CultureMix logo

Gerald Forsyth OBE

After leaving Modern Secondary School, Gerald formed the Green Eyes Steelband, named after a nightclub in close proximity to their pan yard. Some of the players included Corbeau-Jack Riley, Natsy and Bambi Contant, Boy Blue Mansing and Clifford Gill.

Later, he turned his attention to pan making and tuning, studying under the illustrious Ellie Mannette at the University of Pan - more commonly known as 'Invaders Pan Yard'. As his tuning skills developed, he travelled to other Caribbean islands to practice his trade and in 1962 he migrated to Britain where he started gigging with Boots Davidson, Zigilee Constantine, Eamann Thorpe and Desmond Bowen.

In 1964, he formed the Invaders Combo, which played regularly at the legendary Albany Pub and by 1966 he was in America teaching the pan.

In education, under Gerald's guidance and tuition, the first school steel band was established at Islington Green School in London in 1969. This paved the way for a number of Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) schools to start up steel pan classes and by 1975 there were over 50 schools with steel bands.

In 1978 Gerald was appointed Steelband Organiser for Schools with an office at the headquarters of the Greater London Council. By 1990 Gerald had over 160 schools with steel pan as part of their curriculum.

In 2001 Gerald produced 'The Gerald Forsyth Story' a book about the lifetume journey of a pan legend in the steelband movement. He was awarded and BAS Hall of Fame honour by the British Association of Steelbands in 2005.

As well as tuning pans for a number of steelbands, Gerald continues to teach the intricacies of playing pan and welcomes every opportunity to pass on his knowledge to future generations so that the art can evolve with time.

Sources: Pan Podium Magazine | The Gerald Forsyth Story by Gerald Forsyth

The lifetime journey of a pan legend in the steelband movement

The lifetime journey of a pan legend in the steelband movement

"I have travelled the world through my dedication and love of pan."

Gerald Forsyth

From 'The Gerald Forsyth Story'

RIP Gerald Forsyth OBE

Gerald Forsyth with Mary Genis at the 2009 BAS Awards

Our dear friend Gerald Forsyth passed away in November 2017.

A pioneer of steel pan music education Gerald is recognised for his tremendous contribution to the steel band movement and culture.

CultureMix is honoured to have benefited from your master pan tuning and fabulous musicianship. Your wisdom and guidance on the steel pan will be forever treasured.

Thank you for the fun and the positive memories.

Image: Mary Genis with Gerald Forsyth at the 2009 BAS Awards.