Obituary for Despers USA Panist Aliandre Maraj

Brooklyn, New York, USA - Musician and entrepreneur Aliandre Maraj also known as "Ali" was a remarkable son, brother, cousin and friend.

Born on February 9, 1992 at Interfaith Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY to Aveian Brathwaite née Maraj. Aliandre was a very happy baby who smiled and laughed all the time. At age two, he went to Trinidad to live with his grandparents Noel and Mummy Jean and there he attended pre-school. At age four, he returned home to Brooklyn to be with his mother. There he completed his education from elementary to high school at: Flatbush SDA School, PS 315, Andries Hudde Junior High School and Science Skills Center High School.

At age five, during a life-changing summer vacation in Trinidad, his grandfather Noel taught him to play pan. In his teenage years, during one of his regular summer trips, Noel gifted him a tenor pan which he loved and cherished for the rest of his life. He grew to love and respect the art form and played with pride.

Aliandre truly loved all things steel pan and was a pillar of support for various steel bands in Brooklyn such as CrossFire, New York Pan Stars, Harmony Music Makers, and Brooklyn Steel Orchestra. Most recently, he was a member of Despers USA and served as their Vice Captain for the past five years. In doing so, he taught young people to play Trinidad's national instrument, touching countless young lives.

He played pan at the highest levels, traveling to Trinidad to compete in Panorama. His first Panorama experience was in 2013 with Skiffle Steel Orchestra under the direction of composer, arranger and family friend Ray Holman. Ali was talented to the extent that he could play a song just by hearing it. He was a fast learner and equally quick to share his knowledge and skills. He made countless friends and was well-known and beloved throughout the steel pan community in New York and around the world.

Ali also loved dancing and during his years at Science Skills High School he had the opportunity to lead a dance company of high school students. Aliandre was very imaginative. He had a passion for drawing and attended art school. He was also entrepreneurial and started Mango Chow in 2016, his own clothing line highlighting pan and combining his love for both steel pan and mango chow. He was also very supportive of the artistic ventures of friends and family.

In November 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Aliandre gave his life to the Lord at the Flatbush Seventh Day Adventist church. He gave generously of his time serving as a member of the audio-visual and communications departments of the church. He often played upon request and was always happy to play for The Lord.

He was kind and respectful, always giving of himself to others. He loved his family and his selflessness was evident in his dedication to his great aunt Franka Thomas (deceased). He was committed to being there for her in her later years.

For the past two years Ali was happy to be back home with his mom, dad and sister. Aliandre's effervescent personality, infectious smile, and witty comebacks will be missed tremendously by all who knew and loved him. He had a big heart and was friendly, kind, loving, and generous to every person he came in contact with.

Aliandre passed away on August 3, 2022 at the age of 30 after suffering a stroke on July 18, 2022. He is survived by his parents, Aveian and Keith, his sister Kayla, brother Tyre (sister Shanae), grandmother Mummy Jean, other family: Alister, siblings Sade and Zico, cousins Sean Sr, Joanne (Leon), Rachelle, Kayla, Sean Jr, Keana, Danny, and Sian, the Chin Choy family and a host of aunts, aunties, uncles, and friends.

In memory of Aliandre Maraj

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