Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 11th 2016 Contents WESLEY GIBBINGS
Jit Sukha Samaroo was known
for shrinking in the back-
ground of over-abundant adu-
lation. Some close to him would
conclude that the current period of
gushing praise would most likely
not have been a very comfortable
time for him were he to be here to
witness it for himself.
Friend, collaborator and confidant,
human resources professional Hollick
Rajkumar knows of Samaroo s "other
side"---which often emerged among
a tightly-knit circle comprising fam-
ily members and friends---but sug-
gests that the composer/arranger s
principal personal and musical asset
was an ability to sit, listen and inter-
pret musically and emotionally all
that was going on around him.
"He was a man of contradictions,"
Rajkumar, a former PRO for Rene-
gades Steel Orchestra, told T&T.
"He defied his prima facie person-
ality"---that "personality" being his
humble, unassuming demeanour.
"He was a genius."
Renegades captain, Candice
Andrews-Brumant, who joined
Renegades in 1991 at the pinnacle
of public acknowledgement of
Samaroo s phenomenal success
"He was not a very sociable type.
He was very quiet. If he saw a cam-
era he would run from it."
Short, with a small frame, his
trademark moustache greying and
thickening with the years, Samaroo s
was no imposing physical presence.
Yet, late at night with tired eyes,
legs and hands around the panyard,
the firm sound of Samaroo s stick
striking the side of a tenor pan would
cause the neighbourhood "badboys"
to stand at attention, knowing well
that any new instruction could have
been matched by the arranger s own
dexterity on the instrument and had
the potential to convert the mundane
to the brilliant.
It was a skill that was recognised
by the late, iconic calypsonian/musi-
cian, Lord Kitchener, who occasion-
ally visited the Renegades panyard
to listen to what was going on.
Though Kitchener s successful
pan collaborations pre-dated his
close relationship with Samaroo and
began with Anthony Williams
arrangement of Mama Dis is Mas
in 1964---the Kitchener/Samaroo
combination proved an unbeatable
alliance for six of the nine times
Samaroo led Renegades to victory
in the big band category of Panora-
This makes it the single most suc-
cessful musical collaboration in the
world of pan since the invention of
Rajkumar remembers the close
attention Kitchener paid to Sama-
roo s treatment of some of the most
memorable melodies and harmonics
ever produced by the steelpan.
This, Rajkumar believes, assisted
the famed calypsonian in framing
his own approach to the music he
Growing up in Surrey Village,
Lopinot, which for many is "parang
territory," and listening to Indian
classical and film music around the
expansive Samaroo household---he
was the sixth of 13 children---the
arranger s appreciation and knowl-
edge of different musical genres
proved to be an invaluable asset.
Devoted first and foremost to the
Samaroo Kids (which later became
the acclaimed Samaroo Jets---the
accomplished family band that
toured the world and firmly estab-
lished the versatility of the instru-
ment) Samaroo experimented with
everything from classical music to
Latin/parang, Indian music and
calypso, which won him the most
His son and lifelong protégé,
Amrit, says though the first word
he could use to describe Jit would
be "father", he could also use the
The influence is not easily dis-
missed. Amrit is no musical slouch.
Himself an accomplished com-
poser/arranger and leader of Super-
novas Steel Orchestra, the younger
Samaroo said he had been asked
whether the death of his father
would affect his participation in the
Supernovas has entered as a Big
Band for the first time in its short
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
Continues on Page A30
Astronomers have meas-
ured the age of 70,000 stars
across the Milky Way and put
the results into a galactic
It confirms what was al-
ready suspected about our
galaxy s growth: it started in
the middle and grew out-
ward. This can be seen in the
abundance of old stars near
the centre of the disc.
Presented at the 227th
meeting of the American As-
tronomical Society in Florida,
it is the largest such map ever
"We re characterising in
really unprecedented detail
how the galaxy is formed, via
this snapshot of stellar ages
across the disc," lead re-
searcher Melissa Ness told
the BBC. The tendrils of the
map extend out from the
Earth, beyond the centre of
the galaxy in one direction,
and out to the very far reaches
of the disc in the other.
"And we not only have
these ages in the plane of the
disc, but also moving up
above the galactic plane,"
added Dr Ness, of the Max
Planck Institute for Astron-
omy in Germany. (BBC)
Largest 'age map' traces galactic history
Farewell to a genius
Jit Samaroo, right, interacts with one of the
Renegades players during a performance. He
was well-respected by the players and moved
them to make beautiful music.
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