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Dominica's Quiet Giant -
Mr. Edward 'Eddie' André
A Look At The Man, His Mission and Passion

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Roseau, Dominica - Often one can look back in history and identify a single event, time and/or a single person whose presence, sacrifices and deeds were so enormous and critical to a movement, that we are simultaneously happily amazed and frightened - at the fragility of the survival of subsequent dependant events and cultural occurrences.   There are similar stories throughout the Caribbean of steelpan people who were the only entities that stood between life and death of the steelband movement in their midst.

In Dominica the man who has played the pivotal role in keeping the candle lit on the Dominican steelband scene is Mr. Edward 'Eddie' André.  Mr. André has at times single-handedly been the shield between the steelpan's continuous presence, and complete extinction, from the Dominican music scene.

Mr. Edward André

Currently Mr. André is Dominica's only resident tuner.  Mr. André is also one of three instructors on the island.  Choosing to consciously forego infinitely more lucrative settings and opportunities abroad - André opted instead to serve his country, Dominica.  In the early seventies the Dominican steelband music scene fell victim to emigration and the increased cost of steelpans instruments.

First introduced to the instrument as a youth in the early 1950's,  Mr. André remembers well the day he was returning home from school as a thirteen-year old, and being totally captivated by the magical sound of the steelpan instrument as a steelband performed on a neighborhood corner.  He immediately fell in love with the instrument for life.

Inspired by what he had heard - the youth literally saved his pennies to purchase his first instrument for the princely sum of five dollars.  Blessed with a natural gift and talent for the instrument, André's proficiency on the instrument was immediately acknowledged.  In spite of his young age he was sought after by local steelband leaders to perform in their steelbands.  André had the ability to play any song on the instrument after hearing it once.  He was recruited into Sun Valley steelband, whose leader was impressed with André's playing ability.

In addition to André's performing skills on the instrument, he became very interested in its actual construction.  A member of the famed Brute Force Steelband from Antigua provided both a member in his band and himself, with what was then known as a baritone pan and a tenor pan.  He studied the instruments and began experimenting in building his own.  André quickly became proficient at constructing instruments which he considers an ongoing learning and improvement process even to this day.

Mr. André has played a critical role in the development of almost every steelband-related activity in the island.  His days are quite long has he begins his regimen of tuning early in the mornings, before embarking on his instructor duties that take him late into the nights, for as many as three bands in a day.

He is very happy with the current steelband resurgence in Dominica, as he remembers when steelbands were previously in abundance in the country.  He was extremely proud of the highly successful OECS Junior Pan competition held in Dominica last April.  Dominica was represented by the Cultural Drama Club Steel Orchestra under the tutelage of Mr. André, and captured second place honors.

Mr. André looks forward to seeing Dominica catch up with rest of the Caribbean by instituting a comprehensive Pan in Schools program.  In addition, he would like to see the re-emergence of steelband competitions like the ones he participated in during the 1960's, to generate further interest and excitement in the rebounding steelband movement in Dominica.



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contact: Dominica Steelband Association | Anna Raffoul, President |email:  | (767) 448 2622


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