WST Global News Division


Pan Inventor Claims Invention Stolen From Him

British-based panist Dudley Dickson was quite emphatic in stating that he was outsmarted with his original creation of the Collapsible Pan Stand which he says invented in the United Kingdom in 1981. This is the said stand which is now being widely used and adopted by orchestras such as Phase II Pan Groove in Port of Spain, Trinidad – where incidentally Dudley himself is currently the band's resident tuner for the 2K8 carnival season.

Dudley believes that many people in the Pan Diaspora are aware that Trinidad and Tobago is the home of pan, though not consciously so.  He laments, nonetheless, that credit for his invention of the 'Collapsible Pan Stand' was given to San Fernando’s son of the soil, Winston Graham, without adequate research being done.  Today, however, it is hoped that the record has been set straight.

Dudley was addressing an interactive international audience on WACK 90.1 FM Culture Krazy Radio in San Fernando, Trinidad on Sunday 23rd December, 2007.  The brand new show is featured each Sunday on PAN DIASPORA within “Pan in You Puefen” which is itself aired from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM.  Show host is D.J. Heshimu with co-host Hollis Clifton, who conceptualized Pan Diaspora.

At age 15, in 1964, the pint-sized Grenadian joined his parents in Birmingham where his romance with the steelpan began when he and his brother were invited to join Birmingham All Stars under the stewardship of Roy Jacobs.  A few years later he was on the stage side of Tropicans Harmony Steelband which was then led by Victor Phillips.  Later he enlisted with Melody Makers under the captaincy of Biggs Yearwood.

After honing his skills in the Birmingham community, fate would have it that Master Dickson became a facilitator at the Coventry Training Workshop (a government-run institution) teaching pan fabricating – sinking grooving, cutting and burning with Victor Phillips as the Head Supervisor.  Some two years later he was given the opportunity to train youngsters at the Carnival Industrial Project in London. This gave him the opportunity to complete his invention of the Collapsible Folding Stand (in 1982) which he started in Coventry in 1981.

It was in 1984 that Dudley joined the Ebony Steelband as the resident tuner.  That marriage has since worked wonders for both tuner and band.  To date Ebony has become the most successful steel orchestra in Europe.

As an inventor Dudley has also been credited with the creation of the Pyramid Pan, of which there are merely two in the world, both of which were used by Panch Steelband of Switzerland in the inaugural World Steelband Music held in Panland in 2000.  He also invented the Sonia Sonic Bass Pan – so named in tribute to a female panist of the Ebony Steelband.  He is also credited with having modified the Diagonal Tuning Tenor Pan.

Mr. Dickson is known to have done extensive research on other materials in an effort to find new voicing for pan. This is inclusive of the different grades of mild steel, stainless steel and aluminum. He now has his eyes set on research in copper and brass.

Dudley is well schooled in electronics and fabricating.  He has also made his mark as a limbo dancer cum music composer. His latest composition is a Christmas ditty in collaboration with Tobago Crusoe who penned the lyrics as well as sang it with Alberto

Many callers congratulated WACK Radio for hosting such an informative programme to which the world could contribute. Others commended the day’s guest, Dudley, for his ongoing initiative in steelpan innovations.

by Hollis Clifton
Pan Diaspora Visionary


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