Tokyo Steel Orchestra
2024 Tune of choice: “Sing in She Party” | arranger: Carlton “Zanda” Alexander
tap/click for bio
Additional info by Gideon Maxime - Steelband Showcase - 23rd January, 2002
The Carib Tokyo steelband was found in the early 1940s. The band had as its early leader Dudley Rouff and it was called “Destination Tokyo” so named after a film of the same name. The band made its first appearance in 1945 and the pioneer pan player and later captain Winston “Spree” Simon was about the same time creating history with his invention.
The cost of maintaining the band was great. So that in 1963, when the band got sponsorship by the Carib Brewery, this went a long way in the development of the band since expenses such as pans, racks and uniforms could have now been obtained through this new association with the beer Company.
Although the band has never won a Panorama Competition since they first entered, the band has given stunning performances.
In the Music Festival of 1968 the band won the test piece category which was cited as the stiffest test for pan men. The piece was “Sunday Morning” by Benjamin Britten. In this year 1968 the band also won the Bomb 4Competition with the selection “Finlandia”. As the years went by, Carib Tokyo went from strength rn strength. In 1970 the band was runner up in the Bomb Competition and was also second best beating band on both days of Carnival. Having reached the finals of the 197! Panorama with the calypso “Mama Say” by Blakie, the band placed 2nd in the 1972 and 1973 Panorama with the calypsos “Mrs. Harriman” and “My Connie”. They received a trip to St. Catherine, Canada to the Grape and Wine Festival as part of their prize.
In 1975 they were part of seven of the eight bands which played “Tribute to Spree Simon”. The band placed 3rd. Winston “Spree” Simon made an appearance with the band on the final night of the competition.
Since then the band has made several overseas tours to Caracas, Venezuela in 1983, to the Los Angeles Folk Festival in 1981 and between 1979- 1984 they performed in Washington, New York and at the Los Angeles Olympics.
The Pan Theatre in John John had its first phase completed in 1989. This was the forerunner to the present policy whereby self-reliance is now the guiding watch word.
Over the past years Carib Tokyo has had several arrangers for the Panorama Competition. They include Ray Holman, Clive Bradley leading musicians in their own right.
Carib Tokyo has also been a mother of the other steelbands in the area. Similarly to Invaders of the West, Fascinators, City Symphony and Tropical Harmony are some of these are bands which have been spawned by Tokyo.
In any discussion on steelband, Carib Tokyo is recognised as one of the leading steelbands. The band owes a tremendous debt to the community and sponsor who is one of the corporate bodies which has realised the potential of the national instrument and has certainly invested in such.
Tokyo over the last few years have not done as well as expected in the Panorama competition. But a band of this quality with a history of very strong resilience is sure to be in winners way shortly.