Champion Steelpan Arranger Earl Rodney has passed away on December 5, 2023. Read on to know more about his death in detail.
Earl Rodney passed away:
The legendary pannist, composer, arranger, and musician Earl Rodney passed away on December 5, 2023. This sad news was announced by Pan Trinbago in the following social media statement, which reads,
It is with deep sorrow and heavy hearts that we, the Pan Trinbago family, extend our heartfelt condolences on the passing of a renowned arranger, true icon, and pioneer in the Steelband movement, Earl Rodney.
Earl Rodney, whose Steelpan journey began in 1948 in Egypt Village, Point Fortin, has left an indelible mark on Trinidad and Tobago’s cultural landscape.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Earl Rodney’s family, friends, and all who have been touched by his remarkable journey. May his soul rest in Eternal Peace.
Cary Codrington also posted about this sad news, by posting a tribute that reads,
“Thanks for the music, I’m sorry you didn’t get your flowers when it mattered the most. Sleep well, Dr Rodney”
Who was Earl Rodney?
Earl Rodney, a highly skilled Point Fortin native and pan player, arranger, and composer, received recognition in 1984 for his valuable contributions to the community’s growth.
Earl’s early musical education began when he banged on the floorboards of his Egypt Village parents’ house. At the age of four, he began playing the steelpan in 1944.
From 1948 until 1950, he was a part of Egypt Village’s Intruders Steelband. This group was originally known as Morning Stars. Earl began performing on Point Fortin streets at the age of seven, much to the dismay of onlookers.
In 1951, at the age of twelve, he and his roughly age-matched friend Allan Gervais co-founded Tropical Harmony.
Earl Rodney’s final performance in a musical career that spanned several decades was in 2019 at his birthday celebration, 81 and still going strong.
Rodney joined Solo Harmonites in 1967. He was originally from Point Fortin, Trinidad. In 1968, the champion arranger took home his first championship with Harmonites.
He went on to win two more titles in 1971 and 1972, so it wasn’t his last. In 1969 and 1973, he also finished in third place twice.
He delved into identifying a new perspective on nation music that was bubbling up in the early 1970s — post-Black Power Revolution in T&T, concurrent with both kaisojazz development and soca’s beginnings — with his album “Friends & Countrymen”.
He composed a new kind of fusion music: funk and Africa, pan and percussion, syncopation and soul. Some would call it World Music, some would call it jazz fusion,
He obtained titles for the following three songs: Wrecker, Play Mas, Lord Kitchener’s, and St. Thomas girl. The news of Earl’s passing will undoubtedly cause grief in the music industry.
Tributes to Earl:
Hameed Shaqq posted,
Rest in ETERNAL Peace. Master Earl Rodney.
Derron Ellies Music tweeted,
The cultural community is taking a hard hit every year since the pandemic began. Travel well, Earl Rodney… thank you for your musical offerings and your dedication to the steelpan family.
Dawad Philip posted,
Friends and Countrymen
Earl, the Universe is infinitely richer this morning although there is a hollow void left in this mortal landscape.
Amrit Samaroo wrote,
A cultural giant has left us. Rest in peace Earl Rodney. Your pioneering work and advocacy for Steelband/Trinbago’s music elevated us to greater heights. Thank you for your contribution..
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