After taking a break from the Panorama composing arena in 2014 after 15 consecutive years, I decided for 2015 to compose a piece for Dr. Jit Samaroo, a pan legend whom I had met well over a decade ago. Over the years, I had interacted with Jit through the Music Literacy Trust and the Pan in Education pioneering project. I remember when Jit spoke at the launch of the
Original Notes project (a rare act for him to talk in public) marking the preservation of 6 of his compositions and arrangements for education, how much emotion came to the surface when he was describing how pan provided an opportunity for him and his family. I believe he always has carried that perspective, motivating him to give back by teaching young kids at BP Renegades Youth Steel Orchestra and having ambitions to do the same at his own home.
With Jit ailing, I thought this was the least I could do, even though I knew it was difficult to get the creativity flowing so far away from Trinidad, in Perth Australia. The piece took quite a long time, and came in fragments of music which were pieced together. The idea I had was more to develop a melody which had a strong Kitchener feel to it, given that Jit had arranged several of Kitch’s songs over the years, with 5 out of 9 Panorama wins with BP Renegades being with Kitch’s music.
I thought initially it would be an imaginary Kitch tribute to Jit, which is why the melody has that feel. However when GB decided to do the lyrics, he spent time with Jit’s son Amrit, to get a detailed historical perspective of Jit’s evolution with music which ranged from Kitch’s music to his own compositions and test pieces. The story is therefore unearthing how he started, up to what he has accomplished.
There is no doubt that Dr. Jit Samaroo’s contribution to pan, goes far beyond Panorama. He has left a rich musical legacy, which many pan arrangers and composers can aspire to, with a body of music preserved in universities and schools. His arrangements will continue touch many souls all over the world musically well into the future. Trinidad and Tobago is fortunate to have him as a son of the soil in the pan fraternity. More than that, he is one of the most humble human beings I have ever met, and I am thankful to have had a chance to share a part of my musical journey with him (Jit arranged
"Another Time, Another Place" and "Woman in Pan" for Pan in Education). This song is for you, Jit.
Dr. Jit Samaraoo and Mark Loquan
Cuatro class down by “Slim”, and John Ralph he went
After he watch, his Mum sing and play dholak in tent
Then Landig White set him alight
And made him study Music Theory while parang ignite
Maliphant brought him music to practice with
Then formed his siblings to Samaroo Kids
Then Nigel Seales and Birch Kelman took him Renegades Band
With Kitchener songs, he had we spellbound, a great legend began
Dr.Samaroo, this one is for you
De sound tracks of our lives, you played quite a few
Pan fraternity says “thank you”!!
Your innovations, cello and tenor runs
Your counter-melodic fills, and your change rhythms
From Panorama to Jean Michel Jarre
Pan world, calls you Master, and a genius pan arranger
Tunes like ‘Miss Supporter”, “For de Love of Pan”
“Pan Man Vibrations”, written for steel bands
“A day in Surrey”, “La Trinity”
“Song of Lopinot”, Angel Harps, Pan Glow, Cordettes, Tornadoes
Thankfully, son Amrit, music in he vein
Composed “Band from Space”, last song Jit arranged
Dis Humming Bird and Chaconia, U.W.I. doctor of Pan
Straight from Monte Grand, and Camboulay Band, now a great Pan Legend
(Jit boy, we really love you
We playing dis one for Jit Samaroo) x 2
From “Pan Explosion” back in ‘82
‘Sweet Pan “, “Pan Night and Day”, “Somebody” too
“De Iron Man”, and “Mystery Band”
“Four Lara Four”, “Pan in a Rage”, and “Guitar Pan”
Is nine panoramas, won with these songs
With Renegades, Dr. Jit ruled town
Eleven national “test-pieces”, he composed for steel bands
Dis phenomenal, ultra-musical, and humble gentleman