Ken “Professor” Philmore is dead

Pan extraordinaire Ken “Professor” Philmore, has died.

Philmore, 59, was badly injured in an accident along the Solomon Hochoy Highway on Monday and was warded at the San Fernando General Hospital in a serious condition.

He died at hospital just after 9 am today.

Philmore had suffered cracked ribs and a punctured lung in the accident and had undergone emergency surgery to remove fluid from his lungs during his stay at hospital.

The Maracas, St Joseph resident was returning home around 6.45 am after a performance when his silver Toyota Hilux picked up a skid, overturned and ran off the northbound lane of the Solomon Hochoy Highway near the Claxton Bay Overpass.

Reacting to his death, San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello said Philmore played with many south steelbands and made his mark in the artform.

“He represented San Fernando with pride. He was like a brother to me He had so much to offer. This is really, really sad. I want to express condolences to his family and say thank you for his contributions to the city of San Fernando,” he said.

Philmore was one of the most talented pannists in T&T.

He was the third of five children and got his early introduction into pan through his cousins Ferdi and Barry Brathwaite. He first played with Hatters.

Later, he moved to Kalomo Kings in 1977 and then to Gay Hoytonians before he finally settled with Fonclaire Steel Orchestra in 1981.

Ken Philmore did his first album in 1985 with Pan Assembly and assisted Fonclaire in no small way in reaching a joint 6th place with his arrangement of Pan in A Minor.

This association with Fonclaire enabled the band to be joint winners in 1988 with Deltones and to win the South Zone of Panorama for the next four years.

He also began composing tunes for Panorama such as Pan By Storm (1990), Pan Ecstasy (1991) and Pan in the Party (1992).

During the years 1989, 1990 and 1991, his arrangements placed second each year in Panorama with the band Fonclaire.

Philmore has not only concentrated his talents in Trinidad and Tobago, but overseas as well.

In 1988, he appeared with Tina Turner and Lionel Hampton in New York.

In 1996 he was honoured by Pan Trinbago as one of the most promising arrangers.

He appeared as a special guest with Mercer Ellington, son of “Duke” Ellington and was featured on the title cut of Ellington’s album Queenie Pie Reggae.

He has also appeared in concert with the world-renowned Latin American musician Tito Puente.

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