TASPO (Steelband)

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The Trinidad All-Steel 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]

Members of TASPO[edit]

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

Player Band
Orman "Patsy" Haynes Casablanca
Elliot "Ellie" Mannette Invaders
Belgrave Bonaparte Southern Symphony
Anthony "Tony" Williams North Stars
Carlton "Sonny" Roach Sun Valley
Philmore "Boots" Davidson City Syncopators
Sterling Betancourt Crossfire
Andrew "Pan" de la Bastide Chicago
Dudley Smith Rising Sun
Winston "Spree" Simon Fascinators (Tokyo)
Theo "Black James" Stephens Free French

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).


  1. ^ Daina Lorraine Nathanie, "Finding an 'Equal' Place: How the Designation of the Steelpan as the National Instrument Heightened Identity Relations in Trinidad and Tobago", The Florida State University, 20 July 2006, p. 85.
  2. ^ Taspo


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

External links[edit]