Panorama Gold

Steel Orchestra

Panorama Championships - 1966, 1970, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1991, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2016, 2020

2024 Tune of choice: DNA  |  arranger:  Carlton “Zanda” Alexander

  Desperadoes’ 2023 panyard preliminary performance of “Long Live Soca”

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Based in the community of Laventille, Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, Desperadoes Steel Orchestra was originally  known as the “Laventille Band.” The name changed in the 1940s to the “Dead End Kids.” Subsequently, three Laventille bands merged in the 1950s to form the Desperadoes. Over the last fifty-odd years the orchestra has established a record of achievement unsurpassed by any other, primarily under the astute leadership and guidance of the now-deceased Rudolph Charles. Today the band continues to thrill local and international audiences with their special brand of music. Desperadoes is equally at ease performing in all genres. Just listen to their scintillating interpretations of the most complex European Classical Music, Jazz, Soca, Reggae, Pop and Latin. Desperadoes is recognized internationally as the premier institution and a symbol of pure excellence in the world of steelband entertainment. The band has truly taken steelband music to the next level.

Desperadoes took their name from a movie of the same name. To date, the orchestra has been victorious in the Panorama competition in Trinidad and Tobago on twelve occasions. The first victory came in 1966. Successes followed in 1970, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1991, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2016 and 2020. The orchestra has also excelled at the music festivals held in Trinidad and Tobago, having won on three consecutive occasions after a hiatus of twenty years. Desperadoes has toured the Caribbean, Africa, United Kingdom and the United States of America, performing at some of the most prestigious cultural centres globally including the Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Apollo Theater in New York.

The band also performed at the Olympics in Atlanta, USA in 1996. Desperadoes toured several countries on the African continent. Some other nations visited include Jamaica, Cuba,  Bahamas, St. Lucia and Barbados. Acknowledged globally as one of the cultural icons of the Caribbean, Desperadoes has performed in concert with world-renowned tenor Luciano Parvarotti. The band, under the astute leadership of Rudolph “The Hammer” Charles, invented and introduced to the steelband movement chromed steelpans, aluminum canopies, the Rocket Pan, the Quadro-Phonic Pan, the Baritone Pan, the Chariot Pan, the Nine Basses and the Twelve Basses.

Major Awards:  National Award - Chaconia Medal Gold Steelband of the Century (Pan Trinbago Award)

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In Pictures Desperadoes In Pictures - 2014

Address: c/o Blondell Post Office,
Upper Laventille Road,
E.D.R., Port of Spain
Trinidad and Tobago, W.I.

Champion Years - Panorama - 1966, 1970, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1991, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2016, 2020

Audio & Video performances - 1966, 1970, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1991, 1994, 1999, 2000

Desperadoes Arrangers


Desperadoes Tuners

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

This Laventille (Rose Hill) band was formed in the early-1940s by a group of young men that included Wilfred “Talkative” Harrison, Ivan “Brains” Bourne, Reynald “Singco” John, Donald “Jit” Steadman, Carlton “Mimp” Francis, Brooks Banton, Wilfred “Be-eh” Pacheco, and George Yeates. The band was first called the “Dead End Kids” before its name was changed in the 1950s to Gay Desperadoes, after the 1936 American movie “The Gay Desperado” starring Ida Lupino.

In the late-1950s, before it made its impact musically, Desperadoes was involved in some of the most violent Carnival clashes with other steelbands: Tokyo; Renegades; and San Juan All Stars. However, by the early-1960s, the band's image began to change under the leadership of George Yeates who was successful in gaining the sponsorship of the Coca Cola Company. Around this period, Rudolph “Crabby” Charles left the small steelband “Spike Jones” to join Desperadoes and, by the mid-1960s, had become its leader and arranger. By then, the band had moved from its first location in lower Laventille Hill to the community center up the hill. In 1966, the sponsorship of the band changed from Coca Cola to the West Indian Tobacco Company.

