Pan extraordinaire gets Sando street named after him

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by: Sascha Wilson

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, yesterday.
RISHI RAGOONATH

As a street in San Fer­nan­do was of­fi­cial­ly re­named af­ter pan ex­tra­or­di­naire Lennox ‘Bob­by’ Mo­hamed, a call whas been made for cit­i­zens to be ho­n­oured for their out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions while they are alive.

“Our icons let us not wait un­til they are no longer here to recog­nise and re­ward the con­tri­bu­tions that they have made,” said San Fer­nan­do deputy may­or Vidya Mun­gal-Bisses­sar at the cer­e­mo­ny at the band­stand on Har­ris Prom­e­nade.

The one-way street runs to the back be­hind the band­stand to Li­brary cor­ner. Mun­gal-Bisses­sar said the chil­dren and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions need­ed to know the “the his­to­ry that has come to­geth­er to cre­ate Trinidad and To­ba­go that we live in. That is some­thing that we miss.”

She en­cour­aged oth­ers to fol­low in the foot­steps of mu­si­cian Krys­tal Yacub who did her the­sis on Mo­hamed. “Start record­ing. There are peo­ple who make con­tri­bu­tions to our coun­try like Bob­by and no­body re­mem­bers be­cause no one has record­ed it.”

Sev­en­ty-six-year-old Mo­hamed led the San Fer­nan­do-based steel band Guin­ness Cav­a­liers to vic­to­ry, cap­tur­ing two Panora­ma ti­tles with his San Fer­nan­do, in 1965 and 1967.

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

Shar­ing her re­search on Mo­hamed, Yacub re­called at the Panora­ma fi­nals in 1965, “Bob­by’s band the Guin­ness Cav­a­liers was the last band to per­form that night and ru­mour is the band sound­ed as if there were 100 base play­ers when in re­al­i­ty there were on­ly four his ar­rang­ing quick­ly caught on to oth­er arrangers and Bob­by is now cred­it­ed to have in­vent­ed the sound which is known as the sound of the south band.

“Bob­by has al­so been cred­it­ed for in­tro­duc­ing the bell in Panora­ma arrange­ment and a mul­ti­tude of oth­er fea­tures such as the Panora­ma base move­ment that us­es paus­es and sud­den drops.”

Mo­hamed, Yacub said, re­ceived a mul­ti­tude of awards and ac­knowl­edge­ments, in­clud­ing the Trinidad and To­ba­go Hum­ming Bird Gold medal and was in­duct­ed in­to the Caribbean Sun­shine Award Hall of Fame in New York in 2000. As­sur­ing that a lot of thought and re­search is done be­fore a street is re­named, San Fer­nan­do May­or Ju­nia Re­grel­lo said the for­mer name of the Lennox Bob­by Mo­hammed St, was Har­ris Prom­e­nade East.

Re­spond­ing to an ob­jec­tion to Quen­ca Street be­ing re­named Dr Ru­pert In­dar Street, he said Mr Quen­ca was the clerk of Gov­er­nor Cha­con and made no mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tion to the de­vel­op­ment of San Fer­nan­do. “Mr Mo­hamed and oth­ers like him has shaped the land­scape of the city of San Fer­nan­do and is wor­thy of this recog­ni­tion. We at the coun­cil will con­tin­ue to look at those who have made con­tri­bu­tions not on­ly in the art form.” Mo­hamed ex­pressed his heart­felt thanks for the ho­n­our. “First of all, I thank God for this priv­i­lege, to keep me alive so I could see this.”

Say­ing that mu­sic is a great part of his soul, Mo­hamed re­called that he grew up hear­ing his moth­er play the pi­ano. Kaisokah Moko Jumbies leader Ju­nior Bis­nath cre­at­ed a ban­ner in Mo­hamed ho­n­our which was stuck to a pan car­a­van. Among those at­tend­ing the cer­e­mo­ny were Mo­hamed’s band mem­bers Ter­ry Laka­too and Lester Mo­hammed.

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