FLASHBACK - San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello (left), points to the street sign named after San Fernando pannist Lennox ‘Bobby’ Mohammed (right), with his wife Jennifer, at a ceremony on the bandstand on Harris Promenade, on Tuesday 2nd April 2019. (Image: RISHI RAGOONATH)
SASCHA WILSON

Pan arranger extraordinaire, Lennox ‘Bobby’ Mohammed, has passed away.  He was 78 years old. 

Social media has been flooded with glowing tributes, today, following news of his passing.

Only two years ago, a street near Harris Promenande was renamed in his honour by the San Fernando City Corporation.  The one-way street, which before then was called Harris Promenade East, runs to the back behind the bandstand to Library corner.

Lennox “Bobby” Mohammed led the San Fernando-based steel band Guinness Cavaliers to victory in the national steelband Carnival competitions, capturing two Panorama titles in 1965 and 1967.

He also made history as the youngest arranger, at age 22 years, to win the Panorama title. 

Paying tribute to the pan icon, PanTrinbago said he was introduced to pan at age 15 years.

“Bobby describes himself as an innovator and trendsetter in that he was the first person of East Indian descent to succeed at the highest level as a steelpan arranger. He stated that in those days, steelbands were dominated mainly by Afro-Trinidadians from Port of Spain, so it was a surprise and shock when his relatively unknown south band won Panorama titles,” the PanTrinbago statement noted.

It added: “Bobby’s innovative style on Panorama music left a permanent footprint on Panorama music today. He was instrumental in developing what is defined as the sound of the ‘south bands’. He fashioned a Panorama ‘bass movement’ that uses pauses and sudden drops. His use of dynamics and drama in the Panorama setting was original and remains a common approach today.”

PanTrinbago also observed that following his glory days in the 1960s, “Bobby” Mohammed disappeared from the scene for some time, to embrace a higher calling.

“He ascribes this to the Will of God. He stated that God touched his life, and he was able to claw his way back from the brink of personal disaster to one of hope for himself,” PanTrinbago stated.

Thanking him for his contribution, PanTrinbago added that Mohammed was the recipient of the Hummingbird Medal Gold national award in 1992.  He also was presented with the Republic Day Award from the non-governmental group, Citizens for a better Trinidad and Tobago.