Jit Samaroo, Trinidadian Steelpan musician and arranger, Died at 65

Jit Sukha Samaroo was born on February 24, 1950, in Surrey, Trinidad, and died on January 7, 2016.

He was a Trinidadian composer and Steelpan musician.

At only 10 yrs of age, Jit joined the short-lived Village Boys pan-round-the-neck side.

His mother died in 1962, she loved playing the dholak, at a young age he was given the, appointed the task of taking care of younger siblings, formed the Samaroo kids combo.

The family were initially Parang players, Jit on guitar pan, Girlie on cowbell, Vidya on the drums, Baboolal on maracas, and brother Sonilal on scratcher but by the age of 14, already a self-confessed “slave to steelpan”, Jit joined the Lever Brothers Canboulay Steelband.

That’s when he learned and mastered all the orchestra’s instruments.

The musical director Landeg White allowed him to help arrange the band’s calypsos and also arranged for him to have music lessons.

He won the Ping Pong (solo) category at the Steelband Music Festival, in 1972

In that year, Amoco Renegades tuner Bertrand “Butch” Kellman made the necessary connections for Jit to land the job of arranger with the Charlotte Street band.

It then spurred a long and successful relationship, with Jit helping the band to victory in Panorama on nine occasions.

Jit Samaroo silenced critics in 1989, who said he could only arrange Lord Kitchener calypsos, with an arrangement of Baron’s “Somebody”, that combined as many as six rhythms in one calypso arrangement.

His band was the only steel orchestra to have three successive wins in Panorama, 1995/1996 with De Fosto’s calypsoes and 1997 with a Lord Kitchener calypso.

Jit Samaroo is hailed as the country’s most clinically accurate arranger, arranging one tune by the device of composing additional tunes to accompany it.

He was awarded the Hummingbird Medal of Merit (Silver) in 1987, as well as the Chaconia Medal (silver) in 1995.

In 2003, he was given an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the West Indies.

Jit Samaroo passed away at 65 yrs old.