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Von Martin Remembers Ken “Professor” Philmore

Ken ‘Professor’ was truly a unique kind, he lived for pan

Washington, D.C., USA - Within a little more than a month the global Pan fraternity has lost another icon of the movement. First Ellie Mannette, then now Ken “Professor” Philmore. We are still in shock, a young man, in his prime and moving towards his zenith. I first met Ken, “Professor” about 30 years ago as he visited Washington DC to perform and he jokingly told me as I prepared to interview him, he was teaching his friend and relative Arthur Griffith the business about managing an artist. He said “Boy, Von, I encouraging the man to manage meh. He ‘fraid.” He was so full of life, simplicity, humorous and love for all especially his pan.

Ken “Professor” Philmore
Ken “Professor” Philmore

Ken was one of a kind. I don’t think there will be another like him. The love he showered on this instrument was unique. I used to say he played his instrument with passion. I always tell folks there are three greatest pan men in the world today, Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe, Robert Greenidge and the third was Ken ‘Professor’ Philmore. Their touch of the pan was different. Whilst Robert played with a soft touch of finesse, Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe played with authority and Ken ‘Professor’ Philmore played with passion and authority. He knew what he was doing and displayed joy in doing it.

He wore the title of Ambassador exceedingly well; he performed globally with the best, from Mercer Ellington orchestra in the USA, to Panorama in New York with Sonatas Steel Orchestra, with Pan Lara Steel Band in Washington DC then to return home to Trinidad to lead Fonclaire and Sound Specialists of Laventille in Trinidad & Tobago Panorama.

Von Martin
Von Martin

Such a life cut short from us, it sure hurts but I believe if a message was left for us it was that we must pay attention to the development of our own instrument, the pan. We must document its history; those who contributed to its development have left an indelible mark with their lives as they adapted themselves to the instrument. Ken ‘Professor’ was truly a unique kind, he lived for pan, and he loved the pan and died after playing the pan.

Condolences to his family, especially Sophia and children and the pan fraternity of Trinidad & Tobago.

May he rest in Peace. Take a rest Ken ‘Professor.’

Von Martin - Steelpan Documentarian
Chief Executive Officer & Founder
Caribbeana Communications Inc.

See more memories of Ken Philmore

Listen to Von Martin’s Saturday October 6th Special Radio Show in commemoration of Ken ‘Professor’ Philmore.
6:00 pm thru 9:00 pm at

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