Rudolph Edwards: Journey with Desperados

Rudolph Edwards and Oba
Rudolph Edwards and Oba

Pages: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07

Staff Article
Interview Recorded: July 03, 2005
Posted: July 19, 2005

I was a hustler on the wharf

When I used to go to school, pan didn't really form as yet; pan really formed after the war days. Long ago, up here in Laventille, used to have all the Shango, the J'ouvert and all kinds of things. J'ouvert morning, when you see Laventille coming down, it was bush and whatever else up in the air and we playing our tamboo bamboo; in those days it was bamboo we used. When you cut the bamboo at the different joints you will get different sounds coming from it. In the tamboo bamboo band, we had the short bamboo: the bass or 'boom' bamboo, which you hit the ground with to get the sound and we also had the cutter that I used to play. Recently there was a programme about it on TV, showing you how it still exists and that made me remember how it was. Back then when we used to play tamboo bamboo, we used to pick up dustbins while we were passing on the road and throw out the rubbish so we could beat the bin. That was how pan started. Long ago, the whole of Laventille had tamboo bamboo... all the districts had their thing.

I remember when I was a little boy, I used to see women playing mas' on a truck and they used to call them 'Flanders Poppy'. We used to have nice bands long ago, like Military Mas' with all the flyers and the admirals nicely dressed in their uniforms. Bands that were playing Sailor Mas' with sailors who were nice and clean, sailors who were dirtying up one another, sailors with the powder, the dragon band and fellas drinking beer from a 'posey' (chamber pot) they buy for the mas'. All of those things were part of the Carnival long ago and even though they tried, they do not have nice mas' like they did long ago. When I was a little boy, mas' was really nice.

I went to the St. Marts R.C. School right up here in Laventille. I was an Anglican and they were Catholics, but in those days they used to get on kind of funny. When it was time for the Catholics to have their catechism, they used to put all the Anglican children outside because they didn't want them inside with the Catholic children. When they put us outside we used to be all around the church playing and when they were finished with their catechism we would go back inside. Our mother moved us from that school and sent us to Piccadilly Street E.C. School, which was an Anglican school. I left school when I was eighteen years old and went I went to work.

The first place I went to work was down Chaguaramas on the Base where the Yankees were. The company I worked for back then was Tucker Valley up Macqueripe by the hospital. I worked in the laundry. Back then the Base was the Yankee people thing and nearly the whole of town used to work on the Base. We used to take the Batoo bus to go down to the Base because they had the contract for all the transportation to the Base. I worked in the laundry on the Base for a good few years before I left. After I left Tucker Valley I came into town and I started hustling on the wharf. I wasn't a permanent wharf man; I was a hustler on the wharf and I had my white slip so I was able to be a stevedore in customs and move around to different places including down San Fernando. In between those jobs I was still playing pan.


Pages: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07

Laventille | Homepage | Carnival Features