When The Force Is With You - CrossFire Steel Orchestra and National Geographic

New York, USA: 

“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

In Star Wars the Master Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi says that to his evil foe Darth Vader...

Indeed, while the ruthless COVID-19 abruptly struck down and removed Martin “Dougie” Douglas from our realm - now through his ‘ascension’ his mark, impact, and positive “Force” continues to be felt.

Martin Douglas at When Steel Talks/Basement Recordings Studio
Martin Douglas at When Steel Talks/Basement Recordings Studio

Pan was his passion and his beloved CrossFire Steel Orchestra was his baby. And there was simply nothing he would not do for the success of his baby. While I never thought of the late Martin Douglas as a master Jedi, his sprit continues to chart new paths for heights from the great beyond.

Recently, WST (When Steel Talks) was contacted by National Geographic who were seeking to make contact with CrossFire for a COVID-19 special in an upcoming issue they are doing which will include the March 31 passing of Martin Douglas. And a few weeks ago, immediately after his passing, the NY Times contacted WST seeking pictures of “Dougie” for their obituary section.

Members of CrossFire Steel Orchestra work with photographer Wayne Lawrence (center) during the National Geographic photoshoot at the Harry Maze Playground in Brooklyn
Members of CrossFire Steel Orchestra work with photographer Wayne Lawrence (center) during the National Geographic photoshoot at the Harry Maze Playground in Brooklyn
 
Damany James, musical director of CrossFire Steel Orchestra
Damany James, musical director of CrossFire Steel Orchestra

Photographer Wayne Lawrence and his assistant met with some members of CrossFire along with the orchestra’s musical director Damany James for the photoshoot arranged by National Geographic reporter Jake Nevins.  A hot and sunny Sunday July 12 afternoon, there was still some welcome, leafy green shade to be found at the Harry Maze Playground venue in Brooklyn, New York.  And the vibrant greenery served as the backdrop for the photo session.  Incidentally, the photographer Wayne Lawrence, hailing from Saint Kitts and Nevis himself played pan with Maple Leaf Steel Orchestra.

Members of CrossFire Steel work with photographer Wayne Lawrence during the National Geographic photoshoot at the Harry Maze Playground in Brooklyn
Members of CrossFire Steel work with photographer Wayne Lawrence during the National Geographic photoshoot at the Harry Maze Playground in Brooklyn

Martin Douglas is again shining a huge spotlight on CrossFire and the New York steelband music community.  As far as we know, the late great master arranger Clive Bradley is the only other prominent steelband figure who has been noted in the NY Times obit, when WST had also been contacted back then in that regard.

CrossFire Steel members with photographer Wayne Lawrence and assistant after the National Geographic photoshoot in Brooklyn; music director Damany James is third from left
CrossFire Steel members with photographer Wayne Lawrence and assistant after the National Geographic photoshoot in Brooklyn; music director Damany James is third from left


From beyond Martin “Dougie” Douglas makes moves, changes and spotlights... he controls the force.

CrossFire Steel members at the National Geographic photoshoot in Brooklyn
CrossFire Steel members at the National Geographic photoshoot in Brooklyn

No doubt the recent massive success of the New York contingent in the Exodus International Pan Ramajay is thrilling Martin big-time...

And in any regard - having an ancestor who is a PanMan channeling and wielding the “Force” on The Jedi High Council is indeed awesome.


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  Members of CrossFire Steel Orchestra work with photographer Wayne Lawrence (center) during the National Geographic photoshoot at the Harry Maze Playground in Brooklyn

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