Republic Bank Exodus steel band turns 40

Characteristics


Desmond Wyeth, Technical Director, leads Exodus at the Big 5 Concert, Edition III, presented by Steelband International in Queens Park Savannah, Port of Spain, in October 2019.- Roger Jacob

The Big Forty is a very important occasion in the life of any person or thing. But the 40th anniversary of Steelband’s iconic Republic Bank Exodus Steel Orchestra was quiet, with the band’s manager, Ainsworth Mohammed, saying a concert had been planned, but with the pandemic now spreading across TT, which has been canceled. “The anniversary, the official date that we recognize is May 3.

“What we had planned was a small concert using the numbers that were available at the time, which were 25.” This is now completely discontinued. “We are not doing anything now, except that we are planning the Ban Ramajai International Championship, and it has also been postponed due to the numbers,” Muhammad said. Muhammad said that the required group for Ban Ramajai is six to eight people, and now this event has been postponed to five in the current health regulations, and this event has also been postponed for the time being. The Pan Ramajay International Competition was held approximately last year. So the band is focusing, for now, on upgrading their pannyard facilities. And when Muhammad said sanitary restrictions have been relaxed or lifted, the team plans to resume activities with more force. “And maybe later in the year I will do the concert that was planned,” he said. The history of Tunapuna has been documented on sites like thebestoftrinidad.com.

Republic Bank Exodus steel band turns 40
Bank of the Republic exit during their performance during the National Panorama semi-finals in 2020. –

The site read: “Exodus was formed in Saint John’s Village, Saint Augustine, on May 3, 1981, when many of the members of the Flamingoes Steelband, including Amin Muhammad, withdrew, causing an“ exodus ”. (Amin) Muhammad continued to lead it for the first fifteen years of its founding. The band made an immediate impact by reaching the finals of the Panorama Competition in its first year. Exodus continued to progress in the 1980s with the help of famous DJs Ray Holman, Kenrick and Harold. Headley. Later the organizers were recruited Pelham Goddard and Desmond Wyeth and led the band for four panoramas and three titles at the Steelband Music Festival and in 1996 director Amin Mohamed emigrated to the Cayman Islands and his brother Ainsworth Mohamed took his job.

1622141375 985 Republic Bank Exodus steel band turns 40
Desmond Witty, Bob Thirold, and Amin Mohamed at the World Trade Center in 1992.

Muhammad recalled the group that made it to the Panorama Finals in their freshman year, playing Irwin “Scranter,” Reyes Johnson, The Will. From there, Muhammad said, the group grew “from strength to strength.” In addition to its four panoramic titles, the band is also named after three national music festivals, two World Steel Music Festival competitions, and has won the Caribbean Panorama Championship held in Granada. Chakunia was also awarded the Gold Medal in 2003. But the year of the epidemic was a difficult year for everyone, including the Exodus. Muhammad said: “We were like all steel crews and other artists… We would have faced great challenges with that, while our members generally get salaries and so on from the wagons, and that was rejected.

1622141375 157 Republic Bank Exodus steel band turns 40
Ainsworth Mohamed –

“It has been like this since March of last year. It was not only the entertainment sector that was strongly affected by the Coronavirus, but also the hospitality sector, among many other things. The world has started to reopen and events are back again, ”he said. Including the Miami Carnival, but Mohamed believes that opportunities abroad for bands and artists will continue to be a challenge, depending on the country. ” Because although open countries can allow people who have been vaccinated, I still don’t know if the protocol will be like this. Get a vaccination pass or something. “He said that he does not see that some things will open to the TT in the very near future because” in our country we have not yet been vaccinated. “Some of us could have received the first vaccine, some could have received the second, but this number is very small compared to the size of the population.

“Even when we are all vaccinated, countries will take certain measures to protect their citizens from other people coming to their countries.” He said there would also be other considerations about whether the artists would be vaccinated and whether they should be quarantined. Enter different countries. Virtual events have provided a respite for artists and the world at large during the pandemic, and Mohamed believes this has become a permanent part of the entertainment scene. He believes that live entertainment will never be replaced, but he is watching many more virtual shows than in the past. Mohamed said that for the next 40 years, Exodus will continue to work hard, develop the skills of its musicians through its music school, and encourage its musicians to become familiar with music and remain among the best. “We are among the best in the world when it comes to the steel strip business,” he added. He is also confident that the band will continue to do well as it has for the past 40 years. “The goal is to do better than we have done in the past,” he said.

For the next forty years, Muhammad believes that the exit continues to achieve one of its main goals; The TT flag is held high. In the past year, the band has toured several times, including performances at the Vatican and the Miami Carnival and at events in China and Japan. All of these have been postponed due to the pandemic. But the band will now consider replaying those events as soon as the various countries and the government allow them to happen.