Handel’s Largo, And a Clash of Steelbands

Good day my friends.
In keeping with the somber nature of the times, I would like to present a soothing piece of spiritual music that is a personal favorite.
Since most of my posts have stories I would like to also tell my memories associated to this beautiful piece of music.
I know that we’re proud of the progress that steelbands have made over the years and rightly so.
But one of the things I miss from the old days is the fact that steelbands introduced us to beautiful music we would never have discovered on our own.
Of course, many stories have negatives, and this story certainly has one.

It was 1963.
That year Southern Marines of Marabella had won the first South Regional steelband Panorama , which was the first such competition ever held.
On Carnival Tuesday, we played the Cuban Crisis. I played a US soldier.

Whenever I hear this music, I often recall that Carnival Tuesday night steelband clash between Southern Marines and Gondoliers on Coffee Street San Fernando.

I clearly remember we were going up Coffee Street playing our bomb tune “Handel’s “Largo” which was our best ever bomb tune and Gondoliers, a tough San Fernando band favored by the “Market Boys” were coming down and suddenly there was a clash!

Bottles were flying, pans were scattered, and people(myself included)ran for cover and safety.

Don’t really know how it started, but they were our rivals, and besides it never made sense to have big steelbands passing each other on the road in opposite directions especially at night.

Of course we do not have a recording of Southern Marine’s version , but listening to this version of the tune by Diane Bish , I’m still amazed at how accuracy and beautifully our arrangers converted it to enjoyable carnival music, capable of winning the bomb competition.
As much as we’ve gained over time, I think we’ve also lost a lot.

Do relax for a moment and enjoy this beautiful selection.

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