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Biography

Michael "Toby" Tobas

Michael Tobas is a native of the twin island Caribbean Republic of Trinidad& Tobago, situated at the southern tip of the archipelago just off the east coast off Venezuela.

Born in Laventille (East Dry River) Port Of Spain, ” Toby as he is affectionately called, was well situated to draw upon the rich percussive environment of STEEL PAN music, invented in that country some sixty years ago.

Initially his music education was through the oral tradition and could also be classified, as leaning via "street music" It was evident that he developed an affinity for all percussion instruments indigenous to the pulsating rhythms of Trinidad & Tobago and other Caribbean islands. Eventually at the age of 17, Toby set out on a career as a drummer/percussionist. And later became an instructor with the encouragement of Barbadian born Historian, Scofield Pilgrim.

He is credited with being one of the founding visionaries of Kaiso (Calypso), Soca ( Soul-Calypso) and  Kaiso jazz rhythms, and has performed as a drummer in major folk and jazz festivals, concerts, recordings, TV specials, and hotels in his native Trinidad and Tobago, the French and Spanish speaking Caribbean, as well as the USA & Canada.

While on the North America concert tour with the world renowned Despers Steel Orchestra in 1970, he was recommended to Harry Belafonte by his friend and fellow percussionist Errol“ crusher" Bennett. He auditioned and got the job and toured internationally with Mr. Belafonte for five years, (1972-1977). Toby appeared on two recordings with Harry Belafonte; "Turn the  World around" & "Belafonte live in Japan".

He also had the privilege of working with such renowned musicians as Jazz pianist/ composer Randy Weston, saxophonist Warne Marsh, French guitarist Jean-Pierre Jumez, producer/ percussionist Ralph McDonald, South African singer Letta Mbulu, Caribbean noble Prize laureate Derek Walcott, Brazilian multi-instrumentalist "Suvica", and the late Marvin Gaye.

His interest in playing and teaching the Steel Drum came as a result of his close working relationship with the Steel Pan Movement, in Trinidad & Tobago as a drummer/instructor over the years. As well as legendary Steel Pan Innovator, Tuner, and Leader, The late RUDOLPH CHARLES. And double tenor

inventor and steel pan innovator BERTIE MARSHALL. In fact his first set of Bertie Marshall Double Tenors, was a gift from Rudolph Charles and Despers Steel Orchestra some 20 years ago. (A set of pans he still proudly owns today)

Toby and his family moved to Massachusetts in 1989. Where he is active as a performer & Instructor. He's recognized in the Boston area for his versatility as a drum set player, working on the Caribbean and Latin circuit, with guitarist/composer Mark Endresen & Pianist/Composer/Instructor Matt Jenson’s Caribbean roots and jazz trio.


Purpose Statement

Utilizing the Sophisticated Craftsmanship of his HERMAN GUPPY Double Alto Steel Drums. Toby performance covers musical. Styles like Caribbean Folk, Calypso, Reggae, Kaiso Jazz, Afro Cuban & South American Favorites, Latin Jazz, Easy Listening, and some pop verity as well.


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Michael "Toby" Tobas - P.O. Box 505674 Chelsea, MA 02150
Telephone: 617-889-1678  -
miktobz@netzero.net


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