Meet Anthony Williams - Master Steelpan Innovator and Leader - UpClose!

A When Steel Talks Exclusive

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An exclusive When Steel Talks interview with Anthony “Tony” Williams - steelpan music innovator, arranger and leader of the legendary Pan Am North Stars. Easily one of the most important figures in the development of the modern steel orchestra.
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Anthony “Tony” Williams is one of the key innovators of the steel band art form in 1950s-60s Trinidad. Anthony Williams was named by his mother who got his name from a prayer book. Williams was born at the General Hospital of Port-of-Spain on June 24, 1931, Trinidad and grew up in Nepal Street in St. James. His first interaction with ‘Pan’ was in the form of a biscuit tin (sometime before World War II). And the first song he played was “Mary had a Little Lamb” on a Pan that he tuned.

In this fascinating exclusive When Steel Talks interview - the legendary steelpan innovator and leader of Pan Am North Stars, in his own voice, takes us on his own personal journey with the steelpan instrument - with facts, dates, places, influences, names and even in song - as he declares he will “set the record straight as there is a lot of falsification as it relates to him in the papers.” Even now, many years later, the genius and brilliance of Anthony Williams shine through. His attention to detail and incredible memory is amazing. Listen to him tell us how and why in his own voice - his humor, his wit, his intellect, his exceptional musical knowledge and description of his scientific approach to problem solving. As he explains you realize his marriage of astrology, philosophy, numerology, math and science put him in unique group of thinkers and innovators.

Anthony Williams (right) introduced the “spider web” lead Pan. The instrument shown off here by Williams and Herman “Rock” Johnston was an amended version which Johnson claims to have crafted and whose expanded range supposedly was the key to the Williams-led North Stars band winning Trinidad’s 1962 Music Festival with their memorable rendition of the Strauss Waltz, Voices of Spring.

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