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Pan genius don’t walk the trail no more

Sunday, January 17, 2016
The late Jit Samaroo

Tribute delivered by Rev Daniel Teelucksingh at the funeral service for Dr Jit Samaroo at the Armalaya Presbyterian Church—January 9, 2016

The hills of Laventille missed the late panman Rudolph Charles and asked through David Rudder’s song:
“Where the man with the hammer gone?...
The dragon don’t walk the trail no more.”

Now today, the hills of Lopinot also ask in mournful tones about the passing of Jit Samaroo:
“Where the man from Renegades gone?
Why you up and leave?
Why you make we grieve?
The genius of the tenor pan
don’t walk the trail no more.”

There is an answer to Lopinot and all pan lovers who will miss the master of the panyard: I’ve always heard that there is music and an angelic choir in gloryland. Well, today we say farewell to Jit, this rare, celebrated musical colossus who joins the heavenly orchestra. Only once in a lifetime we meet someone like this. Through his passionate musical eloquence earth dances. Now, our lovable Maestro will play for saints and angels in eternity’s panorama.

 From henceforth, music out yonder will be richer as Jit Samaroo, arranger and composer par excellence, joins Rudolph Charles, Bertie Marshall and Winston “Spree” Simon who have taken to higher places the unique symphony of the steelpan with the rhythms and melodies of T&T. Jit and other masters of the art form have left us, but our hills and valleys will always be alive with the sound of their music.

I cherished the years 1969-1971 when I first met Jit. His music was in its infancy, finding expression as he led his brothers and sisters, all mere children in a fledgeling band first called “the Samaroo Kids.” An awesome musical force was here awakened, creating an explosion of talent from one of our finest family steel orchestras of the 20th century.

 I always respected Jit’s style of living wherein he demonstrated to us that greatness and humility may not be strangers. For, though he was applauded by presidents and prime ministers, celebrities and royalty in various countries, he never lost the common touch. All through his life he was preeminently a family man, and herein lies the secret of his successful career. This is the guarantee that his music will live on, immortalised in the music of his children and generations thereafter.

 Our country solemnly pays tribute to Jit Samaroo in the honour roll of our music ambassadors. He carried beyond our shores the strains of steel to enviable levels of global acclamation at the prestigious theatres of international music. A treasure he will always be, standing tall in the nation’s hall of fame.