Mr. Anthony Williams is to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate
Having been concurred and captured in his native land of the coast of Africa, the African was stripped down to his bare skin, and bought to the Americas bound by chains in slavery, to build a new nation for the barbarous Europeans. After many years of brutality, and coming to terms with the new and strange conditions of existence, they started to look within for the strength and courage to endure. They started to moan and groan, and sing as conditions allowed. Then they remembered the drums. The instrument that strengthen their spirit and communicated with the souls of their ancestors. This was taken away, not allowed, because the power of the drums made the slave masters afraid. After awhile he turned to the bamboo to make the music that was a natural part of his DNA. The bamboo provided the music for all his celebrations.
In Trinidad and Tobago, during the Canboulay Carnival celebrations, he used the bamboo as his instruments on the roads. As the bamboo began to wear, he introduced metals and dustbin to substitute for the sounds he needed. Out of this, the Steel band was evolved.
We have had great innovators during the development and evolution of the Steelpan instruments, but standing tall amongst them all, is one called Anthony ‘Tony Muffman’ Williams. Born in 1931, on Nepaul street, St James where he still reside. Anthony Williams, has made significant contributions to the total development of the Steelpan instruments and its music as is accepted across the world today. Tony or Muffman as he was affectionately labeled, started his journey as a tuner, inventor, and innovator around 1945. He was also one of, the top player performer of his time. Coming out of his extensive research and innovations, the fourths and fifths formula was developed and applied to the fifty five gallon Steel drum, giving rise to the standardization we enjoy within the Steelpan family of instruments today, and is accepted globally.
Today, anywhere in the world, a fourths and fifths steelpan instrument is made, royalties should be paid to the estate of the man, Anthony Williams. But, due to the tardiness of those in authority, Tony Williams formulas was never given the kind of protection to guarantee such benefits. However, we in the mecca of Steelpan (Pan Trinbago and the Steelpan Tuners Guild of Trinidad and Tobago) recognize the contributions that this great Steelpan scientist has made towards the elevation of our National Instruments, and take every opportunity to show our gratitude and appreciation for his sterling contributions.
I will not give a detailed summary of his contributions and achievements as inventor, captain, arranger, tuner, player/performer par excellent, but only to mention that Mr. Anthony Williams was recommended, and received this country highest national award in 2008, the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and today, the Steelpan fraternity is once again in high spirit with the information that Mr. Anthony Williams (ORTT) is to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the West Indies on Saturday, 22nd October 2016.
We believe that this honor is long overdue, but is appreciative of the fact that he has endured, and is able to receive it in person. We in the Steelpan fraternity, join with the national community to celebrate Dr. Anthony Williams most prestigious award, and recommend that a statue of him be erected near the light house, on entry to the capital city.
Thank you Tony, from all of us.
Michael L Joseph
PUBLIC Relations Officer
Pan Trinbago Inc. T.C.