Steelpan Arranger

Pelham Goddard - Steelpan Arranger

WST Pan Photographer

Pelham Goddard

Pelham Goddard - Exodus, Marsicans (NY), Third World
Panorama Championships
Trinidad & Tobago - 1992, 2001, 2003, 2004

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Pelham Goddard was born in Clarence Street in St. James, Trinidad on December 12, 1946. The son of a seaman and a school teacher, he attended St. Crispin's EC school. His love affair with music began early, with the first instrumental object of his affections being the piano which he played at school. Pelham remembers that 'when the rhythm got the better of him' and he 'beat' it out on the school benches, punishment followed because of the noise he created.

On a 1959 trip back from Germany, his seaman father brought back a piano to the Goddard household - and Pelham never looked back. With the rhythm in his soul, he had become very involved with the Tassa drumming for the Hosay festival, but as he puts it "the day the piano came, I made my choice, and started learning the piano". Pelham's mother is a Graduate of Trinity and Royal School of Music, and his late father both read and played music by 'ear'. After a few tips from his mother, he started to pick up notes from songs then heard on the radio, some of which he says he can still remember. Pelham's older brothers were already into steelbands like Tripoli, Crossfire, Starlift and Silver Stars, so music ran in the family, to say the least!

In 1967 he went on to play in bands like Pete de Vlaught orchestra - where he met Earl Rodney who at the time was with Solo Harmonites. He also played with combos like The Clan, and The Flames.

Pelham's career in pan started one year later when he went to 'hangout' in Starlift's pan yard one night with his brother, and ended up playing a five bass. He got 'picked' for the National Panorama - no easy feat for a first time pan player, and he realized then that his talent was expanding - to the Steelpan.

His opportunity to try his hand at arranging for a brass band came in 1972 when ace arranger Clive Bradley asked Pelham to 'hold the fort' for him with Esquires Brass, as Bradley had commitments 'up on the hill' with Desperadoes Steel Orchestra. Pelham capitalized on the opportunity, while at the same time going through an arranging course at Berklee College of Music. Later that year he toured St. Thomas with top calypsonians and became a main figure in the recording studio arena.

National Lottery 3rd World Steel Orchestra was formed in July of 1972 and they wanted Pelham to arrange for them, which started off his then latest successful forage into music - arranging for steelband. He put his mark on the steelband's hits like Gold and American Patrol, and the results sated on the charts for weeks, and also went over well in North America. 

The name Pelham Goddard can be found in numerous album credits of musical heavyweights such as the late Ras Shorty I (formerly known as Lord Shorty) - the undisputed father of SOCA music (Pelham was involved in the creation of the SOCA music art form), and other calypso legends like Mighty Shadow, Mighty Sparrow, Calypso Rose, Super Blue, Singing Francine and also Charlie's Roots. In his years he has also combined his talents with those of Ed Watson and the late Art de Couteau.

In 1983 he arranged for Invaders Steel Orchestra, and then again for Starlift Steel Orchestra in 1986. That same year he arranged David Rudder's music, giving Rudder the crown for every calypso competition he entered. Pelham is the only musician in history whose arrangements won thirteen 'Road Marches'. His talents as a composer are well documented, especially for selections that were played by other steelbands for National Panoramas. The Hammer, Savannah Party, Happy Song, Panama, Dedication, Play My Music, The Band Plays On, The Unknown Band - all flowed from the musical pen of Pelham Goddard. His synthesizer solo on 'Woman On The Bass' is just a 'sample' of his synth work, being the first musician to use the synthesizer in calypso music.

Since 1989 he has been part of the Exodus Steel Orchestra 'stable' as their resident arranger, and to date the band has won three panorama titles. The latest was for Panorama 2003. The arrangements for the band have also brought them multiple Panorama 'East Zone' (Trinidad) titles and a World Festival championship, to name but a few of the band's Goddard-led accomplishments.

Despite his hectic work commitments, for the past several years Pelham has found time to found and run his own recording studio called Agra 9 Production Studio, from which he has produced the most songs written especially for pan, among them winners like In My House, Picture On The Wall, Fire and Steel and Freedom. Also forthcoming was a CD collaboration called Sticks and Fingers, with Pan legend Len 'Boogsie' Sharpe, (himself an ace steelband arranger). A Musical Stew, Case Of the Disappearing Panyards, Simple Ting and Parade, also came to life in Pelham's studio.

