Steelpan Arranger
Jit Samaroo- Champion Steelband Arranger
WST Pan Photographer
Steelpan Music Legends

Dr. Jit Samaroo

24 February 1950 — 7 January 2016

Jit Samaroo-
Renegades Steel Orchestra

Panorama Championships
Trinidad & Tobago - 1982, 1984, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997

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Dr. Jit Sukha Samaroo (Musician, Panist, Composer, and steelband arranger) was born in Surrey Village in the Lopinot Valley, Trinidad, on 24 February 1950, the sixth of Sookram and Lakia Samaroo’s thirteen children. His love for music manifested itself at a very early age, influenced perhaps by his mother, who played the Dholak, and by ‘parang’, a Spanish-derived musical art form for which Lopinot is famous. Jit played the cuatro and guitar and at Christmas time, would accompany the village paranderos in their traditional house-to-house serenading.

When his mother died in 1961, the young Jit, appointed the task of taking care of his younger siblings, formed a little combo to keep them together. He had played Pan with ‘Village Boys,’ a Pan-around-the-neck steelband in the village but his true love affair with the instrument began at age 14, when a neighbour took him to join the Lever Brothers Canboulay steelband in Tunapuna. The musical director of Canboulay, Landig White, recognized Jit’s potential and encouraged him to take music lessons; he also allowed him to try his hand at arranging. Sometime afterwards, Jit took home some discarded pans from the band and began to teach his younger siblings to play. They eventually formed a family band, the ‘Samaroo Kids’, which made its debut on 23 August 1967, at a concert held at the University of the West Indies.

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Additional info below posted with special permission from the by Ronald C. Emrit

PLACE OF BIRTH: Lopinot, Trinidad
EDUCATION: St. Pius Boys' RC School, Arouca
  • Samaroo Jets (1967 - 2001)
  • Renegades (1971 -2001)
  • Player
  • Arranger
  • Composer
  • CAREER:                                        Samaroo grew up in the village of Surrey, Lopinot, an environment that had a long-standing tradition of 'parang' music: yuletide singing with a Spanish twist to the accompaniment of guitars and cuatros. He began his steelband career at the age of 10 with the local Village Boys where he learned to play the tenor-pan and, at 14, he joined the Camboulay Steelband in Tunapuna where he later began arranging. He learned to read music as a young man and enhanced his knowledge under the guidance of Dr. Gordon Maliphant, former head of the Citrus Research Unit, University of the West Indies at St. Augustine. After teaching his four brothers and three sisters to play, he formed a family steelband, the Samaroo Jets, in 1967 with pans tuned by Bertrand Kellman of the Renegades Steelband. The Samaroo Jets went on to tour North America, South America, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean.
                                                              In 1971, Samaroo became the arranger for the Renegades Steelband on the recommendation of Kellman. In 1972, he won the soloist competition at the Steelband Music Festival. Between 1982 and 1997, Renegades won nine Panorama titles with Samaroo's musical arrangements. During this period, Samaroo also arranged Panorama selections for other steelbands such as Our Boys (Tobago), Trinidad Nostalgia, Deltones, and Cordettes. Over the years, Samaroo has composed several pieces of music including: A Day in Surrey; Song of Lopinot; Steelband Coup; Panman Vibration; The Gaping Season; La Trinite; Iron Band (2003); and Pan on the Road (2004). In addition to the Panorama tunes, he arranged several selections that were recorded by the Pan Vibes Steelband. In 2008, Samaroo gave up his arranging duties to his son, Amrit, when he was appointed Musical Director Emeritus for Renegades in recognition of his long service to the band. The following is a summary of Samaroo's success in the steelband Panorama competition with the Renegades Steelband:
    • 1980 - "Jean Pierre the Netball Queen" (Lord Kitchener), 3rd
    • 1981 - "More Pan" (Lord Kitchener), 2nd
    • 1982 - "Pan Explosion" (Lord Kitchener), 1st
    • 1984 - "Sweet Pan" (Lord Kitchener), 1st
    • 1985 - "Pan Night and Day" (Lord Kitchener), 1st (Tied)
    • 1987 - "Pan in A Minor (Lord Kitchener), 2nd
    • 1989 - "Somebody" (Baron), 1st
    • 1990 - "Iron Man" (Lord Kitchener), 1st
    • 1991 - "Rant and Rave" (Tambu), 2nd (Tied)
    • 1992 - "Bees Melody" (Lord Kitchener), 3rd
    • 1993 - "Mystery Band" (Lord Kitchener), 1st
    • 1994 - "Earthquake" (Lord Kitchener), 3rd
    • 1995 - "4 Lara 4" (Merchant), 1st
    • 1996 - "Pan in A Rage (The Original De Fosto Himself), 1st
    • 1997 - "Guitar Pan" (Lord Kitchener), 1st
    • 1987 - Trinidad & Tobago Humming Bird Medal Silver (for Culture)
    • 1995 - Trinidad & Tobago Chaconia Medal Silver (for Culture)
    • 2003 - Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of the the West Indies at St. Augustine
    Compiled by Ronald C. Emrit


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