St. Lucia - Somewhere in the 1940’s a young man named Lennard “Scrubb” Wellington, started on his way to become St. Lucia’s steelband maestro. He had experimented with music from the age of seven and his real interest in pan started after World War 2 when a number of expatriate soldiers, their families and some locals were celebrating the end of the war.
Lennard “Scrubb” Wellington
“Scrubb” recalls the first tenor pan was given to his friend Bannfè, by a sailor from a ship that docked in the then-Prince Alfred Basin. He could not resist the sweet sound of the pan and immediately went to have a go at it. The ship’s crew was amazed to hear “Scrubb” and on their next voyage brought him back a new second pan.
Scrubb’s next move was pan-making, and together with his colleagues he acquired empty drums which had aviation fuel from Pan Am, BWIA, KLM and Air France. Soon the island’s first locally-made pan was produced. “Scrubb” and his friends formed St. Lucia’s first steelband orchestra called “Pirates” and like true pioneers, initiated the steelband movement which eventually spread across the island.
He then continued to help in the development of at least eight orchestras until he changed focus to himself, and formed his self-titled Scrubb’s Steel Orchestra. This band was made up of his sons, close relatives and some closely-linked people from St. Lucia’s Conway, La Pansee and Georgeville areas. At this point in his life he was so developed in the art form, that he made, tuned and arranged for his, and many other steelbands.
Life went on with the growing interest in pan, and in St. Lucia it became the preferred musical accompaniment for most, if not all, Mas bands in the island. Scrubb’s son Ivan “Cypha” Smith who had been his father’s understudy through the years, eventually took over the leadership of Scrubb’s band and it is now known as North Stars Steel Orchestra.
Lennard “Scrubb” Wellington on blue tenor pan around 1964 - St. Lucia Castries wharf -- Photo Tony Joseph
North Stars Steel Orchestra performing at St. Lucia’s 2006 Panorama with (Band Leader/Composer/Tuner/ Arranger) Ivan Smith
The history of Steel pan in St. Lucia dates much farther back than St. Lucia’s independence, even farther than many today can recall vividly enough to attribute its introduction to any one individual. However various names are almost always spoken with respect to this. Lennard “Scrub” Wellington, Augustus “Pan” Andrew are two very instrumental names in the history pan music in St. Lucia soon to be followed by Roderick Walcott, Antonius “Sycra” Gibson, the Emmanuel brothers, Ivan Smith and more recently with individuals such as Allison Marquis. The influence and substantive importance of this art form to St. Lucia is vastly understated by the silence of blank sheets of history or small scribbles here and there in photo albums arid notebooks of the valiant patriots of the Steel pan. (St. Lucia Carnival Association). Click for full story