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Caribbean

Published on April 8th, 2015 | by Trinidad Express Newspapers

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The making of a ‘Smooth’ Panorama arranger

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” This is a famous quotation by William Shakespeare. Arranger for eight-time Panorama Champion Massy Trinidad All Stars, Leon “Smooth” Edwards, 62, embodies the quintessence of this quotation.  Edwards was born great, musically. With an innate ability from a tender age, he was playing instruments like the xylophone, and mouth organ. By age 9, Edwards began playing the pan. He said, “It was cost-free to learn, and ready at my disposal, since two of my older brothers who played the pan, brought one home after Carnival.”

The instrument was not allowed into the family home, but was relegated to outside, under the stairs. This restriction, however, did not deter Edwards from mastering the tenor pan. The first tune that he was able to play was, “O Danny Boy”.
At 16, while still at high school, Edwards joined Trinidad All Stars. At first he had to slip away from the house to attend practice. His parents finally agreed to allow him to go to practise for the four-to-six-week period before Carnival.

Although Edwards is multifaceted — brilliant, diligent, incisive, determined, committed, and confident — he is not arrogant. He could easily be perceived as being shy on the one hand and unapproachable on the other, because of his reserved demeanour. “I am not shy,” Edwards said. “I do not have to boast about myself. I allow my work to speak for me.”

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