Trinidad, W.I. - Make me another “Voom Box.” Such were the
words of Len “Boogsie” Sharpe when he realized the effect and
potential of the new invention from UK-based inventor, Dudley
Dickson, when the instrument which houses the Sonic Bass, was tested
with National Panorama Champions, Phase II Pan Groove at C2K8
The acoustic Voom Box is made of plywood and is
somewhat like a speaker box since it amplifies the sound of the pan,
in this case the seven-bass. An excited Boogsie believes that
another voom box would strike a better balance to the sound of the
Dudley standing next to Voom Box
Voom Box - internal features
Continuing the trail which he started in C2K8, the
diminutive pan innovator to date has already invented – the
Collapsible Folding Stand which is now the flagship of Phase II and
many bands around the world. Then there is the Sonia Sonic Bass, in
addition to making modifications to the Diagonal Tuning Tenor Pan.
(at right in white cap) was answering questions from Pan
Diaspora’s Visionary, Hollis Clifton and host DJ Heshimu on WACK
Radio 90.1 FM recently – the monthly interactive feature which
traces the development of Trinidad and Tobago’s gift to the universe
– the steelpan, the only musical acoustic, percussion instrument
invented in the 20th century.
Little did Dickson know that when he migrated to the
UK as a teenager from his native Grenada that the steelpan would
have enabled him “to eat a food,” thanks to Trinidadian Roy Jacobs
who invited him to join the Birmingham All Stars. He was full
of gratitude, since previous attempts to play pan in Grenada were treated with disdain. One thing then led to another which saw Dudley
moving from Tropicans Harmony Steelband led by Victor Phillips. His
next move was to Melody Makers under the stewardship of Biggs Yearwood. His big
transition, however, materialized when he became a facilitator
at the Coventry training workshop where he was involved in pan
fabricating – sinking, grooving, cutting and burning - with Victor
Phillips as head supervisor.
|Sonia Sonic Bass
with amplified scratcher
The former limbo dancer then grasped the
opportunity to move to the city of London in 1982 to train
youngsters at the carnival industrial project. One year later he had
completed the prototype for the “collapsible folding stand” which he had
initially conceptualized while in Coventry.
For the 2K8 carnival season Dudley tuned two “diamond
shaped tenors” which he presented to Phase II Pan Groove. This format
was first given to Kalomo Kings of San Fernando, south Trinidad, in the 1990’s.
The creator’s penchant to prevent a recurrence of
an incident which occurred in 2000 at the World Steelband Music
Festival at the Jean Pierre Complex in Trinidad, with the visiting
UK based-Ebony Steel Orchestra, resulted in Dickson’s creating
a “collapsible stage.” According to the ace inventor, this latest
masterpiece has been sent to China for mass production for cost
effectiveness. The stage is so strong that it could accommodate a
motor vehicle for display. It has indeed been tested by, among
others, Billy Ocean, a member of Ebony, according to Dickson.
As a tuner, Dudley’s workmanship has been felt in
quite a few bands around the world inclusive of London All Stars,
Mangrove, CSI (Caribbean Steel International) and Panch (Switzerland). The other bands include Ebony, Phase II
(Antigua), all of whom went on to become Steelband panorama champions
in 2008 in their respective countries.
Panatics and pan aficionados from around the world
phoned in to congratulate Dudley on his stewardship in the business
of pan. These included Shervan from London, Junior English - former
member of Ebony and Mangrove, and Anne, among a couple of callers from
Dudley reiterated his willingness to continue
teaching youngsters to service steelpans.
Pan Diaspora Visionary
Find Anything Related to Steelpan Music - WST
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