Years of hard work and extraordinary accomplishments have been recognized by the Trinidad and Tobago government with Pelham Goddard receiving one of the twin-island republic's highest awards, the Hummingbird Silver Medal, along with many others including the Sunshine Award for arranging and producing.

The New York pan scene also benefited from his expertise, mainly with Marsicans Steel Orchestra who came in at second place in the 2002 New York Panorama with Pelham's arrangement of Firestorm.  Also included among his work with and arrangements for Marsicans are their performances of Celebrate (2004) and Dead Or Alive (2005).

Pelham Goddard continues to brew up a storm of hits and arrangements in his studio, as resident arranger for Exodus Steel Orchestra.

bio by C. Phillips - Basement Press - When Steel Talks

Additional info below posted with special permission from the by Ronald C. Emrit - check link for updates

DATE OF BIRTH: December 12, 1946
PLACE OF BIRTH: St. James, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
  • St. Crispin's EC School, Woodbrook
  • Berklee College of Music, Massachusetts, USA
  • Starlift
  • Third World
  • Exodus
  • Player
  • Arranger
  • CAREER:    A self-taught musician, Goddard began playing the piano when he was 9 years old and, 12 years later, became the organist for the Dutchy Brothers Orchestra. He joined the Starlift Steelband in 1968, and later began his steelband arranging career with the Third World Steelband of St. James, Port-of-Spain, when it was formed in 1972. He also began playing with the Esquires Combo in 1972, but went on to form his own band, Charlie's Roots, in 1976 where he wrote for and accompanied many calypsonians in their recordings, including BlueBoy, David Rudder, Sugar Aloes, Calypso Rose, and Singing Francine. He moved to the Exodus Steelband in 1989 and took the band to Panorama wins in 1992, 2001, 2003, and 2004. Goddard combined with Desmond Waithe to lead Exodus to success in two Steelband Music Festivals. The following is a summary of Goddard's success in significant steelband competition:
    • Panorama
    • 1992 - Savannah Party (David Rudder), 1st
    • 1993 - Dust in Yuh Face (David Rudder), 3rd (Tied)
    • 1995 - Simple Thing (Pelham Goddard), 2nd
    • 1996 - The Case of the Disappearing Panyards (David Rudder), 3rd (Tied)
    • 1997 - Guitar Pan (Lord Kitchener), 3rd
    • 1998 - Parade (Tony Prescott), 2nd
    • 1999 - Play My Music (Pelham Goddard), 2nd
    • 2000 - The Band Plays On (Pelham Goddard), 2nd
    • 2001 - A Happy Song (Roger George), 1st
    • 2002 - Good News (Pelham Goddard), 3rd
    • 2003 - Pandora (The Original De Fosto Himself), 1st
    • 2004 - War 2004 (The Original De Fosto Himself), 1st
    • 2005 - From Beyond (The Original De Fosto Himself), 2nd
    • 2007 - We Jammin Again, 3rd
    • 2008 - Puncernelly (The Original De Fosto Himself), 3rd
    • 2011 - Calling Meh, 2nd
    • 2015 - De Puna Band (Pelham Goddard), 3rd (Tied)
    • Steelband Music Festival
    • 1998 - ... with Desmond Waithe, 1st (Tied)
    • World Steelband Music Festival
    • 2000 - ... with Desmond Waithe, 3rd
    • 2002 - "Rain Forest" (Lennox Sharpe) with Desmond Waithe, 1st
    • 2005 - Semiramide (Gioacchino Rossini); Pan in A Minor (Lord Kitchener) with Desmond Waithe, 1st
    Goddard's work has not been limited to the steelband, and his musical arrangements have produced the following Carnival Road March winners: 1977, "Tempo" (Calypso Rose); 1978, "Soca Jam" (Calypso Rose); 1980, "Soca Baptist" (Superblue); 1981, "Ethel" (Superblue); 1983, "Rebecca" (Superblue); 1986, "Bahia Girl" (David Rudder); 1988, "This Party Is It" (Tambu); 1989, "Free Up, Free Up (Tambu); 1990 "No No, We Ent Going Home" (Tambu); 1991, "Get Something and Wave" (Superblue); 1992, "Wine on Something" (Superblue); 1993, "Bacchanal Time" (Superblue).
    • 1994 - Trinidad & Tobago Humming Bird Medal Silver (for Culture)
    • 2002 - Sunshine Award (Arranger of the Year)


    An Exclusive When Steel Talks Interview with Pelham Goddard


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