November 2002



DATE OF BIRTH: February 6, 1936
PLACE OF BIRTH: Laventille, Trinidad
  • St. Phillip EC School
  • Tranquillity Intermediate School
  • Armed Forces (1950s- 1960s)
  • Highlanders (1960s - 1972)
  • Desperadoes (1972 - 2002)
  • Tuner
  • Player
  • Arranger
  • CAREER:                                       Marshall began his steelband career in the 1950s playing at the Chaguaramas Naval Base with a stage steelband called "The Armed Forces," aptly named named after its audience of US servicemen. The Armed Forces eventually changed its name to Highlanders after uniting with the Mas' Band of the same name led by Kimloy Wong. The Highlanders began practicing on Erica Street in Laventille and later moved to Mango Rose Trace, Laventille. By the early 1960s, Marshall had developed a new lead instrument, the double-tenor, for Highlanders where he was the leader, tuner, and arranger. He went on to become the first panman to install covers over pans during Carnival when he observed that the heat generated by the rays of the sun raised the temperature of the playing surfaces of pans and affected their tone. His continued experimentation with electronics resulted in his 1964 introduction of amplified pans which were used for the first time on the road during the 1965 Carnival. In 1971, he introduced the Bertphone, a foot pedal system for controlling the tone of amplified pans. Highlanders were disbanded in 1972 and Marshall joined Desperadoes as a tuner, following an invitation from its leader, Rudolph Charles. In 2004, Marshall suffered a stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body and greatly curtailed his pan-tuning work. In honor of his steelpan contributions, the Old St Joseph Road in Success Village, Laventille, was renamed Bertie Marshall Boulevard in October 2013.
    • 1992 - Trinidad & Tobago Chaconia Medal Gold (for Culture)
    • 2008 - Order of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago
    DIED October 17, 2012, after a long bout with diabetes.
    Compiled by Ronald C. Emrit