A Father’s Son: A Blood Dynasty

Amrit Samaroo and Supernovas Steel Orchestra

by Sharmain Baboolal

Provided by, and republished with, the expressed permission of: the Author

Chronicles of a Panorama 2019

Lopinot, Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - His father, small as he was, held him by his neck and threatened him the day he declared that he wanted to arrange music too. Jit Samaroo did not give Amrit an easy passage into his world. He made him earn it because he knew it was no easy road. Never mind that he is the only son. But on that fateful day male pride made Amrit swear that he would prove his father ..the legendary little Indian who harnessed the talent of the Renegades and over time helped to make them a force to be reckoned with...wrong.

Amrit Samaroo - 2019
Amrit engages players in his band, Supernovas Steel Orchestra

How could he even imagine that the spirit of the music in the Samaroo Jets, which helped Jit to take care of his siblings after their mother died, would not imprison his only begotten son too?

At El Dorado Secondary Amrit arranged for the school band. But his father held the bar high. 

Listening to his father create the music at their home and then walking up Charlotte Street to hear the full band playing with the music wafting towards him would blow his mind.

Better yet when he heard the contribution he made to the end of Kitchener’s ‘Guitar Pan’ when Jit was arranging at home and asked Amrit to play something on the tenor which he liked and added to the now-legendary arrangement. 

These are snapshots in time gathered from a conversation with Amrit.

And then there would have been the most painful memories of Jit’s struggle with Alzheimer’s. Of the days when Amrit worked closely with him as he shared the music for the Renegades gently reminding him when he forgot.

And then he had the privilege of having his legendary father arrange his composition Band from Space. And the struggle when he was handed the baton and asked to arrange for Renegades after his father retired.

Amrit Samaroo - 2019
Amrit speaks with the “Killer” ..his uncle, Sonnylal Samaroo

With all that he proved to his father that he was cut from the same cloth. Amrit’s uncles... the elders in the family would tell him that he is, musically, almost a reincarnation of his father.

He cannot escape it. It's in his DNA. But he is Amrit. Last Wednesday night I watched him working moving like a jet between the sections...sharing notes.

It’s a FarmerRama, he says, while noting the number of bands playing Farmer Nappy’s Hookin’ Meh for Panorama 2019.

Nestled in the hills of the Northern Range the Supernovas...the community band which Jit dreamed of, is the future.

When all of Surrey Village went to town to support their son Jit with the Renegades they are now happy to be on the hill where the air is rare...in a galaxy of their own. 

The full [tale] is yet to be told.

Author Sharmain Baboolal
About the author, Sharmain Baboolal

A Journalist/Editor based in Trinidad and Tobago, with 35 years experience in print, broadcast and digital media. As a founding member of the T&T Mirror Newspaper, I served as photo journalist, columnist and editor over 23 years.

My experience in broadcast journalism started and ended at the now defunct National Broadcasting Service (Radio 610 AM and Radio 100 FM). I honed my skills in broadcast journalism at the Radio Netherland Training Centre (RNTC) and I am a certified media trainer.

Single-handedly, I established a small but effective News Department at Trinidad and Tobago Radio Network Limited (TTRN). As a seasoned news woman I am skilled in photojournalism, parliament and court reporting, writing and producing for print, electronic (radio and video) as well as digital media and promotions. I have mentored and trained a few younger writers and producers along the way. For this and more I earned a National Award in 2012, the Humming Bird Medal (Gold). I am the mother of a young scholar, an undergrad at Columbia University in New York, and a lover of steelpan music.

contact Sharmain Baboolal at: sharmain.baboolal@gmail.com

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