In a recent review of Morning, Paramin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016), Walcott’s final published work, I reflected on how difficult it can be to escape Sir Derek’s titanic shadow.
You are here
Panman paints third musical portrait
If you enjoyed the music on the first two Portraits of Martin Albino CDs, your pleasure will be tripled when you listen to the seven tracks on the third CD of the same name produced by the talented brother of renowned steelpan educator and adjudicator Merle Albino-deCoteau.
To be officially launched in Montreal, Canada, on April 6, Portraits of Martin Albino contains three original songs written and sung by Martin—Shine, Not 4 Rent, and Music.
Also included are steelpan renditions of Offenbach’s Barcarolle and Mozart’s Melody In F, played on the double tenor pan, and vocals renditions of Bob Marley’s Lion of Judah, and Sniper’s (Mervyn Hodge) Portrait of Trinidad.
“I have dedicated Barcarolle to my mentor Neville Jules of Trinidad All Stars, as it was the first song I learnt to play on the pan, during the time I spent with him in the garret on Charlotte Street,” recalled Martin. “The originals I wrote some five or six years ago.”
The youngest in the musical Albino family from Laventille, as a young man Martin was crowned Junior Calypso Monarch on four consecutive occasions, and was a regular performer on radio and television.
He became leader and arranger of Chase Manhattan Savoys Steel Orchestra, and in 1968 was chosen to teach pan to youths in Brooklyn, Harlem, and Bedford Stuyvesant in a programme sponsored by Chase Manhattan Bank and the government.
He migrated to Canada in 1970. In Montreal he formed the group Unison, and began working tirelessly with both youths and seniors in the community, teaching them not only to play the steelpan instrument, but also how the instrument is constructed, and making them aware of the incredible history of the steelpan.
In 2010, Martin received the prestigious Moulin D’or (Golden Mill) award for culture from the city of La Salle for his “perseverance, commitment and immense desire to transmit his passion, and music of the steeldrum to citizens of La Salle.”
A behavioural therapist who retired 12 years ago after serving his profession for 28 years, Martin Albino continues to use his time to teach youths and seniors the art of playing the steelpan in Montreal, Canada.