Twemty years ago when veteran pannist Tommy Crichlow went to France on a one-man “cultural mission” he did not know quite what to expect.
But soon enough he discovered that the people he met there were amazed by his ” pan playing prowess.”
He was able to spark a great deal of t interest among his admirers and lo and behold! A steel band “movement” was born in France
Tommy is credited with singlehandedly starting a steel orchestra, Calyps Atlantique steel orchestra, and Macadam Chrome, a single pan band, using his various steelpan skills as tuner, arranger and pannist.
Tommy returned to Nantes several times during the next ten years and on one occasion participated in the Europe Panorama where he placed third in the competition.
“When I arrived in Nantes, I met a group of young people who were eager and disciplined to learn and tune pan”.
The steelband “movement” in France has grown and today there are several steelbands in many parts of the country, he told the Caribbean Camera.
And the man who started it all has not been forgotten and as the old calypso saysm a million French men cannot be wrong.
So in appreciation of his pioneering work in pan in France he has been invited back to see how well the “movement” has grown.
On Monday the Scarborough-based artist, along with his wife Christabelle will take off for Nantes France to be guest of the French steelband fraternity.
Bon voyage Tommy and Christabelle .