (pioneer of Limbo), John Daniel- popular dancer with Trinidad Folk Performance Company, David Ali- dancer, choreographer and instructor with over 30 years experience in Indian dance, Dai Ailian- dancer, choreographer and teacher, one of China’s premier dance icons, widely regarded as “the mother of Chinese ballet dance.”


Roy Watts (local TV pioneer), Horace James (local TV pioneer), Carol Mora (Video Associates den mother), Jason Daly (TV host, presenter, promoter, champion of the Arts), Maurice Connor (blind pianist and accompanist to Hazel Ward), Sullivan Walker, Roy Boyke, Afzal Khan- broadcaster, head of HCU communications, Kathryn Squance- actress Sugar Cane Arrows, Allyson Hennessy-


Roger Turton (genius architect),


George Williams (lighting pioneer)


Peter Singh (designer), Yvonne Brown (first franchise holder of Miss T&T Universe and local fashion designer and icon) 


Mr. Popplewell (Lonsdale),


Ronnie Williams (politician, patron of the arts), Rudolph Williams (manager of Kaiso House), Kim Sabeeny (queenmaker), Tim Nafziger (publisher, manager, businessman, confidante) Claude Martineau (half of Spectacular Promotions), Leon ‘Taffy’ Phillips (Chee Mookes director), Rose Janneire- patron of the Carib Community,

DJs & MCs

DJ Lalo (sound technician, DJ), Eddy Yearwood


Amazing survivors:

  • Rudy ‘The Pharaoh’ Piggot-roots scholar
  • Esau Millington- last of the 1st generation Midnight Robbers- 95 years old

Posted on May 10, 2010, in President's Blog. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Thanks for this list there are those I didn’t realise are no longer with us.

  2. That list needs to be updated, will refresh it soon. More than 200 new names sorry to say…

  3. Earl Rodney? I don’t think so.

  4. godfrey wickkkam

    its TEDDY EUSTACE not THEDORE as in your caption,,

  5. It’s neither Theodore nor Teddy. It’s Tedder

  6. Rubadiri Victor

    Correct Gerry.

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