Resident tuner for Despers USA Steel Orchestra
Clement “Clem” Franklin from Laventille, Trinidad, migrated to Brooklyn, New York, as a teenager. He first played with Despers USA at the Brooklyn Panorama of 1977. From then on, Despers USA would become his home and outlet for musical expression. His passion led him to take on lessons from the legendary tuner Mikey Enoch. Clement utilized his newfound ability to assist the band with tuning and building new instruments, which aided Despers USA in becoming one of the world’s most accomplished steel orchestras during the 1990s.
Many are unaware that Clem had a direct impact musically, in choosing the winning pieces for the band’s several victories throughout the decade. His sharp ear, musical ability and winning touch, miraculously passed down to his son, Odie Franklin, who became a champion arranger in his own right with Despers USA, winning the 2018 New York Panorama with instruments built and tuned in part by Clem himself.
Today, Clem still tunes and builds pans for his home orchestra Despers USA, as the band continues to pave a legacy within the community, with his son at its musical helm.