The steelband community has recently lost two well-known pannists. Both Edwin “Eddie” Yearwood also known as Swanky Pops and Franklyn Ollivierra have passed away within a little more than a week of one another.
Franklin Ollivierra was awarded the Longest Pan Player in Panorama Award at Pan Trinbago’s 2012 ceremony held at the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA). He played for bands such Highlanders, Starlift and Phase 11. Pan historian Dr. Kim Johnson said, “Ollivierra was very important to the early days in the development of steelband music and played a fundamental role in helping the players of the instrument gain recognition and respect.”
Eddie Yearwood was well known throughout the steelband community for being an instrumental part of forming the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organization (TUCO) as well as playing a vital role in Pan Trinbago. His obituary stated that he began playing the steelpan from as early as age 13 with Tripoli and then Starlift. From there he went on to become the public relations officer (PRO) of the Third World Steel Orchestra, a band he helped form. He later moved to the Valley Harps at which he also became the PRO. Yearwood was also Pan Trinbago’s secretary for the Northern Region in the late 1970s. He worked at 91.9 FM teaching the public about pan on his program, The Original Magic of Pan.
CAISO would like to extend their condolences to the families and friends of these two great steelband musicians.