Champion Arranger (Exodus Steel Orchestra) Pelham Goddard Speaks - UpClose!

He is one of the most celebrated musicians out of the Caribbean in this era, having composed, produced and/or arranged - some of the most respected music masterpieces that have become deeply and proudly associated with the Caribbean. “The Hammer, “Savannah Party,” “Happy Song,” “Panama,” “Dedication,” “Play My Music,” “The Unknown Band,” “The Band Plays On,” “Jungle Fever,” “Callaloo” and “Calabash” - all flowed from the musical pen of Pelham Goddard. Other distinguished music works from Goddard: “Is Mas,” “Family Affair,” “Tribute to the Old,” “Mister Robbie,” “Trini Prance,” “The Plan,” “Suck Finger Baby,” “Non-stop Fete,” “The Case of Disappearing Panyards,” “Olympic Mas,” “Sunshine and You,” “Latin Soca,” “Outta Hand,” “Soca Tassa Festival,” “Winer Girl,” “The Power and the Glory,” “Jump Up,” “The Iron Band,” “Dust in Dey Face,” “Rat Race,” “Simple Thing,” “Raise Yuh Foot,” “Jump for Joy,” “Voodoo Soca Man,” “Jump Up,” “Honky Tonk Soca” and “Parade. His synthesizer solo on what has become a global anthem for all steel orchestras - “Woman On The Bass” is just a ‘sample’ of his synth work, Goddard being the first musician to use the synthesizer in calypso music.

In an exclusive interview with When Steel Talks (WST), champion steel orchestra panorama arranger, and prolific composer and producer Pelham Goddard - speaks on a host of issues confronting the steelpan music world.

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Global - As quietly as it has been kept, few musicians have had the success, reach and global impact that Pelham Goddard has achieved through his music works over the years. He is an award-winning producer, arranger, songwriter and performing artist. And yet even with all his accolades, because of the need of the media and others - through their own lack of knowledge, and historical and musical inadequacies - Pelham Goddard has not escaped at times being stereotyped and having his music categorized as simply "Pan songs."

Pelham Goddard, like many of the other great arrangers and steelpan music icons (like Bradley, Rodney, Boogsie, Greenidge, Smooth, Holman and Jules among others) who have graced the WST (When Steel Talks) network over the years, is direct, to the point and brutally honest. Moreover, Pelham like, the others, has given much consideration to the subjects he speaks on.

Pelham Goddard after his WST interview
Pelham Goddard

Pelham Goddard is a very intelligent, humorous, knowledgeable, historically and culturally grounded and thoughtful person. His meaningful life experiences place him in a unique position to impart valuable information, perspectives and solutions to a host of problems and issues that have retarded the growth of the steelpan music industry specifically, and Caribbean music in general - both in terms of business, entrepreneurial endeavors and of course artistic success.

In this WST interview Pelham laments the intense preoccupation with the need for a competitive association with almost everything relating to steelpan performances in Trinidad and Tobago. He also thinks composers need to take time, become more creative and avoid the "hustle" mentality. In terms of judging, Pelham explains that "degreed" persons may not be ideally suited to adjudicating the music for Panorama because they may lack the practicality the task requires; on the other hand he says, Pan players themselves may also not "Pan" out in the adjudication scenario, because of the concerns of bias towards, or for, certain music organizations. And - Pelham also visits the phenomenon of too many cooks in the "panorama broth," coupled with the lack of respect for the arranger. On the paucity of great or memorable music for the carnival scene, Pelham believes the music and production are no longer as well thought-out as it was in the past. "It is a standard that we have to live with." On the passing of the great Pat Bishop - Goddard simply opined: "It is an irreplaceable loss."

Listen to Pelham Goddard in his own words, UpClose!

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