Rudolph Edwards: Journey with Desperados

Rudolph Edwards
Rudolph Edwards

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

At my age I am on my way out with pan

I have eight children, many grandchildren and also a few great-grandchildren. I visit my big daughter, a brother and a sister in New York mostly in time for Labor Day. I usually go up in July and would stay for the whole of August because the first Monday in September is always Labor Day. As soon as Labor Day passes I would come back home because I cannot take the cold up there. Sometimes my daughter would ask me if I am enjoying myself and I would tell her yes, but I would really be counting the days to leave and come back home.

I was up there when they blew up the place for the 9/11 and that delayed my trip back to Trinidad because the airport was closed and I had to stay until it was reopened. I watched it on the television and it was awful. I have been up to the top of that building twice. Our New York sponsors, the 'Daily News', sponsored the band in the past to go up to the top because you cannot go up without paying. The building is very high and when you look down, the cars look like ants. Up there is just like the ground floor, which has everything. They have everything like restaurant, stores and so on and people go up there to shop. They used to make money there because a crowd used to go up everyday; it was like in Manhattan.

I got the nickname 'Crabby' when we played Sailor Mas' with crab headpieces. We played it twice, but the first time we played it was without colours. The second time we improvised and used dye to create colours just like the different crabs. We had a good wire bender to bend all the crabs and they used white swans down (a covering you put over the wire) the first year we played. The second year, we brought in the different crabs with the different colours. They started calling me 'Crabby' after we played that mas' and the name just remained stuck on me. Back then our tent was down the road by 'Tillbury Place'. We used to make our own tent by cutting bamboo and climbing coconut trees to cut the branches to use for covering. Times have changed and sponsors are contributing to modernizing the pan yards now. Our present pan yard is about seven or eight years old and we are located on top of Laventille Hill. We have a very modern pan theatre where we do shows and so on. When they had the Miss Universe Show in Trinidad, it was nicely decorated and all the delegates were invited to come up as our guests. To the front of the building, there is a big 'Strong Man' which was built by the late Mr. Warner, back in the '50s. That same year, we played 'Primitive Man: An Extract from the Animal Kingdom'. He was a good sculptor.

At my age I am on my way out with pan. I want to take things easy now and just go and play the iron because I am good with it. I could still go with the band and sit down to play the triangle and the cowbell without tiring out myself walking and so on. I am adjusting nicely and I do not want to harass myself again because I had a very long time with it.

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