The steel pan world is mourning a musician "of immense talent and ability", who toured Europe and Africa, played for royalty and blazed a trail on television and film before inspiring thousands of children in his community.

Alfred Totesaut, known as Freddie, was the much-loved band master, tuner and arranger of the St Michael & All Angels Steel Orchestra in Stonebridge, Brent.

The father-of four died on March 24, aged 83.

His funeral will take place on Friday (April 11) in Kensal Green with the steel band 
performing in his honour.

Patrick McKay, co-ordinator of both the band and the St Michael Youth Project, which Freddie was part of, said: "This is a great loss to me and to the many that knew him.

Brent & Kilburn Times:  Freddie Totesaut with the St Michael & All Angels Steel Band at the Notting Hill Carnival Freddie Totesaut with the St Michael & All Angels Steel Band at the Notting Hill Carnival (Image: SMYP)

"Teacher Freddie was a local man of immense talent and ability, who through his passion for music, love of steel pan and carnival culture, has positively impacted on me, our community and the lives and aspirations of thousands of children and young people in Brent for more than 50 years."

Born in 1940, Freddie began playing the pan in a band called the Mexitones when he was a boy growing up in Trinidad. 

He then formed his own band called Dixie Harps and later joined Dixieland Steel Orchestra, who won the Island-wide Steel Band Music Festival in Trinidad in 1960 and were the first steel band to tour most European countries.

This provided Freddie with an opportunity to tour England in 1961.

Dixieland Steel Orchestra played at Carnegie Hall, for Princess Margaret on her Honeymoon in Trinidad in 1960, and were the first to perform steel drum music in Africa.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Freddie Totesaut was recognised by the The British Association of SteelbandsFreddie Totesaut was recognised by the The British Association of Steelbands (Image: SMYP)

With other Dixieland members, Freddie toured Europe several times and recorded an album with another group, Les Flambeaux.

Les Flambeaux performed at the Savoy hotel in London with Maurice Chevalier, appeared at the Royal Albert Hall, the 100 Club, and had a weekly residency at Ronnie Scott's.

The band also performed on television and radio and was one of the first steel orchestras to appear in films - The Two Gentlemen, starring Judy Geeson, and All Kinds of Music, with Sir Cliff Richard.

From the 1970s onwards Freddie performed on Top of the Pops and recorded with groups including Boney M, Fleetwood Mac and Wham!

He was the tuner and arranger of Metronomes Steel Orchestra before joining as a player in 1977.

Under his leadership, Metronomes won a host of awards, including Best Band on the Road at the Notting Hill Carnival.

In 1979 he played for the then Prince Charles and once gave George Michael a music lesson.

In Brent he is loved and remembered for the skill he brought to St Michael & All Angels Steel Orchestra, which was founded in 1996. 

He worked with the St Michael's Youth Project for 16 years, dedicating himself to training its young members to become exceptional musicians and part of an excellent steel band.

Freddie was captivated by the great classical composers and taught the children pieces by Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Strauss, and Elgar as well as a strong repertoire of soca, reggae and popular music going back more than 60 years.

All Angels were the first steel orchestra to play at the Houses of Parliament and also the first Brent steel band to take part in the Notting Hill Gate Carnival since 2009. 

The orchestra won best band at the Notting Hill carnival in 2016, performing Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive.

In October of the same year it was evicted from the St Michael's and All Angels church, in Hillside, where it had been based for 20 years, after trustees dissolved the charity.

Patrick said a tribute will be paid to Freddie when All Angels performs at the Royal Albert Hall on April 13.

He added: "His legacy lives on as does his music and wonderful arrangements that has inspired generations."

Freddie's family are fundraising in his name for Barnardos. Visit to donate.