Pan Times
Aruba steelband
Aruba Invaders Win First  Panorama photo by Dr. Meiners

First - First

Leonard Turner, a Trinidadian immigrant who worked at the Lago Oil Refinery, was the first to introduce steel bands in Aruba. Being unhappy with the lack of entertainment on the island Turner recruited a group of young men and they began experimenting with music.

By 1948, Turner had put together his first professional steel orchestra, the Invaders, which performed at both public and private venues. In 1950, Turner teamed up With San Nicolas resident Naldo Brown to form another steelband, Shoo-Shoo Baby and the Aruba All-Star Boys. "Shoo-Shoo" was Turner's stage name. Naldo Brown eventually took over the group and changed its name to the Aruba All Stars. San Nicolas calypso singer Lord Cobashi sang with this band. One young pan man in the band, Edgar Connor, went on to form his own steelband in 1952, called the Aruba Invaders.

The group increasingly started to play variants of the samba, rumba and other popular music on their home-made instruments. As their rhythm and appearance became more common, and popularity grew, more and more musicians joined. Some of the steel bands grew to over forty musicians.

The first Carnival steel band competition ever was organized in 1964. Eight steel bands competed in a legendary competition. The Merrymakers, the Devils, the Curacao Heroes, the Long Gun Boys, the Paradera Steelband, The Silver Stars, The Allstars, and the Aruba Invaders were all talented groups which produced the most amazing sounds. Finally the Aruba Invaders won with their variant of the theme from Exodus, making them the first Aruban steel band competition winners.

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