Under Charles's leadership, help was recruited to improve the band with tuners Ellie Mannette, Vernon “Birdie” Mannette and Emmanuel “Jack” Riley from the Invaders Steelband, and musicians Beverly Griffith (Starland Steelband), Carl “Bumpy Nose” Greenidge (Kentuckians Steelband), Raymond “Artie” Shaw (Police Band), and Clive Bradley (Clarence Curvan Orchestra). Later, Robert Greenidge joined the list of musical arrangers who contributed to the band's success. Strongly supported by the Laventille community, Desperadoes had very impressive Carnival presentations from the mid-1950s through the 1960s: “Sands of Iwo Jima”; “Operation Korea”; “To Hell and Back”; “Glorious Spain”; “Crawl of the Crocodile”; “Prisoner of Zenda”; “Extracts from the Animal Kingdom”; “The Frozen North.”

Over the years, Desperadoes performed in concert abroad at the following venues: Royal Albert Hall (London, England); Carnegie Hall (New York, USA), with Liza Minelli and Skitch Henderson; the first Black Arts Festival (Senegal); Apollo Theatre (New York, USA); and Barbados, with Luciano Pavarotti. Following one of its visits to the USA in the 1970s, the band changed its name from “Gay Desperadoes” to “Desperadoes.” The band won the Panorama competition ten times, the Steelband Music Festival three times and, in 1992, received the Trinidad & Tobago Chaconia Medal Gold for its cultural contributions. Desperadoes finished among the top three steelbands in the following significant competition:

1963 Panorama 3rd The Road (Lord Kitchener) Beverly Griffith
1964 Panorama 2nd Mama Dis Is Mas (Lord Kitchener) Beverly Griffith
1966 Panorama 1st Obeah Wedding (Mighty Sparrow) Beverly Griffith
1967 Panorama 2nd Governor's Ball (Mighty Sparrow) Beverly Griffith
1970 Panorama 1st Margie (Lord Kitchener) Clive Bradley
1976 Panorama 1st Pan in Harmony (Lord Kitchener) Clive Bradley
1977 Panorama 1st Hasely Crawford (Lord Kitchener) Clive Bradley
1978 Panorama 2nd Pan in the 21st Century (Lord Kitchener) Clive Bradley
1980 Panorama 2nd No Pan (Lord Kitchener) Clive Bradley
1982 Panorama 3rd Party (Lord Nelson) Clive Bradley
1983 Panorama 1st Rebecca (Blue Boy) Clive Bradley
1985 Panorama 1st (Tied) Pan Night and Day (Lord Kitchener) Beverly Griffith & Robert Greenidge
1986 Steelband Music Festival 1st Polovetsian Dances (Alexander Borodin)  
1987 Panorama 3rd Pan in ‘A Minor’ (Lord Kitchener) Robert Greenidge
1988 Panorama 3rd Panama (David Rudder) Robert Greenidge
1988 Steelband Music Festival 1st    
1991 Panorama 1st Musical Volcano (Robert Greenidge) Robert Greenidge
1992 Steelband Music Festival 1st    
1994 Panorama 1st Fire Coming Down (Robert Greenidge) Robert Greenidge
1995 Panorama 3rd Pan Parang (Robert Greenidge) Robert Greenidge
1996 Panorama 3rd (Tied) Blast Off (Robert Greenidge) Robert Greenidge
1999 Panorama 1st In My House (Emanuel Synette) Clive Bradley
2000 Panorama 1st Picture on My Wall (Emanuel Synette) Clive Bradley
2001 Panorama 3rd Yuh Looking for Horn (Mighty Shadow) Clive Bradley
2005 Panorama 3rd Action (Emanuel Synette) Clive Bradley
Compiled by Ronald C. Emrit

Panorama Performance - Finals 2020

Panorama Performance - Prelims - 2020

Panorama Performance

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