Steelpan Arranger
Raf Robertson - Steelpan Arranger
WST Pan Photographer

Raf Robertson

Raf Robertson - birdsong, D’Radoes
Panorama Championships
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Raf Robertson passed away December 3, 2015.


Raf’s musical career began in the late 1960s, while he was still attending St. Benedict’s College in Trinidad in the era of combos playing dance music. After studies in England and the U.S., Raf resumed his career as a professional musician with tours in Europe and North Africa.   Following his return to the Caribbean in the early 1980s, he participated in workshops throughout the region, lecturing on developing calypso jazz and the potential of the steelpan.

Raf toured Europe, Africa and the Caribbean for several years with pop star Eddy Grant and performed at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival and with other well-known artistes such as Ralph MacDonald, Branford Marsalis, Grover Washington, and Roy Haynes.

He has arranged music for steelbands and judged steelband and calypso contests in Trinidad, Barbados, and New York. In late 2000 Raf moved to the Washington, D.C. area, where he came to work as Musical Director for the PG County Community College Metropolitan Ebony Theatre’s musical, “Once On This Island.”  Raf and his band were featured in the Washington, D.C. area at Calypso Jazz concerts organized by the Embassy of Trinidad and Tobago and by the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Washington, D.C.

Since 2006 Raf has been residing in Trinidad and Tobago where he has been involved in a number of projects, along with continued arrangement and production of his own work. He currently leads a music program for children in the Point Fortin area and also conducts a Saturday pan class for youth called the birdsong Academy, an offshoot of birdsong Steel Orchestra. He is also involved in the production of Return of the Hat, a docu-drama based on the life and times of the late, great calypsonian, Lord Kitchener.  Culture, vocalized by Roger George can be found on Raf’s latest CD, Majesty.

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