TASPO (Steelband)

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The Trinidad All-Steel Pan Percussion Orchestra (TASPO) was formed to participate in the Festival of Britain in 1951. The group was the first steelband to travel abroad from Trinidad and Tobago, presenting the newly invented steelpan to an international audience.[1]


Lieutenant Joseph Nathaniel Griffith was the conductor of the band. Griffith was originally part of the Trinidad Police Band.[2]

Player Band DOB DOD
Orman "Patsy" Haynes Casablanca 1930/02/22 1985/10/29
Elliot "Ellie" Mannette Invaders 1927/11/05
Belgrave Bonaparte Southern Symphony 1932
Anthony "Tony" Williams North Stars 1931/06/24
Carlton "Sonny" Roach Sun Valley 1924/08/06 1986
Philmore "Boots" Davidson City Syncopators 1928 1993
Sterling Betancourt Crossfire 1924/03/01
Andrew "Pan" de la Bastide Chicago 1927/12/01 2002/11/17
Dudley Smith Rising Sun
Winston "Spree" Simon Fascinators (Tokyo) 1930 1976/11/18
Theophilus "Black James" Stephens Free French 1933/11/04 2001/11/06

On 6 July 1951, TASPO left Trinidad for England on the SS San Mateo. Carlton "Sonny" Roach fell ill and was left behind in Martinique. The steelband performed at the South Bank, London, on 26 July 1951, as well as elsewhere in Britain and in Paris. TASPO returned to Trinidad on 12 December 1951, the only exception being Sterling Betancourt, who stayed in London. Betancourt has been vitally involved in building up Notting Hill Carnival.


  • Felix I. R. Blake, The Trinidad and Tobago Steel Pan. History and Evolution. ISBN 0-9525528-0-9
  • Stephen Stuempfle, The Steelband Movement: The Forging of a National Art in Trinidad and Tobago (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995).



  • George Goddard, Forty Years in the Steelbands: 1939 - 1979.

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