EXCLUSIVE: Meet Patrick Castagne, the man behind Trinidad and Tobago’s National Anthem

This year, after 60 years, the National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago marked the occasion and remembered Patrick Castagne, the man behind the National Anthem.

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Trinidad and Tobago got its first-ever National Flag with a Coat of Arms and National Anthem in 1962. This year, after 60 years, the National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago marked the occasion and remembered Patrick Castagne, the man behind the National Anthem.

As per the update, Trinidad and Tobago’s National Anthem was written by musician, former soldier, and songwriter Patrick Castagne, who was working at the time in the Trinidad and Tobago Commission in London. As a young man, he attended St Mary’s College (CIC), where he often participated in theatre productions of Shakespeare’s plays and was a popular cricketer on the college’s team.

When World War II began, Castagne enlisted with the local forces, where he attained the rank of Captain. However, he also took charge of the recreational areas and became a familiar sight at army camps, where he played the piano and was the master of ceremonies of various shows that were held for the troops.

Following the war, he continued working in the entertainment industry, where he was responsible for putting on grand, Carnival-like shows for Princess Margaret on her first visit to Trinidad and Tobago, and he began being referred to as “Mr Showman” by the newspapers. A self-taught pianist and musician, he was responsible for the popular 1960 Road March “The Iceman”, as well as the waltz “Kiss Me for Christmas” and a collection of folk-songs called “Hyarima – A Caribbean Rhapsody”.

When the nationwide contest was held in search of our National Anthem, Castagne submitted his composition, “Forged from the Love of Liberty”, which had originally been composed for the West Indies Federation. In 1962, this song was edited and chosen by Trinidad and Tobago as our National Anthem. The first performance of the anthem in August 1962 was by the La Petite Musicale Choir, founded by Olive Walke.

Along with this, the organisation also shared a video of the National Anthem, circa 1960s, which was part of the National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago Audiovisual Collection.

George Henry

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