Clive Bradley
The Man and his Music

by Robbie Joseph - When Steel Talks - Special

Clive Bradley

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Photo Journalist Robbie Joseph Speaks on Clive Bradley

Clive Bradley
Clive Bradley,at NY Panorama 2000

United Kingdom - The following is a lasting memory I have of the greatness of Clyde and his captivating music. This episode of my life is often relived when his music is played.

In 1998, Clive Bradley musically directed Nutones Steel Orchestra to capture the coveted title of National Panorama Champs with his captivating arrangement of David Rudder’s ‘High Mas’. In 1999, he returned ‘up de hill’ to his old haunt, Desperadoes. Initially there were mixed feelings of using Bradley’s musical talents instead of Robbie Greenidge’s but he soon changed that with his musicality. WITCO Desperadoes won the 1999 North Zonal Finals amassing a convincing 460 points with their nearest rival, Phase 11 Pan Groove, trailing by 17 points. Phase 11 continued to trail Despers in the National semi-finals but narrowed their lead to 15 points.

Feelings were running high as Pan lovers congregated at the ‘Big Yard’ on February 13th 1999, to witness the finals of the National Panorama finals. Fonclaire was billed to perform first at 8 o’clock. Half an hour after the scheduled time Fonclaire still had not taken to the stage. Their pans had not arrived from South Trinidad and inevitably they were disqualified. BWIA Invaders who should have appeared second took to the stage in first position. Pan lovers were treated to an explosion of ‘Sweet Pan’ throughout the show. The North & Grand Stands were packed and the atmosphere was buzzing. Then at position 10 when Solo Pan Knights were due to appear Fonclaire took to the stage even though they were disqualified. In the finals of such an important competition, with tensions running high, why was Fonclaire allowed to play. Speaking to Robbie Greenidge after the show he stated ‘We were ready to go, the band had finished their warm up on ‘the pitch’ and about to take to the stage when Fonclaire was allowed on. They upset our rhythm and broke the adrenalin rush we had established.’

But the night belonged to Desperadoes who played in final position; they started the competition how they meant to finish with Clyde’s musical masterpiece being executed with timely precision. Clyde’s rendition of Oba’s ‘In My House’ certainly personified Oba’s message. On that night he left everyone open-mouthed at what a man and a pan can do. Desperadoes produced the most sensational performance; they sizzled and took the crown. Once again Bradley had commandeering himself and his band to the winners’ podium. His musical prowess in the competition continued with Nutones who had captured third place with his musical arrangements. Bradley then went on to achieve the hat trick of wins with Desperadoes in 2000. What an end to the century. Clyde has duly given more than his fair share to the art form, his music will continue to inspire many young and aspiring pan musicians for a very long time.

Robbie Joseph, is the PRO for the British Association of Steelbands. In the 1990s, Robbie was writing for the Socanews magazine and was able to establish a page dedicated to Pan entitled, ‘Down in the Panyard’. He is also the creator of the Pan Podium - a site dedicated  to promoting the work of steelbands and pannists in the UK and around the World ...

 

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